COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (WRIC) — Investigators are looking for the person who shined a laser at a commercial airplane as well as a police plane Thursday night in Colonial Heights.
It may not sound like a big deal but, 8News found out it is actually very dangerous.
“It’s very, very noticeable, very bright,” said Allen Hall, a local Police Pilot.
That’s the description from a trained pilot who has been in the cockpit when someone on the ground pointed a laser at a plane.
“It reflects. It will expand and fill the whole cockpit with light. It’s amazingly distracting, you would look at the laser and not think it is as powerful as it is,” Hall said.
Hall shared police video with 8News what shows just how bright a laser coming from the ground can be to a plane.
Even though the plane is thousands of feet in the air, the laser looks like a spot light. Police can even zoom in on the exact spot the laser is coming from.
With the Colonial Heights incident, police were able to pinpoint the laser as coming from apartments at the intersection of Fairfax Avenue and Meridian Avenue but were unable to locate the person responsible.
“It can blind. It’s sort of like a flash on a camera … you know the flash goes off and you get that momentary flash of blindness,” Hall said. “So, obviously when you are flying an airplane, that’s not a good thing to have.”
Pointing a laser at any airplane is illegal and can cost you time in jail and a hefty fine by the FAA.
“You’re trying to land, you’re trying to see instrumentation inside the plane, it’s dark outside, you have instrumentation you’re trying to see inside the aircraft and having a very bright light that’s not involved with what is going on inside the aircraft is a huge problem,” Hall said.
If you know anything about the Colonial Heights incident the Colonial Heights Police would like to hear from you at (804) 520-9311.