High Intenisty Laser Beams Distracting Pilots
Over the past few weeks there have been several reports of high intensity lasers being pointed at pilots when they're trying to land at the Laredo internatonal airport. It's not only dangerous but it's also against the law.
You're involving the FAA and other agencies when you start affecting aircraft so yes it is something serious."
Marketing manager of the Laredo international airport Timothy Franciscus-Timm says they have had four incidents involving lasers being pointed in the cockpits of helicopters. Most recently was last week. The airport police claim they were able to catch the suspects and the case is being investigated.
"It wasn't miles and they were not on the perimeter of the airport, they were actually in a neighborhood setting within blocks of the airport."
The most serious case we were told about was involving a medi vac helicopter. The company did not want to be interviewed due to the ongoing investigation but they did say the pilot temporarily lost control of his aircraft due to the distraction from the laser.
"Any aircraft in the sky where the pilot could potentially have his vision obscured could have severe consequences."
But it's not only Laredo where these type of incidents are occurring. In fact there have been reports out of New Jersey, Arizona, Hawaii and even in Germany. We went to Jacaman guns and ammo to find a high intensity laser and found one for around $350 that can reach up to fifteen hundred feet.
According to the FAA there were only 300 cases like this in 2005 when they first started hearing about this kind of problem. In 2009 there were 1,527 and just last year there were 2,836.
"Obviously we hope that these culprits were in fact the individuals that were responsible for other incidents, we don't expect to have any future incidents."
Although pilots have been distracted by the laser beams, no one in Laredo has been injured due to these types of incidents.