Federal Agents Question Jenks Man After Laser Pointed Into Cockpit

Friday, March 21st 2014, 11:04 pm
By: News On 6

Federal Agents are questioning a man after pilots reported lasers being pointed into their cockpits. It happened near the Jones Riverside Airport; agents picked up the suspect near Jenks.

You could face serious federal charges if you point one of a laser pointer at planes in the sky, but it happened again. Police officers used their helicopter as bait to attract the high beam of light.

Tulsa Police Helicopter Pilots are essential to keeping officers safe on the ground. They fly missions in the middle of the night, providing a view you can only get from above.

"We just want them to know, it's not a joke to do it," said Michael Richert with the Tulsa Police.

In the past two months, Federal Agents have been investigating people shooting laser pointers into cockpits.

3/7/2014 Tulsa Man Indicted For Pointing Laser Pointer At TPD Helicopter

"It illuminates the aircraft. It makes everything brighter. It kind of glares, so you can imagine an aircraft, especially on final approach to an airport," Richert said.

TPD Pilots responded Thursday night after getting reports of a MedEvac helicopter pilot blinded by a green light. The helicopter took off from the Jones Riverside Airport, and officers weren't in the air long before being beamed themselves.

"About 5 minutes into orbiting we were struck on the belly of our aircraft and began orbiting around the area we were struck. We were eventually able to get it on camera," Richert said.

The blinding light has local pilots, like John Hulbert, worried, especially when it happens so close to an airport.

"I don't want to be surprised by somebody shooting something like that through my windshield when I'm coming in on approach," Hulbert said.

He said when it's dark out a pilot's eyes are already strained, looking for visual cues, like airport lights and landmarks.

"You just want to turn away from it," Hulbert said.

The crime is on the rise and police are going out of their way to catch people shooting lasers in the sky.

The Federal Aviation Administration fines for pointing a laser at an aircraft are around $11,000. A Tulsa man was indicted a few weeks ago for pointing a laser at the same police helicopter.