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Where high-powered laser pens are shone at cockpits

Dec 28th 2015 at 1:02 AM

Where high-powered laser pens are shone at cockpits

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laser lights have been used to target more than 1,600 British civilian aircraft over the past 12 months, Civil Aviation Authority figures show.
Pilots most at risk are those flying to London Heathrow, which experienced 34 attacks in the first quarter of this year, and airports in Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow.

Yet only a handful of culprits have been charged since pointing a laser pen became a criminal offence in 2010, causing experts to call for harsher penalties and a ban.

"In 1997 the Home Office considered and rejected a proposal that laser pointers should be treated as firearms or offensive weapons.

He said pilots are often targeted as they make their landing approach to airports, or while they are in a holding pattern.

In November one BA co-pilot suffered permanent retinal damage after being blasted by a green laser over Sheffield.

There were 1,393 reported laser attacks on aircraft – where high-powered laser pens are shone at cockpits – in Britain in 2013, about four a day.

There have also been 237 similar attacks on trains in the past three years, while cars are also being targeted from motorway bridges. However, police complain they have too few powers to investigate and want Britain to learn from the US before there is a major incident. They fear the next Star Wars film will trigger demand for a new generation of super-lasers that are already being marketed in the US as “light sabres”.

Priced at up to £400, the lasers’ green rays can be seen from space. When aimed at aircraft, the light refracts through the cockpit windscreen and can cause pilots to suffer “green-outs” and temporary blindness.

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