Laser Pointer Pranks Putting Pilots in Danger

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The Federal Aviation Administration and Federal Bureau of Investigation are looking into complaints of pilots "getting lasered" in the cockpit.

The dangerous trend puts lives in jeopardy. The beam of a laser pen can be blinding to pilots, even from as much as a quarter mile away.

"What happens is that pinpoint spreads out as it gets up higher and farther away, and what may seem like a very faint light to you, in a cockpit, gets almost blinding," explained San Francisco International Airport spokesman Mike McCarron.

Two laser incidents were reported at San Francisco's airport July 6.

Investigators are also searching for whoever pointed a laser beam at a JetBlue flight over Long Island on Sunday evening. The plane's first officer suffered a minor eye injury in that incident.

There were more than 3,500 documented incidents of planes being targeted by laser beams in 2011. That's up from only 300 in 2005.

Interfering with a flight crew is a federal crime. The FBI says it's pursuing stricter penalties for those who are caught.

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