Monday, 14 August 2017

Minsters Consider Laser Pen Licensing

Sales of laser pointers could be licensed in an attempt to protect pilots and train drivers from attacks that could cause fatal crashes.

The devices are more commonly used in meetings and conferences to highlight items in presentations. However, airline pilots are increasingly concerned that pointing laser pointers at planes could cause aircraft to crash.

There were 1,258 laser attacks on planes landing or taking off from UK airports last year, according to the Civil Aviation Authority.

Brian Strutton, general secretary of the British Airline Pilots Association, said: “Startling, dazzling and distracting a pilot at a critical stage of flight has the potential to cause a crash and loss of life. This is especially a problem for helicopters, which operate close to the ground and are sometimes single-pilot operations.”

The inexpensive pointers can also cause eye damage or temporary blindness. Stratton said he was concerned about the risk of permanent damage to pilots’ and passengers’ eyes as the power of lasers increased.

The first laser attack on an aircraft was reported in 2004, and since 2011 there have been an average of 1,500 annually in the UK. The number of attacks on aircraft using Heathrow airport rose by a quarter last year, to 151. Attacks at Glasgow almost doubled, to 83, and Birmingham airport reported 73. Seventy two attacks were reported at Manchester, 62 at London City, with 55 at Gatwick.

Full report in The Guardian 

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