FAA: 4 pilots over Long Island say lasers were pointed at their planes
Four planes had a laser shined into their cockpits following takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport last night, and police pinpointed the source of the laser to the area of Bethpage State Park on Long Island.
The incidents happened between 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Thursday. Two Delta flights, one American Airlines flight and one Shuttle America flight had the laser shined at them. There were no injuries.
The FAA says the four passenger jets were hit by green lasers. The green lasers can travel 5-10 miles and are so powerful that they can ignite a match at close range. When illuminating an aircraft cockpit, the light can hurt a pilot.
"When it does enter the cockpit, you get flash blindness," says Chopper 12 pilot Frank Lombardi, who has been hit with a green laser before. "Like a camera flash going off."
Sen. Charles Schumer is trying to get the powerful green lasers banned. He says more than 3,000 aircraft reported being hit by them last year.
"Today I asked administrator Huerta of the FAA to petition the FDA, which has jurisdiction over these lasers, to join me and ask that they abolish them," says Schumer. "He said he would seriously consider it."
Schumer says the FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force are investigating the incidents, as are state and local police. Schumer says that there is no evidence of terrorism in the case.