The FAA and FBI issued a warning today about lasers being pointed at aircraft in the New Jersey / New York area. According to the FAA, there have been 92 laser strike incidents in the New Jersey / New York metro area this year. Lasers on the ground aimed at airplanes in the air can be extremely dangerous; the FAA warns pilots could become blinded, putting passengers and those on the ground at risk. It is a federal crime to point a laser at an airplane; people that commit this criminal act could be subject to a $30,000 fine.
Yesterday, the FBI said they’re requesting the public’s assistance in identifying the person or people responsible for pointing lasers at aircraft inbound to New York City’s JFK airport. According to the FBI, a blue laser appears to be emanating from the Roslyn, NY area; laser(s) from this area have damaged the vision of pilots. “Anyone with info is asked to call us at 1-800-CALL-FBI,” says the FBI of the criminal act.
“The risk associated with illegal and inappropriate laser illuminations is unacceptable. Pointing lasers at aircraft in flight poses a serious safety risk to the traveling public,” said Air Line Pilots Association International President Captain Lee Moak. “Since ALPA successfully urged lawmakers to make laser illuminations on aircraft a specific federal crime, laser targeting of aircraft is now a violation of both federal and civil laws with real penalties, and we will advocate for our FBI and FAA partners to vigorously pursue anyone who misuses these devices.”
In May of this year, the FAA shared news that a pilot’s eyes were burned by a laser near Orlando International Airport in Florida. A pilot flying a WestJet aircraft from Canada to the Orlando International Airport had his eyes burned by green laser light, according to an incident report from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. A Federal Aviation Administration employee said the plane was 10,000 feet in the air above Sanford when the the pilot was hit by the green laser. After that incident, the pilot of the 737 was put on medical leave.