More People Pointing Lasers at Aircraft Despite Danger

By Kevin Eck 

Los Angeles CW affiliate KTLA says its helicopter was hit by a laser last night. This comes two days after three helicopters were hit by lasers in New York, one was an NYPD helicopter, the other two were from WNBC and WABC.

KTLA said they tracked the source of the laser to a 15-year-old kid, who was arrested and released into the custody of his parents.

Sky5’s pilot Tim Lynn says getting hit by a laser causes flash blindness, which he says is similar to what happens when a flash bulb goes off in front of you.

USA Today says in a 90-minute period on July 15, “11 airliners and one military aircraft reported laser strikes near New York City-area airports. Those incidents remain under investigation by the FAA, FBI and New Jersey state police.”

In 2011, the FAA began imposing civil penalties on people who pointed lasers at planes. Then, the maximum fine was $11,000. Congress upped the penalties in 2012 and made it a federal crime to point lasers at an aircraft. From February 2012 through 2013, the FAA investigated 152 cases and took action in 96.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., urged the Food and Drug Administration in June to ban the sale of high-powered, long-range lasers, which are relatively inexpensive and easy to buy. His recommendation came after five flights were targeted heading to New York’s JFK Airport.

Here’s a bar graph from USA Today showing the number of strikes from 2010 through October 16, 2015.
laser strike graph

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