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Fri, Feb 17, 2006

What Part Of 'Don't Aim At Planes' DON'T You Understand?

Pilots Report Lasers In Detroit

Lasers are in the news again -- alas, not because of some scientific development, but instead because at least 16 pilots landing their planes at Detroit Metro Airport in a single night report having been flashed by potentially blinding, focused beams of light.

It all happened Monday night, according to FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory. Pilots told the FAA the beams appeared to come from the area around the suburbs of Dearborn and Dearborn Heights, west of the Detroit metroplex.

It was the second rash of laser light-ups reported at Metro over the past six months. Since the end of 2004, the Associated Press counts 305 laser incidents nationwide.

"We treat it as a very serious matter," FBI Special Agent Dawn Clenney said. "Laser beams can disorient pilots responsible for an airplane full of passengers."

Under the Patriot Act, laser spotlighting of aircraft is considered a terrorist act, punishable by up to 20-years in prison. Authorities haven't yet found who shone the laser beams at the planes.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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