Passenger jet nearly collides with drone in mid-air; lasers target planes

30 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

5 pilots report lasers beamed at airliners.

FARMINGDALE, New York, United States — Local and federal law enforcement officials launched an investigation Friday after five commercial airline pilots reported that green lasers were pointed at their planes as they flew over New York and New Jersey. The Federal Aviation Administration said four pilots reported a green laser illuminating their aircraft in flight at about 8,000 feet over Long Island between 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. But it is lighting up the inside of the windshield here from the left side,” said the pilot, adding that he thought it was a “rogue” laser at first – but then realized the plane was targeted. The flights included American Airlines 185, Shuttle America 4213, Delta Airlines 2292 and 2634 flying above Long Island, and Sun Country Airlines 249 flying above New Jersey.

The Nassau County, New York, Police Department and the New Jersey State Police said they are working with the FAA on the investigation but no details were immediately available. Representatives for Delta and American Airlines said their flights landed safely and the pilots continued on their trips after reporting the laser episodes to air traffic controllers. Andy Danziger, a retired airline captain, told The Post that he also was targeted by a laser a few years ago as he was approaching Kuwait in a Boeing 767. “Thankfully, it didn’t hit our eyes. And when the light hits the cockpit, this glass here, it refracts everywhere,” said Captain Jeff Long, Sky Eye Chopper 13. “Because I’d been hit with a laser before, I immediately knew to turn away as soon as I caught it, and I didn’t get it straight on,” said Captain Jeff.

It’s a huge problem now.” “Their use is on the rise and we must do something soon – not after a plane crashes,” he said in a statement. “The FAA should use its authority to do what I asked months ago: ban green, long-range, high-powered laser pointers once and for all. The Democrat from New York said Nassau County police, the FBI and the area’s Joint Terrorism Task Force launched a joint investigation, but there appears to be no indication the episode was terrorism-related.

They’re quickly becoming the weapon of choice for those who want to harass our pilots and should be abolished.” 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. Michael Canders, an instructor at Farmingdale State College’s aviation center, said it’s unusual to have so many laser strikes in one night affecting one airport. “Five is of concern,” he said. “Someone waiting in the landing pattern to just lase these aircraft really makes me wonder why.

But it’s very important that they be found out and that they be held accountable because it is very dangerous.” “It’s definitely of concern when you’re flying out because your vision could be temporarily blinded by it,” Stephen Weisbrot, an instructor with Venture Aviation in Farmingdale, told CBS2’s Janelle Burrell. “It’s of course a concern when you’re flying at night when your eyes are more sensitive to light, but I assume as a knee-jerk reaction you would just be looking away.” Canders said he had the experience of being lasered with night vision goggles in the Air Force and told McLogan it basically blooms the cockpit a very bright light.”It will cause at a minimum temporary blindness and the laser can damage the eye.” “Inititally it is startling. Schumer, who was briefed on Thursday’s laser incident by FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, said incidents of planes being hit by lasers have been rising, with nearly 3,900 reported across the country last year. Schumer is calling on the Food and Drug Administration to ban “high-powered, long-range green lasers,” which he says are brighter than other lasers and easily penetrate glass. For now, Canders said, pilots have been advised to report incidents immediately to the FAA and give their location so investigators can attempt to locate the person pointing the laser. He said that while most incidents have involved commercial airlines — usually with more than one person in the cockpit — the situation could be more dangerous in single-pilot planes.

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