Laser strike pointed at Delta Airlines flight near Charlotte airport, crew reports

Passengers had to use the emergency slides to leave a plane in Newark, NJ, after an emergency...
Passengers had to use the emergency slides to leave a plane in Newark, NJ, after an emergency landing.(Source: Gray News)
Updated: Mar. 18, 2019 at 9:12 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A second plane in less than a week reported a laser strike into the cockpit as it was approaching Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed Monday morning that Delta Airlines Flight 2409 reported a green laser illuminated the cockpit around 11:30 p.m. Sunday night.

The Boeing 717 flight had departed the Atlanta airport before heading to Charlotte.

“I think people have lost their minds. I cannot believe that someone believes that is a good idea,” said traveler Staci Chesney. “If you are going to try and distract the pilot, what are you going to do next? I don’t want to know the answer to that question.”

A military aircraft reported Friday night that a laser was pointed at the plane about 12 miles north of the airport after its finial training mission.

RELATED: Laser strike spotted on military aircraft approaching Charlotte Douglas airport

“For someone who thinks it is funny or a game, it is not. It is serious.,” said Major Joseph King, the Current Operations Chief of the 145th Wing. “Not only is it a safety issue, it is a crime.”

Major King is a pilot and has had lasers pointed at him while in the cockpit before.

“At a minimum, it can be a nuisance during a critical phase of flight," said Maj. King. "However, certain lasers have the potential to do physical eye damage.”

These laser strikes usually happen during the most critical time of the flight either while landing or taking off.

“The most important thing as the crew is bringing everyone’s eyes inside and focusing on the configuration of the airplane,”said Maj. King. “Making sure the airplane is in the right configuration and the right air speeds. We have to make sure we are on the correct approach for the correct runway.”

The source of the laser strikes remain unknown.

Travelers are concerned because of the safety issue.

“It is strange because I have not heard it before. It is concerning and not something you want to hear when you are traveling,” said Kirsten Screen, who travels often. “I have a lot of loved ones and people I care deeply about that get on these airplanes quite regularly. I fly with my children out of this airport quite regularly.”

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