A pilot flying a Delta Air Lines jet was injured by a laser that illuminated the cockpit of the aircraft. The incident as the airliner approached Salt Lake City International Airport last week. According to the Washington Times the plane's pilots reported that they saw a laser beam inside the cockpit.
The Transportation Security Administration is investigating, trying to determine the cause of the incident.
This not the first time an airliner pilot has been exposed to a laser while flying:
John Mazor, a spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association, said commercial pilots have been exposed to laser illumination.
"The Air Line Pilots Association has received reports in the past of incidents where lasers penetrated cockpits and, in at least one case, caused injury," Mr. Mazor said.
Several years ago, a pilot flying into a Western airport was hit by a light from a laser light show. The causes of the other incidents are not known, he said.
Military pilots have also been subjected to laser light:
In one case, Naval Lt. Cmdr. Jack Daly and Canadian helicopter pilot Capt. Pat Barnes suffered eye injuries hours after an aerial surveillance mission to photograph a Russian merchant ship that had been shadowing the ballistic- submarine USS Ohio in Washington state's Strait of Juan de Fuca.
During congressional testimony in 1999, Cmdr. Daly warned of laser threats to pilots:
"Numerous documented cases regarding the use of lasers against aircraft, civilians and military personnel exist, as well as does an all-too-lengthy list of the injuries that have resulted from the accidental and intentional misuse of these devices," Cmdr. Daly told a House Armed Services subcommittee.
He noted that incidents of lasers being directed at commercial airliners during takeoff and landings have raised fears that "this in fact may be a new form of terrorism."