It was the end of a long travel day. As we approached Ontario International Airport in California I was mostly thinking about getting to the hotel as quickly as possible and crawling into bed, not the risk of a laser aimed at the aircraft.
Staring out the window as we paralleled the highway on approach, I was doing my best to sort out what was below. Low cloud cover obscured the view until we got below about 3000 feet, at which point the small neighborhoods nestled among the hills became apparent. The dark of nature offset by the lights of houses.
One home, in particular, appeared to have a Christmas light show gone haywire. A green light flickered, far brighter than anything else in the area. And then I realized it was not Christmas lights, but an asshat shining a green laser at our plane.
The laser went away, but quickly returned. And the second time I grabbed a photo. My camera was set for slow exposures, so that’s what I got. But the laser is unmistakable.
Fortunately, the only impact the laser had was on passengers. I asked the pilots after we landed and they said they hadn’t noticed. Which is a huge relief.
Having now seen the impact just as a passenger I cannot imagine how much worse it would be on the flight deck, so focused on the final few minutes of flying. But I’m certain it would be bad.
And there’s not much I can do as a passenger to help track down the offending party, though I did my best to identify the general area they were in at the time. And, yes, I did file a report with the FAA.
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