When pilots report lasers are hitting their cockpits, you might think it is a hoax straight out of a science fiction movie. Unfortunately, real life laser beams can potentially be as deadly as a UFO going “pew pew” at an airline jet.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, the FAA says multiple pilots reported lasers hitting their cockpits in flights over New Jersey. In the past, one teen was jailed for aiming a laser beam at airplanes.
In Seattle, an Alaska Air pilot reported lasers shining at them from the ground as the plane approached Sea-Tac Airport. The flight had 70 people and five crew members on board. According to KOMO, the pilot was able to land the plane safely and filed a report about the laser beams with Air Traffic Control.
When pilots report lasers hitting their eyes there is a good reason why it is so dangerous. A simple laser pointer can become a deadly weapon since plane cockpits have special glass which diffuses, or spreads out, light as it enters the cockpit. This means laser beams appear like flashes going off right in front of their eyes, and pilots can be blinded completely by the dazzling display.
In fact, it is possible for a pilot to have their vision damaged permanently as one poor JetBlue pilot found out several years ago when a high-powered green laser beam lit up his cockpit. J.P. Tristani, an aviation expert, says this prank can potentially have deadly consequences.
“That momentary distraction, because you’re so focused inside the cockpit, can cause you to miss a radio call, can cause you to miss a warning light, can cause you to have a temporary blindness.”
A report from ABC News explains what the worst case scenario could be if the laser beams blind the pilots of a commercial jet.
“Our nightmare scenario here is getting a pilot – either one or two pilots, however many there are in the cockpit – so flash-blinded that he or she can’t land the airplane, can’t even see to fly it. You wouldn’t think of a little green laser as having the power to bring down an airplane full of people, but if you get the eyes of pilots flash-blinded at the wrong moment, you can do that – and you could end up killing 400 people.”
Due to the seriousness of this issue, when pilots report lasers hitting their eyes, the federal government takes notice. Shining bright laser beams into a cockpit is a federal crime, with a potential five-year prison sentence and $250,000 fine as punishment.
[Image via Lavan Guardia]