FAA Urges Laser Manufacturers, Distributors to Add Warning Label to Not Shine Lasers at Aircraft
High-powered laser pointers can incapacitate pilots flying airplanes with hundreds of passengers. To combat the threat, Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen requested laser manufacturers add a warning label to their packaging to make consumers aware of the safety risks and federal laws when using lasers.
Lasers may seem like just a toy, office tool, or game for most, but they can incapacitate pilots putting thousands of passengers at risk every year. People need to be aware pointing a laser at an airplane is a federal crime.
– Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen.
Pilots reported 9,500 laser strikes to the FAA in 2022. Two hundred and seventy-eight pilots have reported an injury from a laser strike to the FAA since 2010. People who shine lasers at aircraft face FAA fines of up to $11,000 per violation and up to $30,800 for multiple laser incidents. The FAA issued $120,000 in fines for laser strikes in 2021.
You can help reduce laser strikes on airplanes:
- Visit FAA’s website and fact sheet for more information
- Report laser strikes to the FAA and local law enforcement agencies.
- Watch a video to learn more about the dangers of laser strikes.
- View the FAA’s visualization tool to see where laser strikes are happening.
- Download laser strike data by year
- See city and state laser strike data
Read Acting Administrator Nolen’s letter:
Dear Laser Manufacturers and Distributors:
Many technologies and scientific advances are a net-good. While capturing their capability to improve the world, we are required to mitigate any risks they pose. Lasers are no different.
Lasers may seem like just a toy, office tool, or game for most, but they can incapacitate pilots putting thousands of passengers at risk every year. We need your help to combat this serious issue. The FAA requests that you add a warning label to your packaging to make consumers aware of the safety risks and federal laws when using lasers. The message below would achieve this:
“Pointing a laser at an aircraft threatens pilots, and it is a federal crime. U.S. law enforcement agencies and the Federal Aviation Administration may seek criminal and civil prosecution against violators. Don’t shine this laser at aircraft.”
Placing information directly in the hands of individuals ensures everyone knows the risk – and the penalties – of pointing lasers at aircraft. If you already have a warning on your packaging, the FAA asks that your company increase the warning’s prominence.
Pilots reported around 9,500 laser strikes to the FAA in 2022, and 278 pilots have reported an injury from a laser strike to the FAA since 2010. To learn more about the dangers of laser strikes, you can view the FAA’s visualization tool, which shows laser-strike data from 2010 to 2022. You can also watch a video about the dangers of lasers or visit FAA’s website and fact sheet for more information.
Together, we can decrease this risk to aviation that remains too high.
Acting FAA Administrator