FAA investigates two laser strikes on planes in one day – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-07-17 00:40:56 –

Honolulu (KHON2) – The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating two laser strikes on planes over Hawaii. Both incidents took place on Wednesday night, July 14th.

Thousands of laser strikes occur each year. Pointing a laser from land to an airplane may seem harmless, but it is a serious crime and can endanger the lives of everyone on the airplane and the communities below it.

The first laser attack was reported by Hawaiian Airlines on the northeastern side of Oahu around 8:30 pm on Wednesday. According to the FAA, the plane was about 8,500 feet when illuminated by a purple laser.

In a statement, Hawaiian Airlines said:
“Flight HA9, which involves a flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Honolulu (HNL), is about 7-10 offshore from eastern Oahu to HNL when the pilot sees the ground laser flash about three times. It was miles. HA9 landed successfully and the pilot reported the incident to Air Traffic Control and FAA. Pointing the laser at the aircraft poses a health risk to the crew, especially during takeoff and landing. A serious federal crime that can affect flight operations.

The FAA said the second attack took place in Hilo around 9:40 that night. The crew of Aloha Air Cargo 550 reported a blue laser as it approached Hilo International Airport.

FAA is investigating both cases.

United Airlines Boeing 777 captain Christopher Benham said laser strikes are extremely dangerous to the cockpit crew.

“It has amazing effects with pilots,” he explained. “When illuminated in the cockpit, pilots can be blind for a moment.”

Between January and April this year, 2,034 laser strikes were reported nationwide, 32 of which occurred in Hawaii. Last year, there were a total of 6,852 people, and in Hawaii there were 97 people, up from 6,136 and 73 people in the previous year.

According to Benham, laser lighting usually occurs at night, an important stage of flight, when the plane is less than 10,000 feet.

“It happened to me,” he said. “We were downwind and turned left towards the runway and landed. We are thousands of feet off the ground. One of the worst lasers that can damage our eyes. I was hit by a green laser, and basically I couldn’t see anything. Fortunately, I was able to hand over the plane to the co-pilot. He continued his approach. “

He couldn’t fly for a few days and had to be checked out by a doctor to make sure his eyes weren’t permanently damaged.

“We are trained as pilots to fly those jets and keep them safe,” he said. “If we have a mechanical problem, we are trained to deal with it, but we are not trained to deal with blindness and inability to fly.”

They are given hints on what to do in the case of a laser strike. It’s difficult to prepare because I’m in the cockpit exposed to a large window without knowing when it will occur.

“If you experience laser lighting in the cockpit, bow your head,” says Behnam. “Don’t look at it. Don’t try to focus on it. Turn your head away. Lower your head and increase the light in the cockpit. Immediately report it to air traffic control and air traffic control will report it. Report to the appropriate agency. In this case it is the FAA. “

He had one message.

“Imagine your loved one on the plane and not ruin it,” Benham said. “Blind pilots at critical stages of takeoff or landing flights can cause accidents and result in the death of many.”

Lasering an aircraft is a federal crime that can be punished with up to five years’ imprisonment and a $ 250,000 fine.

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