Oakland Airport ranks fourth in “laser strikes”
on August 26, 2010
What happens when you shine a high-powered laser pointer at a plane cruising through the sky? Well, you can disorient the pilot, and according to the San Jose Mercury News, it happens so often that there’s a name for it: “laser strikes.” In fact, Oakland Airport ranks fourth in the nation in incidents of laser strikes, and San Jose Airport comes in fifth.
There haven’t been any crashes caused by laster strikes, but some incidents during landings have forced pilots to have to abort the procedure and try again. Powerful laser pointer beams can also injure people’s eyes. One military pilot whose craft was struck had to stop flying for six months while his eyes recovered.
Laser strikes appear to be on the rise: there were over 900 strikes on commercial aircraft in 2008 and nearly 1,500 in 2009. This year, there have already been 1,251. About a third of the incidents nationwide are reported in California.
Oakland North welcomes comments from our readers, but we ask users to keep all discussion civil and on-topic. Comments post automatically without review from our staff, but we reserve the right to delete material that is libelous, a personal attack, or spam. We request that commenters consistently use the same login name. Comments from the same user posted under multiple aliases may be deleted. Oakland North assumes no liability for comments posted to the site and no endorsement is implied; commenters are solely responsible for their own content.
Oakland North is an online news service produced by students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and covering Oakland, California. Our goals are to improve local coverage, innovate with digital media, and listen to you–about the issues that concern you and the reporting you’d like to see in your community. Please send news tips to: firstname.lastname@example.org.