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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 12:08 p.m., Thursday, December 30, 2004

Bright light near airport bothers pilot

By Mike Gordon
Advertiser Staff Writer

Somewhere on O'ahu today, a homeowner is rethinking the number of outdoor lights he turns on at night after the Federal Aviation Administration and Honolulu police told him they bothered a commercial airliner pilot making his approach to Honolulu International Airport.

Authorities couldn't say today, though, if the lights were part of a Christmas display.

The problem began just after midnight Monday when a pilot on a commercial flight from Los Angeles complained about "a very bright, bright light" near the airport, said Donn Walker, an FAA spokesman based in Los Angeles.

"I don't know if the bright light made it hard for him to see," Walker said today. "I don't know how well he was able to see because of the light. All I know is that it was bright enough for him to report it."

The flight landed safely, and Walker said he did not know if the pilot was ever in danger of losing control of the airplane.

But at the FAA's request, Honolulu police searched the area Monday night and found a likely source of the problem: a very blue and green floodlight from a home.

Authorities told the homeowner to unplug the light, Walker said.

Police then checked the area on two nights, including a noisy 11 p.m. helicopter search yesterday near Mariner's Ridge.

"We found nothing," police spokesman Brandon Stone said.

Reach Mike Gordon at mgordon@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8012.