FAA: 7 laser incidents reported in Louisville in 2009

FBI terrorism task force reportedly looking into incidents


LOUISVILLE, Ky. --

The Federal Aviation Authority provided more information about the number of incidents in which people aimed laser pointers at aircraft in Louisville.

The FAA said Friday that the FBI terrorism task force is investigating seven incidents in all.

WLKY first found out this was happening in the Louisville area when the WLKY NewsChopper was targeted Thursday, along with the chopper for WHAS, as they hovered over the mass flu clinic at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

The other five incidents include three UPS planes, one FedEx plane and one passenger flight as it landed at Louisville International Airport.

An FAA spokesperson said the reports have exploded since green laser pointers, normally used for astronomers, became less expensive.

Reports of green laser incidents jumped from 300 nationwide four years ago to over 1,200 so far this year.

"We report every laser event to local law enforcement and we have seen numerous cases in which individuals who shine lasers intentionally at aircraft have been prosecuted and even convicted," said Kathleen Bergen, spokeswoman for the FAA's southern region.

Aiming a laser pointer at aircraft can cause pilots temporary flash blindness.

Earlier this year, a Cleveland, Ohio, man was sentenced to three years in prison for hitting two airplanes and two helicopters with lasers.

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