Federal officials say there have been at least seven reports of lasers being pointed at aircraft in Massachusetts overnight and early Wednesday morning.
The FAA says it received reports from United 389, UPS 1012, United 670, Spirit Airlines 103, Spirit Airlines 640 and two Medflight helicopter flights about lasers near Boston Logan Airport.
Earlier, police in Cambridge, Massachusetts, confirmed they were investigating three reports of lasers being pointed at aircraft overnight and early Wednesday morning.
The first reported incident happened before 2 a.m. near MIT, while the second incident happened around 5:15 a.m. at First and Binney streets, while the third happened at 5:47 a.m. near Lambert Street.
Cambridge police say officers found nothing when they checked the area, adding they're not sure what the source is at this stage in their investigation.
“In the last 200 feet or so of the flight, you have to be looking out the window at the runway,” said flight instructor and former Delta pilot Philip Greenspun, who tells necn a laser can be disorienting for a pilot if they’re hit in the eye. “You’d call it temporary blindness but mostly it would just be like losing your night vision.”
Lasers can be especially problematic for a helicopter crew relying more on the view rather than instruments.
“Helicopters tend to be flown low and by reference to just looking out the window, they can be pretty dangerous at night,” said Greenspun.
The FAA says lasers can make it impossible to safely land a plane, and has made it a federal crime to shine a laser at an aircraft cockpit.
“Losing their night vision is going to put the passengers at risk,” said Greenspun.
Police in Cambridge checked out reports that the lasers may have originated near the campus of MIT, but they couldn’t find anyone responsible for the crime.
The FAA says Massachusetts state police have been notified and that they will also investigate.