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Wednesday, December 29, 2004
  FBI Probes Laser Beam Directed at Cockpit
Yahoo! News - FBI Probes Laser Beam Directed at Cockpit: "CLEVELAND - Authorities are investigating a mysterious laser beam that was directed into the cockpit of a commercial jet traveling at more than 8,500 feet.



The beam appeared Monday when the plane was about 15 miles from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, the FBI (news - web sites) said.

'It was in there for several seconds like (the plane) was being tracked,' FBI agent Robert Hawk said.

The pilot was able to land the plane, and air traffic controllers used radar to determine the laser came from a residential area in suburban Warrensville Heights.

Hawk said the laser had to have been fairly sophisticated to track a plane traveling at that altitude. Authorities had no other leads.

There have been several reports of lasers directed at commercial flights in the past year, the FBI said. The beams can distract or temporarily blind a pilot.

The Federal Aviation Administration (news - web sites) mandates that laser light shows must register their locations and the lights cannot be directed above 3,000 feet. Lasers are also often used by construction companies to line up foundations.

Interfering with a commercial flight is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison."
 
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