The pilot recovered his vision, but had he not, the results could
have been disastrous. While airborne, though, the pilot had been able to
determine the house where the laser beam originated, and, after
landing, went to the residence. Fluke, who was at the house and matched
the description of the man captured on the helicopter’s video
surveillance recordings, was arrested.
When confronted by law
enforcement, Fluke apologized. “He said he didn’t know it was so
bright,” said FBI Special Agent Katie Hill, who worked the case out of
the FBI’s Tampa Field Office.
In November 2018, Fluke pleaded
guilty to aiming a laser at a police helicopter; he was sentenced in
March 2019 to 21 months in federal prison.
While pointing a laser
at a helicopter or plane may seem harmless, the opposite is true. It’s
dangerous—both to those in the air and on the ground—and it’s a federal crime.