FAA investigators said Wednesday that the pilot flying Asiana Airlines flight 214 told them that he was blinded by a bright light when 500 feet above the ground. It was at that altitude that the pilots began attempting to make control adjustments in order to increase the plane's speed and avoid a crash. The blinding of the chief pilot, who was at the controls, might have caused him to lose the crucial few seconds needed to set up the plane to do a go-around and make another approach.
Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said it wasn't clear what could have caused the problem. Asked specifically whether it could have been a laser pointed from the ground, Hersman said she couldn't say what caused it. "We need to understand exactly what that is," Hersman said.
The blinding of pilots by the use of laser pointers has been a serious problem for the air travel industry. In July of 2012, a Jet Blue plane nearly crashed when the pilot was blinded by a laser pointer. in 2011, there were 141 incidents of pilots being disturbed by laser pointers as they were landing their planes in the New York area alone.
Could this incident have involved a UFO? In this case it seems more likely that it was a laser being pointed at the cockpit by a vandal, but there have been numerous incidents, especially in recent years, of pilots reporting strange objects passing close by their planes or even striking them, and near-miss reports are filed 10 to 12 times a year.
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