Blinding Laser Attacks on Airplane Pilots Surge




High-powered LED torches have many uses, however they are not good in every situation.





1. Flash blindness

 High-powered LED torches, (also known as lasers) can cause a great deal of stress to a pilot, especially when in the critical stages of a landing. In the year of 2011 this is exactly what happened when two locals in Chicago decided to shine a laser at both an approaching commercial plane and a police helicopter.

Both individuals were found in a nearby vehicle in the possession of a high-powered LED device. The pair were later charged with two counts of firing a laser pointer at a police officer and four counts of discharging a laser at an aircraft.


2. Blinding laser attacks on airline pilots surge

The last few months have showcased a huge rise in blinding attacks on aircrafts. According to government figures, both aeroplane and helicopter pilots in Germany are at the greatest risk.

A total of 220 laser attacks have been reported against both planes and helicopters. The high-powered LED lasers not only put the pilots at risk, but also everyone on board.

Aviation experts have asked that such devices be treated as weapons in order to prevent future threat.


3. 2,836 reported instances

 The FAA has recently announced an astounding figure in regards to near aeroplane disasters caused by high-powered LED torches. This figure is in fact double of the one caused last year.

The recorded incidents generally tend to occur at night and as such, cause a great distraction to the pilot. One particular incident in fact temporarily blinded the pilots. A strong laser beam is akin to a definite camera flash and because of this, causes great disturbances in the likes of critical landings and take-offs.


4. Testing the range

 On the 20th March 2010, a 26-year man noticed an incoming helicopter. After much deliberation he decided to try out a newly purchased laser. His reason being, he wished to test the range of the LED in question. His laser hit the pilot directly; the pilot wasn’t however any ordinary pilot and was that of a police helicopter. Within minutes the police were on the scene with a warrant for the individual’s arrest.


5. Final approach

 February 20th 2011 brought with it the approach of a Southwest Airlines flight carrying more than 130 passengers. As it began its descent into Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, a high-powered LED hit it.

A certain individual from the ground directly pointed a laser into the cockpit of the plane, which was at around 2,000 feet.

Both the pilot and co-pilot managed to land the plane safely, despite this; they both also suffered eye injuries.

The individual responsible for the attack has not yet been found; the FBI is however offering an attractive reward for any information on the matter.


6. Aeroflot Jet nearly crashes after sudden laser attack

A 15-year-old boy directly pointed a laser at an aircraft carrying 128 people, which caused the craft to almost crash in Barnaul whilst landing. The laser was directly pointed at the cockpit, which in fact caused the pilot to become majorly distracted. This particular incident took place in September of 2011.


7. Laser attacks continue despite greater penalties

 Despite the increased penalties, laser attacks on aircrafts are in fact growing at an alarming rate. Only recently an 18-year-old man was arrested for aiming a laser at the cabins of three commercial aircrafts, as well as a police helicopter in Auckland earlier this year.

Pravikash Chandra was summoned to Manukau District Court and was then later charged with four counts in September.




8. Laser louts target Glasgow Airport

 High-powered light sources have been shone at several planes heading in and out of Glasgow Airport over the past couple of weeks.

Police are said to be currently hunting the so called yobs in order to prevent any further incidents.

The latest incident occurred at 10.30pm on a Saturday evening, when a green light was shone into the cockpit of a Jet2 flight.


9. Laser pen shone into the eyes of a helicopter pilot

 A laser pen was shone into the eyes of a helicopter pilot whilst in mid rescue. The pilot in question was in the midst of rescuing a drowning woman.

The crew of the Royal Navy Sea King were attacked suddenly and unexpectedly, which almost caused them to lose control of the air craft.

The lives of both the crew and the women were put at risk at a crucial time. The police are currently looking for the individual responsible.


10. Laser pen attacks RAF

An individual was recently jailed for four months because of shining a laser pen into the cockpit of an RAF Tornado. The man responsible for such an incident was the fruit picker ‘Radu Moldovan’. His brainless stunt left the pilots without a clear view, which made it almost impossible for them to see the route ahead.

The laser attack occurred whilst the air craft was flying at high speed and filled the cockpit with a vivid green light.

When the crew tried to approach the RAF Leuchars in Fife, the individual once again shone the light at the pilots.

Radu Moldovan has claimed he didn’t know such an activity would cause so much danger and as such, is extremely sorry for his actions.

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