January 20, 2011
AOPA ePublishing staff
Reports of lasers pointed at airplanes almost doubled from 2009 to 2010, the FAA announced Jan. 19.
Reports rose from nearly 300 in 2005, when the agency first began keeping track, to 1,527 in 2009 and a record 2,836 in 2010.
“The FAA is actively warning people not to point high-powered lasers at aircraft because they can damage a pilot’s eyes or cause temporary blindness,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “We continue to ask pilots to immediately report laser events to air traffic controllers so we can contact local law enforcement officials.”
The FAA said the increase in reports is likely due to a number of factors, “including the availability of inexpensive laser devices on the Internet; higher power levels that enable lasers to hit aircraft at higher altitudes; increased pilot reporting of laser strikes; and the introduction of green lasers, which are more easily seen than red lasers.” Some cities and states have made it illegal to shine lasers at aircraft.
The House has passed a bill requiring the TSA to consult stakeholders, including general aviation representatives, before making major changes to security policy.
A Minnesota teen will spend 60 days behind bars for stealing a Cessna 150 and flying it for months without training or certification.
Rob Moore was looking at a criminal charge for keeping a golf cart in his rented hangar at Hawaii’s Honolulu International Airport, a golf cart he had received permission to use for moving his aircraft.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.