The Risk of Laser Attacks on Pilots Is Real and Growing

Whatever the reasons — ignorant entertainment or sociopathy, perhaps — the threat to aircraft of laser targeting with small but increasingly powerful handheld pointing devices has achieved epidemic proportions in the U.S. within the last year after steady annual increases through the decade. As Ian Gregor, public affairs manager for the FAA’s Pacific Division, put it, incidents of laser targeting “just exploded in 2015,” with more than 6,624 through Nov. 27, or nearly 200 a day, with a month still to go to year-end. “The previous high for any year was just over 3,900,” he continued.

Whatever the reasons — ignorant entertainment or sociopathy, perhaps — the threat to aircraft of laser targeting with small but increasingly powerful handheld pointing devices has achieved epidemic proportions in the U.S. within the last year after steady annual increases through the decade. As Ian Gregor, public affairs manager for the FAA’s Pacific Division, put it, incidents of laser targeting “just exploded in 2015,” with more than 6,624 through Nov. 27, or nearly 200 a day, with a month still to go to year-end. “The previous high for any year was just over 3,900,” he continued.
The Laser Focus World take:

Anyone in the broad lasers and photonics community who gets a news feed such as Google Alerts knows that every third story will be about someone shining a laser light on a commercial jet or helicopter. This story puts the seeming increase in attacks in perspective. And here are two related resources:

Related: Are laser pointers really a hazard? A story from Laser Focus World

Related: Laser Illumination of Aircraft: A Growing Threat. Website and articles by the Air Line Pilots Association

By Conard Holton
Editor in Chief
Laser Focus World
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