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FAA Will Fine for Pilot-Blinding Cockpit Laser Pointing

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration plans to fine people who shine lasers into airplane cockpits as much as $11,000.

“This is not taking a laser pointer and playing with your cat,” Federal Aviation Administrator Randy Babbitt said today at Washington Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia. “This is serious.”

Pilots can be temporarily blinded, especially at lower altitudes when taking off or landing, when people point lasers at planes, Babbitt said at the news conference at the airport.

The FAA has logged about 1,100 reports of lasers being shined at pilots so far this year, and 2,836 for all of last year. That’s an increase from about 300 in 2005, the first year the agency collected the data.

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