In Crackdown on Lasers Aimed at Pilots, FBI to Offer Rewards

The FBI plans to offer a $10,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of anyone caught pointing a laser at an aircraft, officials announced at a news conference at LAX on Tuesday.

laser strike on aircraft

A simulation of a laser strike on a pilot. (Credit: FBI)

The FBI, Federal Aviation Administration and a number of other agencies joined together to announce the publicity campaign in Los Angeles, where 107 cases of lasers being pointed at aircraft were reported in 2013. 

What seems like a prank is actually a dangerous federal crime, authorities said.

By the time a laser reaches an aircraft, the beam can widen to about 2 feet, filling the cockpit with light and blinding the pilots.

Lt. Steve Robertson of the Glendale Police Department, who was injured in a laser strike, described his experience. at Tuesday’s news conference.

“You have no idea what just happened. Your entire cockpit turns green,” Robertson said. “I was immediately taken to the hospital, where what they did was scrape off the top layers of my eyes, which I can assure you is extremely painful.”

Officials hoped the announcement would raise awareness about the dangers associated with laser strikes targeting aircraft.

The public was asked to report any incidents to their local police department.

KTLA’s Christina Pascucci contributed to this report.