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FAA probing lasers pointed at Newark-bound planes

December 4, 2010 5:33:05 AM PST
Federal authorities on Friday were investigating reports of lasers being pointed at planes landing at Newark Liberty International Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it received about a dozen reports from pilots this week. All involved planes landing at the airport from the north.

FAA spokesman Jim Peters said there were six incidents on Wednesday and several more earlier in the week. The pilots reported seeing green laser lights in their cockpits while on final approach.

It's a violation of federal law to shine a laser at an aircraft.

In 2006, a Parsippany man received two years' probation after admitting to shining a laser at a plane approaching Teterboro Airport that temporarily blinded the two pilots. He had faced 18 to 24 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.

Nationwide, reports of laser incidents have been increasing, according to the FAA. More than 5,000 incidents have been reported since 2005, including more than 2,200 in 2010 alone.

"Pilots are more diligent in reporting these incidents and it seems more people are engaging in this dangerous and irresponsible behavior," Peters said.

Hand-held lasers have become cheaper and more powerful in recent years, Peters said.

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