Sun, May 09, 2010
Admitted To Blinding A Military Helicopter Crew With A
58-year-old Charles Clausen has pleaded guilty in federal court
to shining a spotlight into the cockpit of a Louisiana Army
National Guard helicopter last year, blinding the pilot for several
seconds, according to New Orleans U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.
Clausen, a retired Marine, lives in a trailer near Hammond
Northshore Regional Airpark (KHDC). He admitted in a federal
affidavit that the October 6th incident was an attempt to keep the
LANG's UH-60 Black Hawks from flying over his home.
According to NOLA.com, the helicopter was returning from a
training mission and was on approach for landing on night vision
goggles when Clausen shone a 3-million candlepower spotlight into
the cockpit, temporarily blinding the crew. Federal Air Marshal
Jeffery Woman said in an affidavit that the helo was at about 1,000
feet when the incident occurred. The crew circled around and saw
Clausen standing next to his trailer, who then turned the spotlight
on a second time.
"We will not tolerate abuses of the military, nor will we
tolerate interference with the safety and efficiency of
transportation in this country," said Letten, a retired Naval
The training mission involved five additional Black Hawks and a
C-12 transport plane assigned to the 1/224th Air Assault Helicopter
Battalion, based at KHDC. The unit returned last year from its
second tour of duty in Iraq.
Clausen is scheduled to be sentenced on June 8th.
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