Friday, February 13, 2015

Law Enforcement Warns Against Aiming a Laser at an Aircraft

AMARILLO -- Local law enforcement is reminding and warning everyone about the dangers and punishment for shooting a laser into the cockpit of a plane or helicopter.

In June of 2014, the local DPS helicopter was illuminated by a laser. Both men were found guilty and sentenced for the crime.   

On June 3, 2014, an FBI press release announced a “national campaign to deter people from pointing lasers at aircraft, a federal violation that presents danger to pilots, passengers, and those on the ground.”  The release further mentioned that the FBI is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest of any individual who aims a laser at aircraft. Since the FBI and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began tracking laser strikes in 2005, data shows a more than 1,100 percent increase in the deliberate targeting of aircraft by people with handheld lasers.” A violation of the federal law can result in a maximum of five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.
   
The statistic quoted shows that this type of incident is increasing. According to information provided by the DPS, this type of activity can be particularly dangerous when the aircraft is a single pilot vehicle such as an EMS or other helicopter which may be operating close to the ground or at night.  A small hand-held laser can dangerously impair the pilot’s ability to see unlit obstacles that could then be hit by a part of the aircraft.  The result could be a deadly accident.   

If you have information about a lasing incident, call the local FBI field office or the Amarillo Crime Stoppers, or the Amarillo Police Department.  If you see someone pointing a laser at an aircraft, call 911. 

Story and photo: http://www.myhighplains.com


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