FAA program cracks down on lasers targeting planes

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A crime that’s on the rise is now catching the eye of the feds and pilots.

The FBI says they have seen a big spike in laser pointers being used to target aircraft and it is happening to airplanes coming and going from the Albuquerque Sunport.

The Federal Aviation Administration has a new program aimed to make the skies safer with the help of the public.

Last year alone the FAA says there were almost 4,000 reports across the country. At the Sunport there were 27 reports in 2013, almost twice as many in 2012.

Now the Albuquerque FBI office, along with 11 other offices, is taking part in a program to educate people about the dangers of this prank that can lead to prison.

They are offering up to a $10,000 reward leading to the arrest of anyone who points a laser at an airplane.

One pilot we spoke with says it’s a real risk and can’t be taken lightly.

“Having my eyesight is very important and we take this very very seriously and so a laser can be a distraction and it can also injure flight crew and passengers on board,” Steve Jangelis, with the Airline
Pilots Association said.

Anyone caught ‘lasing’ a plane faces a felony charge and a hefty fine and they could also go to jail.

The FAA began tracking laser strikes in 2005.

No accidents have been directly tied back to lasers.

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