WASHINGTON -- The FBI took aim Tuesday at a growing danger to aviation. It will now offer rewards for tips that help catch people who shine lasers into cockpits, which
can blind pilots just as they're trying to land.
Commercial pilot Robert Hamilton says in the last nine years, he has been "lasered" five times -- one time with 67 passengers on board his Canadair plane.
can suffer from flash blindness, after imaging, retinal burning," Hamilton
says. "The retinal burning that we experienced lasted for several hours
Since 2005, the FBI and FAA have been tracking laser strikes. In that time, there has been a more than 1,000 percent increase in the number of incidents. Last year, almost 4,000 laser strikes against aircraft were reported -- that's almost 11 incidents a day.
"The solution is for people to stop doing this," Hamilton says. "It is not a prank, and secondly, if you see someone shining a laser at an aircraft, please report it."
If you get caught, it's a felony punishable by up to five years in jail. There haven’t been any fatalities tied to laser incidents, but the concern is there will be if they don't stop.