Valley Residents Really Enjoy Shining Lasers at Airplanes -- Which is a Problem

Of the many uses for a laser pointer, terrorizing a airplane pilot should not be one of them.

Valley residents apparently didn't get the memo.

In a jump from last year, Valley pilots now have the second highest report of laser strikes in the country.

A "laser strike," more often than not, happens when kids and adults who have nothing better to do than point laser beams towards the sky. The problem, however, is that it often damages the retinas of the unsuspecting pilots above.

"It's really boggling to me that any adult would think it's funny or cute to shine a laser at an aircraft," Ian Gregory, of the Federal Aviation Administration, tells New Times. "I mean, what good comes from that?"

So far this year, Phoenix pilots have reported 49 of these incidents, more than half of last year's total of 80. Dallas-Ft. Worth leads this year's stats with 51 reports.

In any city with a major airport, lasers are a serious problem, causing flight crews to be distracted and pilots to have permanent eye damage. And because kids would rather play with lasers than action figures, airports and pilots continue to see a rising trend, said Gregory.

Last Wednesday the FAA tightened the reins on punishment for the offense, hiking up fines to $11,000.

"Our top priority is protecting the safety of the traveling public. We will not hesitate to take tough action against anyone who threatens the safety of our passengers, pilots and air transportation system," Ray LaHood, U.S. secretary of transportation, says in a press release.

Let's be honest, it's a dick move. So much so there's a push on Capitol Hill to make the idiots who find this type of thing entertaining federal criminals.

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