Wed, May 23, 2007
$12 Item Can Impair Pilot Vision
It doesn't matter if you are a terrorist or a prankster -- if
you shine laser pointers at airplanes, you could now face up to
five years in prison.
Under legislation approved Tuesday by the House of
Representatives, the use of cheap, handheld laser pens "presents an
imminent threat to aviation security and passenger safety," said
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) before the
voice vote to approve the measure, according to the Associated
Since 1990 the Federal Aviation Administration has reported more
than 500 incidents of pilots being blinded or disoriented by laser
beams according to Florida congressman Ric Keller, sponsor of the
Keller showed a laser pointer to House members and said what
could be purchased for $12 at any office supply store, had the
power to cause vision disturbances for pilots from two miles
The National Transportation Safety Board has documented two
cases where pilots sustained actual injury to their eyes and were
incapacitated during critical phases of a flight.
As ANN reported, last year
New Jersey resident David Banach was sentenced under a provision of
the USA Patriot Act to two years of probation for shining a laser
pointer at an aircraft on final approach to Teterboro.
The plane, carrying six passengers, was at 3,000 feet when the
beam hit the cockpit window -- causing both pilots to briefly lose
night vision. They managed to land safely.
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