Over two dozen laser strikes were targeted at airplanes flying near Sea-Tac Airport this week, according to reports.
The FAA says there have been at least 32 laser incidents at or around the airport so far this year. Police and the FAA are investigating this recent increase in laser strikes, which are extremely dangerous for pilots and their passengers.
Shining a laser at an aircraft is a serious safety threat, the FAA said. Many types of high-powered lasers can incapacitate pilots, many of whom are flying airplanes with hundreds of passengers. Pilots have reported 244 injuries since the FAA began recording data on laser strikes in 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. Violators can also face criminal penalties from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
“The FAA continues to educate the public about the hazards of laser strikes because they pose such a serious threat to the safety of the pilot, the passengers and everyone in the vicinity of the aircraft,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson.
To identify laser-strike trends, the FAA developed a visualization tool, using the Tableau software platform, that shows laser-strike data from 2010 to 2021 and highlights trends by geographic area, per capita data, time of day and year. The FAA shares the information to draw attention to the dangerously high rate. Laser report data by year can be downloaded on the FAA’s website.
The FAA encourages the public to report laser strikes to the FAA and local law enforcement agencies.
Here’s a video about the dangers of laser strikes, courtesy the FAA:
Laser strikes are dangerous to pilots and a federal offense. If you see someone pointing a laser at an aircraft, report it: https://t.co/Tg7JSnKBZx. Keep the skies safe – #LoseTheLaser! @flySEA @FBISeattle https://t.co/WWGAvL2bk9
— The FAA ✈️ (@FAANews) February 9, 2022