A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use
How to report a laser incident
If you see a laser being used in an unsafe manner around aircraft or vehicles, notify local authorities first. This is an urgent matter, so dial the emergency number (911 in the U.S.) of your local police department.
In the United States
For general misuse including laser light shows, see the page “Report unsafe laser light shows”. Although that page concentrates on light shows, it does have contact information for the U.S. agency that regulates laser use, the Food and Drug Administration. While FDA may not be able to do anything about a particular incident, your information will be useful in gathering general information about laser misuse for enforcement and potential future regulations.
For lasers aimed at aircraft, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has a web page where you can report a laser incident. The same information is reprinted below, in a different format with some additional details.
For other laser incidents, including industrial or research accidents, visit LaserIncidents.com. This site includes links to databases that collect incident reports.
For the general public
If you're a member of the public who witnessed an individual aiming a laser at an aircraft, send an email to email@example.com. Here are some things to include in your email:
- Your name and contact information
- Date and time you witnessed the incident
- Your viewing location
- Apparent location or source of the laser beam (What direction? How far away?)
- If the aircraft was landing or taking off, what is the name of the airport?
- Color of the laser beam
- Apparent power of the beam (Very visible? Visible only as a dot on objects?)
- How the laser was used (Deliberate targeting of aircraft? Accidental illumination?)
- Duration of the laser use
- Whether you saw the laser illuminate the aircraft
- Any change or action taken by the aircraft
After your email or fax is received, FAA staff or the appropriate law enforcement organization may contact you to follow up.
All aircrews are requested to immediately report incidents of unauthorized laser illumination by radio to the appropriate ATC controlling facility. Reports should include event position (e.g., latitude/longitude and/or FRD), altitude, color of laser beam(s), originating direction, and any other information believed necessary for ATC, law enforcement, and other governmental action taken to safeguard the safety and efficiency of aviation operations in the National Air Space.
Aircrews flying in uncontrolled airspace are requested to immediately broadcast a general laser illumination caution on the appropriate UNICOM frequency. This general caution should include the following:
- Phrase “UNAUTHORIZED LASER ILLUMINATION EVENT.”
- Event time in UTC, general positional information (e.g., location and altitude).
- General description of event (e.g., color, intensity, and direction of beam).
On arrival at destination, all aircrews that have been affected by an unauthorized laser illumination are requested to complete the Laser Beam Exposure Questionnaire. The questionnaire is located on the FAA’s Laser Safety Initiative Web site at http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/lasers/ and can be electronically submitted. The questionnaire may also be printed and faxed to the WOCC at (202) 267-5289, ATTN: DEN, or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Items in the questionnaire include:
- Your name and telephone
- Date and time of the incident (UTC)
- Flight number
- Aircraft call sign, tail number and type
- Nearest major city; state
- Location: latitude/longitude and/or fixed radial distance
- Aircraft altitude and heading
- Laser color
- Approximate bearing and distance of laser origin from aircraft
- Cockpit illuminated?
- Any flight crew injuries or effects?
The above procedures are detailed in FAA Advisory Circular 70-2A, “Reporting of Laser Illumination of Aircraft”.
In South Africa
Send information to the Civil Aviation Authority via email to email@example.com or via fax to 011 545 1453.
For Canadian aircraft incidents, Transport Canada asks the general public to report it immediately to their local police. Pilots should complete the Directed bright light illumination incident report/questionnaire and submit as per the instructions on the form.
For non-aviation incidents such as eye exposure, use the Health Canada Consumer Product Incident Report Form
In the U.K.
The Civil Aviation Authority mandates that laser illuminations be reported using the Occurrence Report Form SRG 1601 for pilots and SRG 1602 for ATC personnel exposed to laser light.