LOS ANGELES (AP) — Airline pilots and federal officials launched a campaign Monday to warn about the dangers of people pointing lasers into cockpits.
They’re promising prosecution for those caught, and a reward for those who turn them in.
While the powerful beams of light do not harm the aircraft, they can temporarily blind pilots, some of whom had to hand over control to a co-pilot.
The number of reported incidents nationwide increased from about 2,800 in 2010 to nearly 4,000 last year, according to data collected by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The FAA attributed the increase to more reporting by pilots as well as the availability of stronger lasers that can reach higher altitudes.
Portland, Ore., had the most reported instances, with 139.
The rest of the top 10:
• San Juan, Puerto Rico.
• Los Angeles.
• Las Vegas.
• New York.
No laser incident has resulted in a crash, but officials emphasized Monday the threat is real. The FBI plans to offer a $10,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction.
The FAA said it investigated 152 laser incidents during the past two years, resulting in 96 “enforcement actions.”