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Lasers pointed at helicopters in Denver put pilots at risk twice in last 2 weeks

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DENVER -- For the second time in less than two weeks someone has pointed a laser into the cockpit of a helicopter above Denver, threatening the safety of the pilot.

This latest incident targeted a Flight For Life helicopter at about 8:30 p.m. Monday.

According to Air Methods, the Flight for Life pilot made a precautionary landing in response to the laser. The pilot is safe and no patients or medical crew members were on board. The incident is now under investigation.

The FBI is also still investigating a similar laser incident a couple of weeks ago, after reports of a laser shining into a Denver Police helicopter.

The two recent incidents are concerning to other local pilots like Matt Fess, who flies SkyFOX.

“It is a hazard and it could become very dangerous,” Fess said.

Videos from the FAA show the startling, blinding effect that laser pointers can have when the light hits the windscreen of a plane or helicopter.

Though most cases are thought to be pranks, and seldom result in lasting injuries. Fess says even just a single flash of light like this at the wrong time, like landing, could be devastating.

“This job, inherently is very demanding on us as pilots, so just adding in one more variable could potentially create a situation that could be hazardous,” Fess said.

According to the FAA, pointing a laser pointer at an aircraft is a felony and could result in a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.​

 

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