The FBI is stepping up its efforts to stop people from aiming laser pointers at planes in the sky by offering $US10,000 for information that leads to the arrest of an offender.
“Lasing” can temporarily blind pilots and is rising in popularity — reports of incidents are up tenfold since the FBI and FAA started keeping track in 2005.
That added up to nearly 4,000 laser strikes in 2013, about 11 per day.
It’s a federal felony to knowingly aim a laser pointer at an aircraft, punishable by up to five years in prison and an $US250,000 fine.
The FBI’s new push also includes a campaign to educate the public about the dangers of lasing, which will run for two months in 12 FBI field offices.
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), which represents nearly 50,000 pilots in the U.S. and Canada, recommends that pilots hit by laser beams turn on autopilot, try to shield their eyes (but not rub them), and report the incident to air traffic control.
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