Via ABC News:
Eleven commercial flights reported lasers illuminated their aircraft Wednesday night as they flew over New Jersey between the hours of 9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., and the pilot of one plane reported having blurred vision, according to federal officials.
“This is an assault on a pilot as far as I’m concerned,” said Rich Frankel, special agent in charge of the Newark, New Jersey, office of the FBI. “It is a criminal matter. You’re putting the lives of not just the pilot but everyone on the plane at risk.”
Several of the incidents were reported approximately 15 to 20 miles southwest of Newark Liberty International Airport, and the planes were bound for that airport, as well as LaGuardia Airport in New York City, and Pittsburgh, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
“Just for your information, there’s someone shooting a laser about four or five miles back off our back wing,” one pilot told the Newark airport control tower.
“That just happened again?” the tower responded.
“Yes, about four to five miles back,” the pilot answered. “They lit us up pretty well.”
This is a federal crime that has a heavy fine and prison sentence because it is a dangerous thing to do. What is most disturbing is that we are dealing with people who are either being remarkably stupid or deliberately dangerous, without a lot of middle ground. Imagine a plane being taken down by the idiot teenager who thinks it’s fun to bring a laser pointer to a theater (I know it’s a different laser, I’m talking about the mindset).
It’s a problem that is getting worse:
The number of nationwide laser hits is climbing each year, the Federal Aviation Administration said, from 2,200 incidents in 2010 to 3,400 in 2012 and more than 3,900 in 2013, an all-time high. That’s more than 10 incidents every day across the country.
Good luck resting after this, nervous flyers.