8 Flights Report Being Hit By Green Lasers At Cheyenne Airport; FAA Investigation Open

A push is on to find and prosecute whoever is blinding pilots with green lasers as they prepare to land at the airport in Cheyenne. Pointing a laser at an aircraft is a federal crime and it's happened at least eight times so far this year.

Ellen Fike

March 14, 20242 min read

Snow falls from an overcast sky at Cheyenne Regional Airport on Thursday.
Snow falls from an overcast sky at Cheyenne Regional Airport on Thursday. (Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily)

After a string of incidents involving green lasers being pointed at pilots as they approach to land, Cheyenne Regional Airport administrators are issuing a warning to stop or face steep fines. 

Airport Director of Aviation Tim Bradshaw told Cowboy State Daily that while green lasers have been an issue with air travel for years, he has never seen as many incidents in such a short amount of time as he has this year. 

“I think we’re on our eighth one so far this year,” Bradshaw said. “I’ve never seen anything like this. We are actively looking into who is responsible for this.” 

When a person on the ground flashes a laser or laser pointer into the sky and hits the cockpit glass of an aircraft, it causes the room to be flooded with light, temporarily blinding the pilots. 

This can lead to catastrophic results, Bradshaw said. 

“As you’re descending in altitude, you fly into the airport on your final approach and that is a critical point in the flight segment,” he said. “Blinding a pilot with a laser could cause a crash, which not only puts the passengers and flight crew in danger, but we’re in a city with houses and businesses around us. Think of what could happen.” 

Pointing a laser at an aircraft is a federal crime, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). If found guilty, a person can face up to $11,000 per violation or even $30,000 for multiple laser incidents. 

“I don’t know if it’s a prank, but whoever is behind these incidents does not realize the magnitude of the situation,” Bradshaw said. “We’re working with the Laramie County Sheriff’s Department and are narrowing down where in the city these lasers are coming from.” 

The FAA received more than 13,300 laser incident reports in 2023, most involving green lasers, although a few were reported to be red, blue or purple. 

Bradshaw added that anyone who is a witness to someone pointing a laser at an aircraft should report the incident to law enforcement as soon as possible. 

The FAA did not return Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment by publication time. 

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Ellen Fike