Pilots reported six different laser incidents on approach to Dallas Love Field the past two evenings.
On Thursday, a Southwest Airlines flight reported a laser strike a few miles from Love Field around 7 p.m. followed by two private planes reporting strikes in the same area. This came one day after a Southwest aircraft, a Virgin America flight and a private plane reported laser incidents on Wednesday evening.
The Dallas/Fort Worth area has experienced 115 laser incidents so far this year, close to a record, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford. According to the FAA database, Love Field had 17 laser strikes and Dallas/Fort Worth Airport had 31 laser strikes in 2014.
“I think the numbers were down somewhat last year, but this area has gotten in the ballpark of 100 yearly strikes since we started tracking this issue five years ago,” Lunsford said. “We see two or three laser strikes a week in this area.”
The FAA said nearly two dozen aircraft were hit by lasers shining into a pilot’s cockpit on Wednesday evening across the country. As of Oct. 16, the total number of laser strikes in the U.S. is 5,352.
“Shining a laser at an aircraft is a federal crime. It can harm the pilot and passengers. If you see someone pointing a laser at an aircraft, call 911,” the FAA said in this Facebook post.
The FAA can impose a civil penalty of $11,000 per violation on individuals who point lasers at cockpits which can interfere with the flight crew. In March, a Portland man was sentenced to six months in federal prison for aiming a laser pointer at commercial jets as they approached Portland International Airport.