STATESBORO — Authorities in south Georgia are investigating a pair of reports from pilots who say they have had laser beams from ground near the Ogeechee River aimed at their cockpits.
The pilot of a UPS Inc. plane reported being flashed recently by a green laser beam as the plane headed toward the airport in the south Georgia town of Statesboro.
Bulloch County sheriff’s officials told The Statesboro Herald that an Air Evac helicopter pilot recently reported a similar incident.
Elsewhere in Georgia, officers searched for the source of a laser beam after a Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport official reported Nov. 12 that someone aimed it into the cockpit of an airplane passing over northwest Georgia. The Atlanta airport is the world’s busiest.
The Federal Aviation Administration this year signaled that it would impose penalties of up to $11,000 against people who point a laser into a cockpit. Authorities say the devices can temporarily blind pilots.
Several pilots this year have reported being temporarily blinded by the devices in recent months, according to records from the Federal Aviation Administration.
In March, the captain of a 757 on approach to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport was struck in his left eye by a green laser. He told federal officials that he had to turn the aircraft over to the first officer to land the jet, FAA records show.
The following month, the crew on a corporate jet approaching Indianapolis International Airport was informed by the tower that a plane ahead of them had just been shined by a laser at the plane approached the airport, FAA records indicate. Shortly after that, the corporate jet’s cockpit was also illuminated by a green flash of light as it prepared to land, the captain told authorities.
The corporate pilot’s account in the FAA records urged action.
“Something needs to be done about the proliferation of these high-powered lasers before a serious accident occurs,” the pilot stated.