A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use

To find incident reports

Most of the news items here at LaserPointerSafety.com were found by searching Google News for terms such as "laser pointer airplane" or "laser helicopter".

For more systematic research, check out official government records of aircraft incidents. Searching for the term "laser" can find almost all records, since the term is normally not used in aviation except in conjunction with laser pointer type incidents.

Canada   Canada
Use the Civil Aviation Daily Occurrence Reporting System, CADORS. Fill in the Word/Text Search form as shown in the example below. For "Field to search" select "Narrative"; for search text, use "laser".

In July 2017, a search for "laser" returned 3,557 incidents from January 1 2004 to July 7 2017.

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United States of America(USA)   United States

The most current information LaserPointerSafety.com has is here.

FAA Systems Operation Security

In the U.S., FAA Systems Operation Security has a database of reports. This may not be available to the general public. If you are a researcher, reporter or other person with a legitimate interest, contact FAA SOS to see if you can gain access. The contact information is on the "To report an incident" page.

NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS)

Outside of FAA SOS, NASA's Aviation Safety Reporting System is the best source for U.S. incidents. ASRS is "the world's largest repository of voluntary, confidential safety information provided by aviation's frontline personnel, including pilots, controllers, mechanics, flight attendants, and dispatchers." The system is run by NASA, independent of the FAA, so that pilots can report anonymously, without fear of being grounded for reporting adverse incidents.

The ASRS Database Online search form has many search fields as shown below. A quick search in July 2017 for the Text word "laser" and the incident date between January 1990 and July 2017, found 185 ACN reports.

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2010 FAA study

A December 2010 FAA study analyzed 2,492 incidents that took place from 2004 to 2008, inclusive. The study has a good summary of these incidents by altitude, laser color, pilot effect and other parameters.

Non-aviation incidents and accidents

The website LaserIncidents.com lists databases with medical, industrial, research, consumer and other non-aviation laser incidents and accidents.

When searching for incident reports, pay attention to the details of the various reports. For example, in the Rockwell Laser Industries database, the category “Diode (pointers)” includes incidents where injuries were self-inflicted (deliberate staring) along with accidents where one person accidentally lases another person. These two are obviously different from a public safety standpoint. To give another example, incidents in the “Entertainment” category consists mostly of incidents involving laser show technicians, with relatively few reports of audience member injuries.