Pointing lasers at aircraft is a federal crime

It is a fed­er­al crime to point any kind of laser beam at an air­craft. Un­der fed­er­al law, “Who­ever know­ingly aims the beam of a laser point­er at an air­craft in the spe­cial air­craft jur­is­dic­tion of the United States, or at the flight path of such an air­craft, shall be fined un­der this title or im­prisoned not more than five years, or both.” Un­der the law, the Fed­er­al Avi­ation Ad­min­is­tra­tion may seek a civil pen­alty of up to $11,000 per vi­ol­a­tion.

Even in­ex­pens­ive, hand-held lasers can have a range of two miles and present prob­lems for air­craft. The light spreads out as it travels and can il­lu­min­ate an en­tire cock­pit. It can jeop­ard­ize the vis­ion of pi­lots and in­ter­fere with their in­stru­ments. Ac­cord­ing to the FAA, there were 3,482 such in­cid­ents re­por­ted in the coun­try last year.

Vi­ol­at­ors are pro­sec­uted to the fullest ex­tent of the law. To re­port the mis­use of a laser point­er, call 911. For in­form­a­tion about the laws re­gard­ing laser point­ers, vis­it justice.gov or the FBI’s and FAA’s web­sites.  ••

You can reach at noreply@bsmphilly.com.

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