Who Is Pointing Lasers At Airplanes? After 2,800 Incidents in 2010, Officials Race to Avert Disaster

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REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

In today’s obvious news update: Pointing lasers at a pilot operating a plane is dangerous. In today’s worrisome news update: The number of times this happens has soared.

The Federal Aviation Association is reporting that the number of incidents of people pointing lasers at planes and helicopters in 2010 skyrocketed compared to the previous year’s incidents.

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In 2009 there were 1,527 incidents involving lasers and aircrafts–a pretty high number, considering how dangerous pointing a powerful laser at an aircraft can be. But it gets worse: in 2010 the number of incidents almost doubled, with 2,836 laser-aircraft incidents reported.

And, in more bad news: reportedly the majority of these laserings take place during take-off and landing–obviously a critical time for flight safety. According to the AP, “[p]ointing lasers at cockpits can temporarily blind pilots or even permanently damage their eyesight. In some instances, pilots have had to relinquish control of their aircraft to another pilot.” Yikes!

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With all of the hullabaloo going on inside the airport–what with TSA pat-downs and X-Ray searches–it’s more than a little terrifying to learn of the external threats to flight safety. And just when you thought it was safe to go back up in the air again. (via Associated Press)