Video by Tom George/CNS-TV
WASHINGTON – Small laser pointers are a common tool, but they’re becoming a serious danger to pilots in flight. Over 2800 laser incidents were reported last year. The FAA says BWI-Marshall Airport had more than 30 incidents putting it in the top 20 among airports around the country.
Members of the Air Line Pilots Association gathered in Washington, DC the last week in October to discuss how pilots can find a solution to the growing problem.
The Airline Pilots Association says that even from miles away, shining lasers into the air, either by accident or on purpose can illuminate the cockpits of aircraft trying to land, causing everything from temporary blindness to severe eye damage.
Just one laser incident can leave white spots on the retina of the eye, causing permanent eye problems. Even if the blindness from a laser is temporary, the Airline Pilots Association says that can still be dangerous if a pilot is trying to land since that is the most crucial part of the flight.
Rep. Dan Lungren (R-California) has introduced legislation that would make it a federal crime to shine lasers in the cockpits of aircraft. The bill has been approved by the House and now awaits Senate action.