“You can incapacitate a pilot and make it impossible or difficult for him or her to land their aircraft,” said Bruce Landsberg, AOPA Foundation.
It’s happening more and more often. Since 2006, the FAA has reported a steady increase in laser incidents. And already in the first five and a half months of this year, the numbers are still high–an estimated 1,500 cases.
Based on those numbers, laserpointersafety.com is predicting a 1 to 16 percent increase in laser incidents in 2013. WJZ has investigated laser dangers to pilots for years.
In 2011, two Southwest pilots had to be hospitalized after they were briefly blinded by lasers as they came in for a landing at BWI with 130 people on board. In 2012, the FAA reports it happened 54 times to pilots in Maryland.