The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), in collaboration with the FBI and the FAA, on February 11 launched a 12-city public awareness campaign about the safety issues surrounding laser attacks on aircraft cockpits. Reports of aircraft laser illuminations in the U.S. have increased sharply over the past few years–to 3,960 last year from 2,836 in 2010.
To help jump-start the campaign, the FBI is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the conviction of anyone caught laser-lighting an aircraft in the U.S. ALPA also convinced lawmakers to make laser illuminations a federal crime now punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and up to five years’ imprisonment. The FAA can also impose civil fines of up to $11,000 per laser incident.
The U.S. cities where the campaign will soon roll out are Albuquerque, N.M.; Houston and San Antonio, Texas; Los Angeles and Sacramento, Calif.; Philadelphia; Phoenix, Ariz.; Cleveland, Ohio; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; New York; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.