North American Cockpit Laser Attacks



Laser cockpit strikes continue to occur at an alarming rate despite extensive public-awareness campaigns, stricter penalties for perpetrators, and more painstaking law enforcement. Most of these illumination events occur during the landing phase of flight.

Federal agencies of the U.S. and Canadian governments periodically publish the locations that have the highest number of reported events. This information is particularly useful for developing mitigation and deterrence strategies. However, airline pilots also need to be aware of these incidents and to consider possible countermeasures such as protective eyewear.

Report It!

Airline pilots are reminded to report laser strikes to air traffic control with details including the position of the aircraft when the occurrence took place, the altitude of the aircraft, the color of the laser, the originating direction of the laser, and any other pertinent information. Information about laser strikes is available on our website, including operational, reporting, and aeromedical guidance. Pilots are encouraged to follow all company policies and procedures and seek medical attention as soon as possible after landing if they experience eye damage.

This article was originally published in the January 2020 issue of Air Line Pilot.

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