A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use
1: Police helicopter is targeted by laser pointer on the ground. 2: Helicopter crew use Laser Event Recorder to locate pointer via GPS, and record its wavelength. 3: GPS details enable helicopter’s thermal (infrared) camera to find suspect, and send police patrol on the ground to arrest the person.
In addition, the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority is planning new laws prohibiting shining a laser at an aircraft. Currently, prosecutors have to prove that the laser user “recklessly or negligently endangered an aircraft”.”
BBC quotes Bob Jones, head of flight operations at the CAA: “"To those individuals targeting aircraft with laser devices the message is clear -- don't. You will be caught and you will be prosecuted and you could spend up to five years in prison. These things are not toys, they pose a serious risk to all flight safety."
Many more details, including photos and a video of a helicopter finding a laser perpetrator, are at the BBC News website.
On Friday, Feb. 20, 2009 alone there were reports of incidents in Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah; Lake Charles, Louisiana; Orlando, Florida; and Burbank and San Jose, California. On Sunday, Feb. 22, 12 different jetliners landing in Seattle were illuminated by an unknown person with a laser pointer.
Information from a CNN story on the Feb. 22 Seattle attacks; see paragraphs 6 and 7. There is also a video version of this story at CNN’s website.
Also, there is a related print story from the CBC website. It does not have the same voiceover as the video report, but does go over similar points, including this one:
"We don't want this to become a bigger hobby — a bigger, stupid hobby," said Serge Beaulieu, spokesman for the Air Canada Pilots Association.