Laser Attacks

ST Laserstrike


Number of laser incidents reported to the FAA from 2004 to 2015


Number of UK laser incidents reported to the CAA from 2009 to 2014


View from aircraft cockpit (in FAA flight simulator) during illumination flash.

The simulator is showing the aircraft on the ground at the takeoff position. The laser is steady for the photo, however, in the actual FAA simulator tests, pilots were exposed to a single flash lasting one second. In real laser attack, a hand held laser cannot be held steady on a target so the light will flash instead of remaining steady. All photographs have been taken on the same setting: Kodak DC240 digital camera, aperture f/2.8, shutter speed 1/6 second.

View from the simulator cockpit with no laser illumination. The runway is fully visable.

FAA Simulator Study, level 1 (ten times greater than FAA Laser-Free Zone level). Roughly equal to bright startle or distraction. 5 mW laser pointer at 3,700 feet. Runway is partially obscured.

FAA Simulator Study, level 2 (FAA Critical Flight Zone). Glare is the primary hazard. 5mW laser pointer at 1,200 feet. Runway is mostly obscured.

FAA Simulator Study, level 3 (ten times less than FAA Sensative Zone level). Flash blindness begins. 5mW laser pointer at 350 feet. Runway is completely obscured.