Arizona Expert: Ignorance, Availability Explain Rash Of Lasers Striking Airplanes

Published: Friday, November 13, 2015 - 3:24pm
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The Federal Aviation Administration has been busy tracking a recent rash of incidents involving lasers striking airplanes, and many of them have occurred in Arizona.

According to the FAA, in the past month, more than 5,300 laser strikes have been reported across the United States, many of them here in the Southwest. Los Angeles has the most, followed not far behind by Phoenix.

Dr. Erin Bowen is chair of the Safety Science Department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott.

She blames the increased availability of lasers and believes ignorance is a major factor in their misuse.

“The motivation for individuals on the ground to shine lasers up at pilots I suspect are pretty varied. I think most times people genuinely don’t realize the dangers they are causing," said Bowen.

Lasers can temporarily blind pilots and 2015 has already been a record year for laser strikes on planes in the U.S.

Two flights approaching Sky Harbor Airport were hit by beams on Thursday night, but landed without incident or injuries.

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