Wed, Sep 08, 2010
Seventeen Occurrences Reported To The FAA Through August
The area around Pittsburgh seems to have become a hotbed for
targeting aircraft with lasers, and authorities say the people
doing it may not be aware of how dangerous it is to the occupants
of the aircraft or people on the ground.
The FAA has received 17 reports of lasers targeting airplanes
and helicopters in the first eight months of 2010, which is more
than the past 5 years combined. And while no major accidents in the
U.S. have been attributed to a laser being shone into a cockpit,
"it's a treat to aviation safety," said FAA spokesman Jim
The Associated Press reports that green lasers were shone into
the cockpits of two medical helicopters in the Pittsburgh area in
the last weekend of August. One was flying a 5 year old boy who had
been injured in a bicycle accident to a nearby hospital. The other
was transporting a 65 year old man who had suffered a head injury.
No one was injured in either incident.
Federal authorities say the sharp increase in laser incidents
may be due to the steep drop in the cost of the devices. They are
also easy to order online, and instructions on building the devices
are easily available on the Internet as well.
Red Laser As Seen At Night
Shining a laser into an aircraft cockpit is a federal crime, and
carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
If a laser is used to interfere with a flight crew, the person
doing so could also be prosecuted under The Patriot Act.
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