Don’t Point Your Laser at an Airplane

Jul 17, 2015

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CNN reported that yesterday, 11 commercial flights were targeted with laser pointers in New Jersey, both near Newark airport and in other parts of the state. Laser pointers have a place in a meeting room or lecture hall, perhaps, but that’s about it. Pilots already have enough to worry about when they’re attempting to land a jet with dozens or hundreds of passengers aboard, but a growing trend has helped laser pointers earn a top spot on the list of low-altitude hazards.

Those (otherwise benign) bright dot-shining contraptions can light up a cockpit and cause temporary blindness, which obviously interferes with a pilot’s ability to perform duties, such as landing the plane. As of 2012, shining a laser at an aircraft is a federal crime. That means jail time in a federal prison if convicted, and with greater awareness and an FAA program aimed at catching individuals who point lasers at airplanes, there’s a good chance violating this law will indeed land you behind bars.

Learn more about the effects of laser pointers in the cockpit in the FAA video above.

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