Pilot temporarily blinded by laser pointer

By: Cole Miller
cmiller@klkntv.com

Jesse Angell is no stranger to airplanes. He's been flying since he was just 16-years-old. Last week, he was cruising above Northeast Lincoln, watching fireworks when his vision was obstructed.

“When I was flying along, suddenly the whole cockpit kid of got flooded with a green light and was pretty blinding,” said Angell. He says he had to close his eyes it was so bright and it happened more than once.

“Every time I was over that part of the city, they would proceed to blast me with the laser,” he said. Thankfully, he wasn't hurt.

WIth the help of social media, we were able to track down one of these lasers and it's not like what you'd find in a lecture hall. It isn't the more powerful green laser, but it's still pretty strong. We were able to point it to the top of our tower cam, which is around 300 feet, and it easily reaches. Angell says he was flying at around 2,00 feet when his cockpit was hit.

“By that time it hits your airplane, it's pretty wide and can be disorienting and hard on your vision,” said Angell.

Just recently in Omaha, a man was taken into question by police, suspected of shining a laser at planes coming in and out of Eppley. Angell says it may seem like fun at the time, but it's no laughing matter.

“Well, it's pretty frustrating that they want to put people's lives at risk when they're doing that, especially over a city. To do it repeatedly, it was obviously an intentional act. So, hopefully they realize that it is pretty serious and don't do it again,” he said.

Angell says he reported his experience to Lincoln Police but hasn't heard anything back. If caught, the Federal Aviation Administration could fine you up to $11,000.