Despite what the FAA describes as a “vigilant campaign to heighten awareness of the serious safety risks,” laser strikes on aircraft increased markedly last year after a slight decline for the previous year. According to an FAA press release today (January 30), there were 13,304 reported laser strikes last year, up from 9,457 in 2022. The 2022 figure represented an improvement from the 9,723 incidents in 2021.

“Intentionally aiming lasers at aircraft poses a safety threat to pilots and violates federal law,” the FAA wrote. “Many high-powered lasers can incapacitate pilots flying aircraft that may be carrying hundreds of passengers.”

The agency said it works closely with federal, state, and local law enforcement to find people who deliberately aim lasers at aircraft and take enforcement action against them. That can include civil penalties of up to $11,000 per violation and/or criminal charges. The FAA said it has imposed civil penalties as high as $30,800 for multiple infractions.

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