PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – The FAA is investigating two cases involving lasers pointed at airplanes preparing to land at Portland International Airport.
Each incident was reported Tuesday night: One around 10 p.m. and another around 10:30 p.m.
Air traffic control audio said one laser was pointed at a plane two miles south of the airport, as they plane was at 3,000 feet. The other was reported 20 miles south of the airport.
FOX 12 spoke to a private charter pilot originally from Oregon.
Najib Atwi said he’s had numerous lasers pointed toward his plane in his career.
One time, somebody pointed a laser his way as he was preparing to land in Mexico. Fortunately, the plane still landed safely, but Atwi said it was a dangerous distraction putting the lives of all those on board at risk.
“When you’re getting close to land, the workload is a little bit higher for the pilots, and any laser focused at the airplane can be incredibly distracting and even blinding to the pilots, especially at a time when you’re really low to the ground coming into land,” Atwi said.
According to the FAA, there were more than 5,500 laser strikes reported in the U.S. last year.
However, that number has been on a downward trend the last couple years.
The FAA said it’s been working to educate people about the dangers and consequences.
Violators can not only face hefty fines but get jail time, too.
The FAA encourages people to report cases of laser strikes at aircrafts.
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