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US: FAA prosecutes 1.5% of all laser/aircraft incidents

The FAA has opened 129 enforcement cases against persons who aimed laser devices at aircraft. The figure comes from an FBI press release issued September 17 2013.

This appears to describe civil cases brought by FAA based on violations of 14 CFR 91.11, which states “No person may assault, threaten, intimidate, or interfere with a crewmember in the performance of the crewmember's duties aboard an aircraft being operated.” The maximum penalty is an $11,000 fine. FAA announced on June 1 2011 its intent to charge laser perpetrators under this law, so the 129 cases referenced above would be since that time.

During the same time period, from June 2011 to September 2013, there were 8,507 reported laser/aircraft incidents in the U.S. This means that 1 out of every 70 reported incidents results in a civil prosecution. Stated another way, 1.5% of all laser/aircraft incidents result in a civil prosecution.
Laser perpetrators can be separately prosecuted under criminal law for violating 18 USC §39, which prohibits aiming a laser at an aircraft or its flight path. This law was signed by President Obama on February 14 2012. The maximum penalty is 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. It is not known how many of these criminal cases have been brought.

A selected list of persons convicted in the U.S. of aiming at lasers is here; this listing includes state and federal cases both civil and criminal.

From an FBI press release issued by the San Juan Division