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North Texas Leads Nation In Aircraft Laser Strikes

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas/Fort Worth area leads the nation in reports of laser strikes aimed at pilots and this past weekend there were two more incidents of laser beams being shined into cockpits over the area.

Lynn Lunsford, with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), says lasers are dangerous no matter how high a plane is flying.

“Your eyes become accustomed to looking out into the dark and when a laser hits a windscreen of the cockpit it has the same effect as if somebody took a flash photo of you in a dark restaurant, without telling you first it was going to happen,” Lunsford explained.

The weekend incidents involved two very different types of aircrafts, but were both troubling. “One was a medical helicopter that was hit by a laser over Terrell. And then, an American Eagle flight inbound to DFW was hit by a laser while it was in the vicinity of Love Field,” said Lunsford.

Anyone caught shining a laser at a plane faces an $11,000 fine. Lunsford says that fine amount if per person. “And if it turns out that there’s a group of kids or guys who are out just doing it for fun and there are five people around then all five of them get their own $11,000 penalty.”

In January, the FAA announced that nationwide reports of lasers pointed at aircraft had almost doubled from the previous year.