The FBI reports an alarming increase in the number of people aiming laser pointers at airplanes in New York, with 22 such incidents recorded around JFK and LaGuardia airports alone in August and September, says the New York Post. The number of incidents so far this year has risen 17 percent, with 75 reports compared to 64 in the same period a year ago, an FBI spokesman said.
The two most recent incidents occurred last Tuesday. The first involved a Shuttle America flight in which the aircraft cockpit was illuminated at about 7:35 a.m. by a green laser on its final approach to LaGuardia Airport. The laser beam emanated from the Bronx. Three hours later, a private aircraft was hit by a powerful green beam near LaGuardia. That beam came from Astoria, Queens. The incidents — which are being probed by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force — carry potential prison time for the suspects, as well as civil penalties by the Federal Aviation Administration.