Some very stable genius on Long Island is using a laser pointer to play an annoying and dangerous prank on planes landing at JFK airport, the FBI says.
Investigators are trying to track down the source of a blue laser light apparently coming out of Roslyn, on Long Island’s north shore, that has been targeting airplanes flying into JFK. There have been about 25 reports of a blue laser pointer targeting planes out of this particular location, an FBI spokesperson told Gothamist, and at least two pilots have sustained eye injuries from the lasers.
Laser pointers can cause serious eye injuries up close, and even from a distance, they can scatter light inside a plane’s cockpit and temporarily blind pilots, putting everyone on board in danger. While no plane crashes have been attributed to a laser pointer attack, no one wants a temporarily incapacitated pilot flying a commercial plane over a dense residential area.
Pointing a laser at an airplane is a felony and carries a sentence of up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. In 2014, one ding-dong in California was even sentenced to 14 years for pointing his laser at a police helicopter.
In a PSA video from 2011 titled “Making a Point about Lasers,” (GET IT?) the Federal Aviation Authority warns that a laser beam generated from a great distance is much bigger than a pinprick of light, and can have an effect similar to car headlights’ high beams. The video helps illustrate how dangerous laser pointers can be for pilots.
The FBI says it has seen a spike in laser incidents in area airports.While JFK and LGA only accounted for a combined 48 incidents reported in the first half of 2019, this idiotic activity is on the rise nationally.
The FAA reported 5208 laser pointer incidents this year as of mid-July. That’s almost as many as for all of last year, during which 5,663 incidents were reported—which means we might have to fear a new upswing in this behavior.
In one high-profile laser-related incident in 2015, a Bronx man admitted to pointing a laser at planes flying into LaGuardia Airport after his roommate and future brother-in-law was arrested for the crime and charged with felony assault and reckless endangerment. The arrest came after police helicopters followed the beam to the specific building, floor and apartment it had issued from.
To anyone who’s thinking of waving their laser pointer at the sky: stick to entertaining cats.