The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported last week that in one night more than 20 aircraft over 16 U.S. cities were struck by laser beams. This included a FedEx plane that was flying over Jamestown Airport, in Chautauqua County, New York.
While there were no pilot injuries reported, shining a laser at an aircraft is a federal crime in the United States. It distracts pilots and sometimes leads to temporary blindness, or to more significant eye injuries. The eye is particularly sensitive to light sources at night when it is dark.
Laser beams fired from the ground can travel over a mile, reaching up to aircraft in the sky. In the U.S., more than 5,300 laser strikes have been reported so far this year.