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Pilots getting blinded by the light

Two pilots landing at SFO experienced some troublesome issues Thursday. It wasn’t pilot error or screwy landing gear. It was a laser.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations is investigating just how a laser got pointed at two commercial planes landing at the airport.

Someone flashed a laser light at a United Express flight coming in to SFO at around 10:25 p.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Four minutes later, the person or persons struck again, flashing a laser into the cockpit of a Virgin America Airbus coming from Chicago.

SFO spokesman Mike McCarron told KTVU that most of these incidents occur when a plane is taking off or landing:

“People are more likely to see the plane easier, an easier target for someone with a laser pointer.”

This makes it all the riskier as air traffic is heavier at these times.

The FAA said that the laser came from somewhere around Palo Alto.

Laser lights could have deadly consequences for aviators. They can light up the entire cockpit area, making the pilot unable to see or focus on the task at hand, said McCarron:

“When we lose that visual field, it can turn into something tragic. There’s a lot of people lives at risk. It’s a very hazardous activity to partake in.”

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