The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is sending a message to those who point hand-held lasers at the cockpits of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft—it’ll cost you. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood have announced plans to impose civil fines up to $11,000 per violation, in addition to criminal penalties. Reports of laser attacks have grown in recent years, with upwards of 1,100 incidents in the U.S. through late May and a total of 2,836 during 2010 and 1,527 in 2009. Those numbers are a sharp rise over around 300 reports generated in 2005. Babbitt said that shining a laser into the cockpit “is not a joke. These lasers can temporarily blind a pilot and make it impossible to safely land the aircraft."
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