April 10, 2017
Oklahoma Man Convicted for Aiming Laser Pointing Device at Aircraft
On April 10, 2017, Jay Scott Howell of Tulsa, Oklahoma, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Tulsa to one count of aiming a laser pointing device at an aircraft. In December 2016, he knowingly aimed the beam of a laser pointing device at a Tulsa Police Department helicopter.
The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 was enacted to modernize the Nation’s aviation system and established a new criminal offense for aiming the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft or the flight path of an aircraft. The criminal statute was a response to a growing number of safety incidents in which pilots were distracted or temporarily blinded by laser beams.