Author Topic: Pilots report surge in laser strikes against aircraft in Florida skies  (Read 3043 times)

Offline KB4TEZ

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(interesting read, excerpt below from the full article.  I still believe the penalties should be harsher)

Pilots in Florida reported a record number of laser light strikes against aircraft during 2021, with the state ranking among the highest in the nation in reported incidents, according to data from the Federal Aviation Administration. 

Aircraft in Florida were targeted by laser light devices 630 times last year, third behind only California and Texas, the FAA reported. Florida’s total marked a 25 percent increase over 2020 and is the state’s highest total in a single year since the FAA began recording laser strike data in 2010. 

Nationally, the FAA received a record 9,723 reports from pilots last year, a 41 percent increase over 2020. California led the nation with 1,557 incidents, while Texas had 1,030.  “I think part of it is the proliferation of the lasers, the availability of lasers to the public," Michael O'Harra, administrator for the FAA's southern region, said of the rising number of incidents. Online retailers show laser pointers ranging from about $10 for low-power devices to more than $100 for high-power devices.
Many laser incidents happen at 'critical phase of flight'
According to FAA records, Miami International Airport reported the highest number of laser device incidents among Florida's airports in 2021 with 134, followed by Tampa International, which had 76.

Palm Beach International tied Jacksonville International for third in the state, with each airport reporting 37 incidents. FAA records show eight laser incidents reported in Palm Beach County in 2022 as of Thursday. Three have taken place in March, including one on March 6 involving a JetBlue plane on an evening flight from Providence, R.I.

Of the incidents in Palm Beach County last year, 30 involved aircraft that were flying altitudes at or below 3,000 feet, according FAA statistics.

"That's such a critical phase of flight," O'Harra said. "When an aircraft is at that altitude, they typically have either just departed the airport, or they are on final approach to an airport. That's a time a pilot really needs to have their full attention on the safety of that flight for the benefit of the passengers who are on board, but also the people who are on ground."
Light from household laser pointers can be seen by pilots 2 miles away
While the laser pointers are available in various colors, Robbins noted that green has been the color most commonly linked to the aircraft incidents, adding that, by comparison, a green laser device is 10 to 50 times brighter than a red one.

Patrick Murphy, editor of the website, said commonly used household laser pointers, such as those for office presentations or playing with pets, are generally low-power devices with outputs of 5 milliwatts or less. A low-power green laser pointer can be seen by a pilot from about 2 miles away, he said.
Laser light incidents by airport

Miami, 134

Tampa, 76

Palm Beach International, Jacksonville, 37 (tie)

Southwest Florida International, 24

Orlando, 19

Daytona Beach, 18

Orlando-Sanford, 3

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Sarasota-Bradenton, Tallahassee, 2 (tie)

Pensacola, 1