Thursday , 17 October 2019
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Pilots being targetted by green laser pointers

With the advent of the new 20mW 532nM green laser pointers, a dangerous trend is emerging in the skies.

According the Civil Aviation Authority, at least five attempts have been made to dazzle pilots with laser pointers in the skies over Northern Ireland in the last six months. Unfortunately, this trend is not limited over the skies of Northern Ireland alone.

In a most serious incident, on 4 August, the captain of a Boeing 737 was hit in the eye with a laser as he made his approach to Belfast City Airport. I cannot think of a more delicate posture of the aircraft in its entire flight, a time when the complete concentration and vision of the pilots are needed.

On Halloween night, numerous planes, on approach to the same Belfast city airport, were targeted by green lasers.

The new green laser pointer at 20mW is significantly more powerful than it red laser pointer predecessor. Any person who has the laser beam shone directly towards the eye risks permanent blindness, with assured temporary blindness.

Caroline Evans from the British Airline Pilots Association reflects my view. “”Anyone who is stupid enough [or malicious enough] to do this [shine a laser light in to a pilots eye], should be put behind bars and taught a lesson.”

Shining a laser pointer at an aircraft is an offence, endangering the safety of an aircraft, and comes under the Air Navigation Order and carries a custodial sentence. There have been prosecutions in the UK for this offence.

I can only hope that stupid pranksters read this article and realise the deadly game they are playing with innocent passenger and crew lives.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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