FAA Investigating Laser Pointed At Plane During Takeoff From TIA
TULSA, Oklahoma - The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating after a FedEx pilot reported a laser pointed directly at his plane shortly after taking off from Tulsa International Airport.
The FAA says the cargo jet, which was headed from Tulsa to Memphis, was 3,500 feet in the air when someone pointed a laser directly at it, which is a federal crime.
The laser also lit up air traffic control communications. Not only did the pilot need to report the incident, but air traffic control needed to warn other planes in the area.
Justin Mackey was a passenger on a small plane flying into Jones Riverside Airport and he heard the transmission over the radio.
"We know we weren't over there, but we were still a little concerned," said Mackey. "You never know when it can happen."
Mackey says pilots can be temporarily blinded when lasers are aimed at planes. He also says that the first few minutes of a flight are critical because a pilot "is still climbing and turning to get on course, so there is still a lot going on in the cockpit."
The FAA receives thousands of reports of laser hits involving aircraft every year and is working with law enforcement to find whoever is responsible.