The Federal Aviation Administration reports that laser targeting of aircraft increased by more than 40% from 2020 to 2021

HOUSTON, TX (KTRK) — The Federal Aviation Administration said laser targeting of aircraft increased more than 40% from 2020 to 2021.

The recent arrests here in Houston are testament to that statistic.

Police arrested two men this week and a third last week for using high power lasers against planes and helicopters.

ABC13 filed a report with the FAA following an incident that targeted our SkyEye13 helicopter during traffic coverage Wednesday morning.

“It’s scary to think what a little laser pointer can do,” said Tammy Rose, SkyEye reporter.

She was in the passenger seat, covering the morning rush hour, when she saw a green laser strike the helicopter high in the air.

READ MORE: Dangerous laser pointer aimed at ABC13’s SkyEye while flying above traffic in Southeast Houston

“If a pilot becomes momentarily blinded and disoriented, they can easily lose control of the aircraft and potentially crash,” said Rose, who suffered from blurred vision after the laser hit the helicopter’s rear window.

She said the pilot was able to turn the helicopter so the laser couldn’t hit the cockpit windows, but said the laser attack continued.

“He did it for ten minutes. He was obviously aiming at our plane,” Rose said.

The incident came shortly after two others were arrested in Houston this week.

Jesus Pena and Jorge Olsen were arrested for aiming a laser at a Houston police helicopter.

HPD ground units were called and spotted the two men moving the laser back and forth while standing outside.

SEE ALSO: Man Arrested For Pointing Laser At Plane Has Arrest Warrant

Just last week, one of the men, Jordan Jackson, was arrested and charged with aiming a laser at two planes and a helicopter in November 2021.

“Police claim you gave them a statement saying you shined the laser on the police helicopter. I suppose you knew it was a police helicopter because it was hovering around the area and you were upset that it was in the area,” the magistrate told the court.

The FAA said more than 9,700 laser attacks were reported in 2021.

That is 41% more than in 2020.

In 2022, they said they had already received more than 5,000 reports by July 31.

“Lasers can distract pilots and even temporarily blind them,” said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the FAA.

The three men arrested in Houston face charges of laser lighting an airplane, which is a misdemeanor, but face up to a year in prison and a $4,000 fine.

To learn more about this story, follow Shelley Childers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All rights reserved. The Federal Aviation Administration reports that laser targeting of aircraft increased by more than 40% from 2020 to 2021

Russell Falcon

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