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Green Laser Shone Into Airplane Cockpit As Pilot Flew Over Walton County

The FAA reported to the Walton County 911 Dispatch Center that someone shone a green laser into the cockpit of a plane as it flew over Walton County on Wednesday night.

Walton County 911 Dispatch received a call from the Federal Aviation Administration, just after 11 p.m. on Aug. 15, regarding a green laser light reportedly being shone into the cockpit of a plane as it flew over .

According to a report from the Walton County 911 Center, the coordinates suggested that the laser came from the area of Walmart and Home Depot in Monroe, Ga. However, Maj. Keith Brooks, head of the patrol division of the , said no suspects were located. He said deputies also couldn't align the coordinates with any specific location in Walton County. The coordinates given by the pilot to the FAA were 33.48 N and 83.39 W.

Officials at the FAA are reporting an increase of green laser being shone into the cockpits of planes as they pass overhead. These incidents are considered “life threatening,” according to a recent article in OHSonline (Occupational Health Safety Online). The article reports that the U.S. Coast Guard claims that green lasers aimed at Coast Guard helicopters are "causing havoc." Lt. Stephanie Young, a blogger with the Coast Guard’s Compass blog, is reported as saying that this is happening to Coast Guard aircrews as they fly along the nation's coastline, saving lives. Crews hit by green lasers have to immediately return to base and have an eye exam. The crew members cannot return to flight until a surgeon has cleared them, even if they are on a life-saving, search and rescue mission.

ABC News reported an incident last month that resulted in an eye injury to a JetBlue pilot as the plane was en route to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. A green laser was reportedly pointed into the cockpit from a distance of about 5,000 feet, hitting the first officer directly in the eye. He did, however, manage to land safely at JFK. The light might start out as a pinpoint, but it is reported to spread out as it gets further and further away from the base of the light. By the time it hits the the cockpit, it is reportedly almost blinding to a pilot.

The FAA reports that laser incidents went up by 902 percent from 2005 to 2011. This represents an increase from 300 incidents to 3,500 a year by 2011. Shining a laser into the cockpit of a plane is a federal crime. Anyone caught and successfully prosecuted for the offense faces federal prison time.

Christopher Michael August 18, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Stupid idiots. Why in the world are people so ignorant? I remember hearing about people doing this crap some years ago and it was becoming a problem then it seemed to stop. You would think with all of the terrorism and after 9/11 these morons doing this would use a little common sense but then again,common sense isn't very common anymore.
Jeff Banks August 18, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Maybe the people doing it ARE terrorist. Seems logical to me.
Mudd August 19, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Actually, Sharon, I'm told that if the laser is a true laser, the beam does NOT change size, shape or intensity no matter howfar it travels.
Sharon Swanepoel August 19, 2012 at 01:36 PM
That's interesting, Mudd. The story on ABC about the pilot who sustained an eye injury last month was where that was cited. That was actually why I used the picture in our system that was supposed to show the expansion of the beam. I wonder if those green lasers that are causing so much trouble are different from true lasers.
Jeff Banks August 19, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Of course the light spreads with distance. It also weakens but that doesn't mean that can't be dangerous to the eye.

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