Laser pointers at aircraft are becoming a growing hazard

by Mark R

I am not certain if you knew about this issue, but apparently it is very dangerous to point a laser pointer at aircraft.

Apparently, that laser point is a millimeter close up will actually be many inches across when it is high in the air. You can imagine how distracting this can be to pilots. Worse yet, the beam will spread when it hits the windscreen of a cockpit. As you can see, the light is spread so much with glare that the pilot is flying blind (visibly).

So I am definitely sending a shout-out to everyone who is using a laser-pointer to distract a pilot. Are you out of your mind? Do you really want to raise Cain so much that thousands of tons of metal fall perilously from the sky?

By the way, the FAA is reporting that there is a record number of reports of laser pointers pointed at aircrafts in 2010. In fact, it doubled from 2009. LAX had the highest number with 102, while my hometown of Seattle had the lowest with 26.

Clearly, something needs to happen to in order to cut down on laser pointer aircraft incidents. By the way, I don’t think that is the official name for events like this, but I don’t think it will be long before this will be a “hot button” issue, like texting while driving or distracted driving is.


5 reviews or comments

anon Says: January 22, 2011 at 9:53 am

this is stupid, someone pointing a laser light at an airplane is not going to bring it down unless the aircraft is trying to land the only time pilots really need to see out the windshield., and even then they make glasses that filter the light from laser pointers so if its that much of a hassle just make sure the plan is equipped with some of these glasses and problem solved.

Joe Says: January 22, 2011 at 10:14 am

I have seen reports about this for a long time, that photo was part of a research showing what it is like inside the cockpit of a plane. There are items being developed that can pinpoint the location the laser is coming from and direct police officers on the ground to your location. If you come across the video it is clearly visible that you have to deliberately want to point it at an aircraft to get that effect, a quick ms swipe is not as bad as when it is constantly shined at the plane. And yes the FAA will come after you if they can pinpoint the origin or person. JUST DONT DO IT!!!

Missy Says: January 24, 2011 at 2:45 pm

As Joe mentioned the FAA will come after you if they find you. It is very illegal to point a laser pointer at an airplane.

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