Eleven commercial flights near NY City were hit by lasers Wednesday night, FAA reveals

eleven commercial flights near ny city hit by lasers in just 60 mins faa reveals aircraft
As aviation authorities around the world try to work out how best to deal with nitwits flying quadcopters close to airports, another piece of kit continues to cause serious concern when it comes to airline safety – the laser pointer.

Although it’s hard to comprehend, a few people out there seem to think it’s a good idea to shine lasers into the cockpits of planes coming in to land. Apparently they don’t seem to realize that their actions could, in a worst case scenario, cause a pilot to lose control of the aircraft.

The issue is back in the headlines this week after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that on Wednesday night alone, in the space of just a few hours, 11 commercial flights were targeted by lasers as they flew at low altitude into either Newark airport in New Jersey or LaGuardia in nearby New York City. Affected carriers included American Airlines, JetBlue, Delta, United, and Republic, CNN confirmed Thursday.

There are no reports of any injuries among those piloting the targeted aircraft, and no arrests have yet been made. A possible five-year jail term awaits the offender or offenders. FAA data shows the problem of handheld lasers being pointed at planes is a growing one – 3,894 incidents were reported in the U.S. last year, a huge leap from the 283 recorded strikes in 2005.

On its website, the Transportation Security Administration says a beam from a laser pointer, even from a mile away, has the power to light up a cockpit “like a camera flash going off in a pitch black car at night.”

If that isn’t enough to momentarily distract and disorient a pilot who’s focusing on the not insignificant task of landing a plane, a direct hit on their eyes at a crucial moment could certainly cause real problems.

Last year the FAA said it’d documented 35 cases where pilots needed medical treatment after being targeted by a laser strike, though up to now there have been no reports of aircraft losses due to laser pointers.

Emerging Tech

Exploding vape pen battery starts fire on SkyWest flight

A vape pen battery caused a fire in an overhead bin on a SkyWest Airlines flight on Wednesday. It's the latest in a string of incidents where faulty or poorly made lithium-ion batteries have caused gadgets to catch fire.
Emerging Tech

Airbus will stop making the world’s biggest passenger plane

Airbus announced this week that it will stop building the world's biggest passenger plane in 2021. The maker of the double-decker A380 said a changing market and lack of orders gave it little choice but to end production.
Gaming

Take to the virtual skies with these free flight simulators

You don't have to spend the entirety of your paycheck to become a virtual ace, at least when it comes to flight simulation. Our list of the best free flight simulators will let you unleash your inner Maverick.
Emerging Tech

Forget police helicopters, California cops are using drones to spot suspects

Police drones deployed by California’s Chula Vista Police Department helped lead to the arrest of 20 suspects over a three-month study. It's a glimpse of the future of drones in law enforcement.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s ‘Refabricator’ lets astronauts recycle 3D-printed tools to make new ones

The International Space Station just received a fancy new gadget in the form of a Refabricator, a machine capable of 3D printing using recycled plastic materials. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Words are so 2018. The Peeqo robot speaks exclusively in GIFs and video clips

Move over, Amazon Echo! Peeqo is a cute robot that will answer your spoken word questions by displaying a specially selected short video or GIF. Because, you know, it’s the year 2019.
Product Review

Yuneec’s Mantis Q will make you wish you bought a DJI drone

Yuneec’s high-end drones are arguably the ones to beat in terms of flight control, design, and their photographic capabilities. But the company has struggled to make a low-end drone that’s worth buying, and the Mantis Q is proof of that…
Emerging Tech

Photosynthesizing artificial leaf may be the air-cleaning tool we’ve dreamed of

Engineers from the University of Illinois at Chicago have invented an artificial leaf which could both clean up our air and provide a cost-effective type of fuel. Here's how it works.
Mobile

These 13 gadgets walk a fine line between ingenious and insane

The annual avalanche of devices and gadgets is astounding, but how many will succeed? A few are destined to spark new trends, while the majority fade deservedly into obscurity. We look at some gadgets on the border of brilliant and bonkers.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-powered website creates freakishly lifelike faces of people who don’t exist

No, this isn't a picture of a missing person. It's a face generated by a new artificial intelligence on the website ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com. Here's how the impressive A.I. works.
Emerging Tech

China’s mind-controlled cyborg rats are proof we live in a cyberpunk dystopia

Neuroscience researchers from Zhejiang University, China, have created a method that allows humans to control the movements of rats using a technology called a brain-brain interface.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s MAVEN orbiter has a new job as a communication relay for Mars 2020

NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) orbiter has been collecting atmospheric readings but now is taking on a new job as a data relay satellite for the Mars 2020 mission that launches next year.
Emerging Tech

Underground volcanoes could explain possible liquid water on Mars

Last year scientists discovered there could be liquid water on Mars. Now a research team argues that for there to be liquid water, there must be an underground source of heat -- and they believe underground volcanoes could be responsible.
Emerging Tech

The 10 most expensive drones that you (a civilian) can buy

OK, these drones may be a bit beyond your budget: Check out the most expensive drones in the world, from industrial giants to highest-end filming tools.