Aircraft Laser Strikes Down Again in 2018, FAA Reports

Heightened public awareness of the serious safety risk posed by lasers is credited with reducing the total number of laser strikes on aircraft in 2018. This was the second consecutive year that the number declined.

The Federal Aviation Administration credits heightened public awareness of the serious safety risk posed by lasers for reducing the total number of laser strikes on aircraft in 2018. This was the second consecutive year that the number declined, FAA reported.

The numbers:

  • 5,663 laser incidents in 2018
  • 6,754 incidents in 2017
  • 7,398 incidents in 2016

The agency noted that "the substantial number of reported incidents clearly show that laser strikes on aircraft remain a serious threat to aviation safety.

The signing on Feb. 14, 2012, of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 made aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft a federal crime. Section 311 of the act amended Title 18 of the United States Code Chapter 2, §39, by adding section 39A, which makes it a federal crime to aim a laser pointer at an aircraft.

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