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.
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.