Law enforcement and aviation officials in the Boston area are trying to figure out who is using lasers to target aircraft. Last week there were three incidents of laser strikes from the ground.
The first two occurred in the predawn hours Thursday and involved two JetBlue aircraft. Both were reportedly struck by green lasers while on approach to land at Logan International Airport (KBOS).
According to the FAA, the first incident was reported by the crew of JetBlue flight 494 from Denver. The second was flight 972 from San Jose, California. The flights landed at KBOS at 5:50 a.m. EDT and 5:54 a.m., respectively. There were no reports of injuries.
The third incident was around 8 p.m. when a Coast Guard helicopter conducting a training flight was struck by a green laser while landing at a Boston-area hospital. Again there were no injuries reported from the event.
“Laser pointers may seem like a toy, office tool, or game,” FAA said. “Pointed to the sky, lasers are a serious threat. A laser can incapacitate pilots, putting thousands of passengers at risk every year.”
Pointing a laser at an aircraft is a federal crime. People who do so face FAA fines of up to $11,000 per violation and up to $30,800 for multiple laser incidents.
The FAA issued $120,000 in fines for laser strikes in 2021.
Most often the laser strikes occur near airports often while the aircraft is on approach. When the laser floods the cockpit, the pilots are blinded, which aviation officials note is very dangerous when an aircraft is close to the ground as it is during the landing sequence.