FAA Probing Reports of Drones, Green Lasers Over New York

A plane today had to climb 200 feet to avoid an unmanned aircraft.

ByABC News
May 29, 2015, 6:09 PM

— -- The skies have been less than friendly to several commercial flights traveling over New York recently.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that it was investigating a report of an unmanned aircraft being operated illegally near LaGuardia Airport around 11 a.m. today as a plane prepared to land. The crew of Shuttle America Flight 2708 said it had to climb 200 feet to "avoid" the aircraft as the plane traveled over Brooklyn at an altitude of 2,700 feet, officials said.

In addition, pilots on four commercial flights reported being targeted by green lasers during flights over New York on Thursday night, the FAA said.

According to the FAA, the flights -- American 185, Shuttle America 4213, Delta 2292 and Delta 2634 -- were flying at an altitude of 8,000 feet about 4 miles northwest of Farmingdale on Long Island when the pilots reported that lasers were illuminating their aircraft, a federal crime.

"In addition, Sun Country Airlines Flight 249 reported a green laser illuminated the aircraft when it was 14 miles southwest of John F. Kennedy International Airport at around 11:30 p.m. There were no injuries reported. The FAA notified the New Jersey State Police last night," the FAA said in a statement.

The planes were flying out of John F. Kennedy international Airport.

No injuries were reported, and the flights all continued without further incident.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement today, "Green laser pointers have been a repeated danger to pilots across the metropolitan area and country. Their use is on the rise and we must do something soon -- not after a plane crashes. The [Food and Drug Administration] should use its authority to do what I asked months ago: ban green, long-range, high-powered laser pointers once and for all. They're quickly becoming the weapon of choice for those who want to harass our pilots and should be abolished."

Authorities said they are investigating, but at this point no one has been taken into custody.

Pointing a laser into the cockpit of a plane carries a maximum of five years in federal prison and a quarter of a million dollars fine.