Seattle FBI Offering $10,000 Reward For Laser Strike Tips


An exasperated FBI is offering a $10,000 reward to curb a massive increase in laser attacks at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. In the first nine weeks of 2022, more than 100 airline crews reported laser attacks. There have been no serious incidents but law enforcement is stepping up efforts to find those responsible. Those responsible are not just flashing the aircraft. Some crews have apparently reported the laser has been trained on the cockpit of their aircraft on final.

All of the attacks have come from green lasers and they have originated in neighborhoods surrounding the airport, which is south of Seattle. It’s not clear whether the FBI is looking for one person or several or whether they’re random incidents. The reward is being offered to those who can provide information that leads to the identification, arrest and conviction of whoever is doing this. Those with information can contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324), their local FBI office, or online

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. You would think we could outfit a drone system with a laser detection camera and methodically hone in on the perps. The person(s) probably don’t need to be out in the open to point the lasers, and my guess is that they’re on a second floor with the shades partially drawn to avoid detection. So who’s up for flying some drones and making $10k?

    • Not technically possible unless you’re in looking in the right place at the right time or there’s enough haze in the air at the time of the lasering that you can spot its beam with a very light sensitive and high resolution camera. It would probably be better to absolutely throw the book at people who get convicted of doing this with harsh sentences as a deterrent. It is in essence an attempt at blinding a person who happens to be responsible for many lives at the time and should be a felony that holds serious jail time.

  2. Unfortunately, this is not a problem unique to aviation. I was watching a European soccer match recently where one team was making a penalty kick against the opposing goalie. The player doing the kick was being harassed by at least a half dozen laser pointers from the stands. He missed the kick. What amazed me was that the officials did nothing about it. They should have forced the offending team to forfeit the match.

  3. On a slightly more humorous note, I recently read an editorial where the author suggested we start sending huge numbers of laser pointers to the defenders in Ukraine. They are cheap, small and easy to use. Training dozens of pointers at Russian aircraft or tanks would be an easy way to disrupt their pilots with little risk of discovery. Perhaps not the worst idea.

    • Also a very good way to get a targeting pod imager trained on you since you are essentially giving your location away in the best possible way to such a device. One of the things that keeps blinding lasers from being viable weapons of war is that it’s a dead giveaway of your position that only really works when your target is already looking in your direction.