Entries in laser (2)


JetBlue Pilot Suffers Eye Injury from Green Laser

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A JetBlue pilot suffered an eye injury when a green laser was pointed directly into the cockpit as the plane was en route to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the incident took place Sunday when the green laser was shone through the windshield of JetBlue Flight 657 from Syracuse, hitting the first officer in the eye.  The pilot immediately notified the control tower after the incident.

“JetBlue 657, that was about 5,000 feet, right?” the control tower asked.

“Yes sir, 5,000 feet.  Two green flashes, and it caught the first officer in his eye,” the pilot said.

An FAA preliminary incident report described the pilot’s injury as minor but did not provide details.  It was unknown whether the injured pilot was in command of the aircraft at the time, but the flight landed safely at JFK 10 minutes later.

“Use caution.  I just had an unauthorized laser illumination event about seven miles ahead of you at 5,000 feet,” the control tower said.  “JetBlue 657, we are looking into the matter.”

In 2011, there were more than 3,500 documented incidents of lasers being pointed at aircrafts, up from less than 300 in 2005.  Two planes were reportedly targeted by a green laser beam in San Francisco last week.  Those pilots were not injured.

“What happens is that pinpoint spreads out as it gets up higher and farther away, and what may seem like a very faint light to you, in a cockpit, gets almost blinding,” San Francisco International Airport spokesman Mike McCarron said.

Authorities say they’re ramping up their response efforts and pursuing stricter penalties.

“Interfering with a flight crew is a federal crime.  So, the FBI has looked into these laser incidents over the last several years,” said Richard Kolko, special agent with the FBI.  “We’ve located some of them.  Several of them have been prosecuted.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


FAA Announces Record Number of Laser Events in 2010 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The FAA announced Wednesday that in 2010, nationwide reports of lasers pointed at airplanes almost doubled from the previous year to more than 2,800. This is the highest number of laser events recorded since the FAA began keeping track in 2005.

Los Angeles International Airport recorded the highest number of laser events in the country for an individual airport in 2010, with 102 reports, and the greater Los Angeles area tallied nearly twice that number, with 201 reports. Chicago O’Hare International Airport was a close second, with 98 reports, and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport tied for the third highest number of laser events for the year with 80 each.

“This is a serious safety issue,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Lasers can distract and harm pilots who are working to get passengers safely to their destinations.”

Nationwide, laser event reports have steadily increased since the FAA created a formal reporting system in 2005 to collect information from pilots. Reports rose from nearly 300 in 2005 to 1,527 in 2009 and 2,836 in 2010.

“The FAA is actively warning people not to point high-powered lasers at aircraft because they can damage a pilot’s eyes or cause temporary blindness,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “We continue to ask pilots to immediately report laser events to air traffic controllers so we can contact local law enforcement officials.”

Some cities and states have laws making it illegal to shine lasers at aircraft and, in many cases, people can face federal charges.

The increase in reports is likely due to a number of factors, including the availability of inexpensive laser devices on the Internet; higher power levels that enable lasers to hit aircraft at higher altitudes; increased pilot reporting of laser strikes; and the introduction of green lasers, which are more easily seen than red lasers. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio