FAA Investigating After 5 Pilots Say Laser Was Pointed At Planes Near JFK Airport

29 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

4 planes near NYC hit by laser pointer during 30-minute span.

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Five pilots have reported that a green laser was pointed at their planes while they were flying over New York and New Jersey. Pilots on four commercial airliners reported that their aircraft were targeted by green lasers Thursday night as they flew about 8,000 feet over Long Island, according to the FAA.

No injuries were reported, the FAA said, but federal officials consider illuminating an aircraft to be a serious crime punishable by up to five years in prison and a hefty $250,000 fine. Elehecer Balaguer, 54, was arrested in March after he shined the laser into the cockpit of an NYPD helicopter that was responding to the airline pilots’ complaints — but police choppers quickly spotted the apartment that was the source of the dangerous beam, the feds said. “Lasers, when pointed at aircraft, have the ability to incapacitate and injure pilots. Thankfully, this case did not end in tragedy, but Elehecer Balaguer’s actions were serious and posed a danger,” US Attorney Preet Bharara said earlier. OK, does it look like it’s coming straight up or from a distance?” Pilot: “I thought it was just a rogue laser, but they were definitely aiming at us a couple of times.

As it hits that Plexiglas, the light disperses even more throughout the cockpit,” he said. “It’s equivalent to a flash of a camera if you were in a pitch black car at night. It’s a temporary blinding to the pilot and also to the tactical flight officer, whoever we are with.” The FAA says that the New York State Police have been alerted about Thursday’s incidents and that an investigation is currently underway.

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