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Green lasers pointed at 3 flights in Boston are under investigation, FAA says

The FAA said laser reports from pilots have gone up in recent years.

A JetBlue plane is seen flying in the sky, with another plane flying in the distance.
Seen from Deer Island, a JetBlue airplane heads in for a landing at Boston Logan International Airport. Pat Greenhouse / The Boston Globe, File

The agency tasked with enforcing aviation safety standards is investigating three incidents of green laser beams hitting planes and a helicopter in Boston on Thursday.

The first involved two JetBlue planes, Flights 494 and 972, just after 5:30 a.m., according to a Federal Aviation Administration statement. The crews told authorities that they were “illuminated by a green laser.” Both of these flights landed at Logan International Airport, flying from Denver and San Jose, California, according to FlightAware.

Hours later around 8 p.m., a Sikorsky H-60 helicopter trying to land at a Boston hospital was flashed with a green laser, the FAA said. The agency didn’t say which hospital. 


There were no injuries reported in any of the three incidents, but the FAA said shining lasers at flights or crews in the air or on the ground is incredibly dangerous because it could damage their vision.

“Aiming a laser at an aircraft is a serious safety hazard that puts everyone on the plane and on the ground below at risk,” the FAA said. “It is also a violation of federal law.”

Shining a laser at an aircraft can result in an $11,000 fine for a single incident and $30,800 for multiple incidents. People have also been convicted and faced imprisonment for similar cases, including a Medford man in 2010 who shined a laser at a state police helicopter.

Since 2010, 278 pilots have reported injuries to authorities because of beaming lasers. 

The number of laser reports in 2022 was 9,457, a slight decrease of nearly 300 reports since 2021, but the number of reports in recent years have drastically climbed since 384 incidents were reported in 2006.

From 2022 to August 2023, the most recent data available, there were 31 laser incidents reported in Massachusetts. The FAA said the increase could be due to a number of factors, including the types and cheap costs of lasers available on the market, as well as more pilots reporting the incidents.


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