A C-130J Super Hercules flies over Yokota Air Base, Japan, April 27, 2018

Laser Incidents and Reporting

Aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft in flight could be catastrophic for an affected aircrew and possibly for people on the ground. Though the devices’ compact size, easy availability, and widespread ownership may make hand-held lasers seem harmless, they pose a big danger when pointed at aircraft. It is also against the law.

A laser’s intense light can cause flash blindness in pilots and aircrew members during critical phases of flight, such as airfield approach and landing. Disrupted vision could cause ineffective aircraft control measures, possibly leading to the loss of the aircraft and crew, and even endangering people on the ground below.

According to local, state and national sources, lasing aircraft is a growing aviation safety concern nationwide. For all aviators, safe operation of their aircraft is always the first priority. 

Laser light shines into an aircraft cockpit.


Aircrew can report incidents to the FAA here and through the local safety office

On the ground call 911

A CV-22 Osprey approaches the Landing Helicopter Deck at Duke Field, Fla., April 3, 2017. This was the first step in an effort to utilize the LHD as part of a pre-deployment requirement for CV-22 aircrew to be deck qualified. In previous years, members of the 8th Special Operations Squadron and 8th Aircraft Maintenance Unit would travel to various locations multiple times a year to gain aircraft carrier qualification. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaac O. Guest IV)


FAA fines go up to $11,000 per violation and up to $30,800 for multiple laser incidents.
Ref: https://www.faa.gov/

Falcons in flight

As laser incidents increase, the Department of the Air Force is working to find better ways to track and share information with the Federal Aviation Administration. Education for Aircrews and the public are also a key strategy to help reduce incidents and keep Airmen and Guardians safe.

If you witness or experience an aircraft lasing event, please report it to local law enforcement or the FAA.

Two F-22 Raptors from the 94th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, fly in formation after refueling from a 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron KC-10 Extender over Southwest Asia, Sept. 12, 2018.

It's a crime

On February 14, 2012, the President signed Public Law 112-95,  the "FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012."

Section 311 amended Title 18 of the United States Code, Chapter 2, § 39, by adding § 39A, which makes it a federal crime to aim a laser pointer at an aircraft.

Laser incidents by location pie charts

Eye Protection

Aircrew are issued laser eye protection glasses before each flight. If you are an aircrew member who wants more information, talk to your local aircrew flight equipment office.

Laser Incidents FAQs


DAFMAN 91-223 - Aviation Safety Investigations and Reporting

DAFI 91-204 - Safety Investigations and Reports

FAA JO 7110.65Z - Air Traffic Control

FAA JO 7210.3AA - Air Traffic Organization Policy


The FAA reported 9,723 laser incidents in 2021, up from 6,852 in 2020. This is the highest reported number of incidents ever. REf: https://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/lasers/laws

FAA Podcast

Listen to an FAA podcast on aircraft lasing here

An F-35A Lightning II from the 388th Fighter Wing taxis out for launch at Hill Air Force Base

More Information

Visit the FAA website for more laser safety information

Laser light shines in an aircraft cockpit.