NEW YORK – At least six more flights over New York and New Jersey reported being illuminated by lasers Tuesday night, making 22 such incidents in recent weeks.
In this recent rash of hits, six planes reported laser strikes including United Flight 1933 on approach to Newark.
“1933, we just got lasered from our 10 o’clock position,” a pilot said.
The FAA notified law enforcement about the reports, and the FAA is investigating. Below are the details on each flight:
1. American 1976, an Airbus 321 at 3,000 feet 20 miles south of Newark Liberty International Airport at 9:25 pm.
2. Shuttle America 3482, Embraer E170 at 7,000 feet seven miles west of Warwick, NY at 9:45 pm.
3. Express Jet 5887, Embraer E145 at 7,000 feet, five miles west of Warwick, NY at 9:40 pm.
4. Spirit Airlines 710, Airbus A320, at 7,500 feet, 20 miles southwest of LaGuardia Airport at 12:10 am.
5. United Express 5898, Toronto to Newark, was illuminated by a green laser struck left side of aircraft at 10:16 p.m.
6. United Airlines 1933, Houston to Newark, was illuminated for about 3 seconds about 7 miles southwest of Newark, at 11:35 p.m.
Like the previous rash of strikes, these laser hits were spread out from Newark to Warwick in Orange County, New York to LaGuardia in Queens.
Twelve pilots reported spotting lasers Wednesday night, followed by at least another four pilots while flying over New Jersey and Pennsylvania Thursday night.
“We’re they pointing it at you?” the tower asked
“Directly pointing right at us. I saw the flash to left and out my head down,” the pilot said.
But as we reported in an investigation last year, laser strikes have plagued pilots flying in and out of our major airports ever since the hand-held devices became cheap and easy to get and much more powerful.
They are able to ignite a pack of matches and shine blinding light miles into the sky.
“You have this searing intensity, this bright light shining into the aircraft, so you experience flash blindness,” said Captain Hamilton, a commercial pilot.
Captain Robert Hamilton knows first-hand the power and the danger of lasers.
“What goes through your mind is, ‘Will I be able to complete the flight?'” Hamilton said.
FAA Data show about 4,000 laser strikes reported by pilots every year for past five years nationwide.
Our research of government records has found numerous accounts of pilots reporting blurred vision, temporary blindness even retinal damage due to lasers.
One passenger made clear what he thought about anyone thinking it’s all a harmless game.
“Idiots on the ground who want to play with toys hopefully someone will find them and lock them up,” said John Andersen, of West Haven, Connecticut.
Newark had 28 reported laser-pointing incidents last year.