Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:January 20th, 2011 14:14 EST
laser pointer

Lasers A Danger To Pilots! Aiming A Laser Pointer At A Plane Is A Crime!

By Robert Paul Reyes

"There were 98 incidents at O`Hare International airport in 2010 in which laser pointers put the safety of aircraft at risk.

laser pointer

Federal Aviation Authority Administrators say many of the incidents involved planes and helicopters that were taking off or landing at the airport. Those are critical times in which pilots need to be the most focused. Pointing lasers at cockpits can temporarily blind pilots or damage their vision. In some cases, pilot reported having to hand over control of the aircraft to their co-pilot.",0,4652264.story

We think of laser pointers as as toys for kids who enjoy watching cats go nuts chasing the green laser point. But laser pointers aren`t just used by mischievous small kids, they are also employed by malicious teens and adults to harass pilots.

The number of incidents nationally where clueless people point lasers at airplanes almost doubled from last year, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. This is a growing menace that we can`t afford to ignore.

Some dingbats may not realize that a laser can reach an airplane or helicopter in the sky, but indeed it can. Don`t point lasers at planes!

Pilots can be temporarily blinded by the lasers, and it`s only a matter of time before there`s a tragedy if we don`t address the problem. It`s a federal violation to point a laser at an aircraft, but the offense isn`t illegal in every state. We must toughen the penalties for pointing a laser at an airplane, and we must follow-up and prosecute those guilty of the crime.

There is no evidence that terrorists have attempted to bring down a commercial plane using a laser point, but we must treat laser pointers as potential weapons, and not toys.

Follow Robert Paul Reyes on Twitter: