NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Federal Aviation Administration sent a letter to laser manufacturers and distributors, asking for new warnings to be placed on laser pointers after hundreds of planes in Middle Tennessee were hit by shining lights.

“Most of these occur at night, and when you’re flying at night, your pupils are much bigger than they are during the day and so they can let even more of that dangerous light into your eyes,” explained Sam Evans, an instructor with Class Bravo Air. “That can endanger you as the pilot flying the airplane, and it can also endanger anyone flying around you, as well as any passengers.”

Instructor Evans explained it happens more often than the average person would think. In 2021, aviation authorities reported a green laser was pointed into the cockpit of an American Airlines flight coming into the Nashville International Airport, from Charlotte, North Carolina. The plane was about 10 miles from landing at the time, flying over Mt. Juliet when the beam of light hit.

A small amount of light can easily distract or even permanently damage someone’s eye.

“Any laser that could come through, could potentially reflect and refract off of the curvature, refract off these visors, and really cause some potential damage to you,” Evans showed News 2.

According to the FAA, there were over 400 laser incidents in Tennessee, last year, with more than 60 incidents in Nashville.

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On Thursday, Feb. 9, the Acting Administrator of the FAA, wrote a letter to laser distributors and manufacturers, asking them to add or enhance warning labels on their packaging, in order to make people aware of the federal laws when it comes to using them.

“Safety in the skies is what we teach, it’s paramount,” said Evans. “There are other things like lasers that we can’t, those are out of our control.”