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Tag: laser

Incidents of Lasers Being Pointed at Planes Spike; FBI Offering Reward to Catch Culprits

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Apparently people pointing lasers is becoming a growing problem.

In response, the FBI on Tuesday announced a pilot program in 12 field offices that will offer up to a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of people who aim handheld lasers at aircrafts. The program will run for 60 days.

The FBI, in a press release, said that the number of incidence has risen more than 1,100 percent since the FBI and Federal Aviation Administration began tracking laser strikes in 2005.  In 2013, authorities recorded 3,960 laser strikes — an average of almost 11 incidents per day.

The FBI said it will also be working with state and local law enforcement to educate teens about the dangers associated with pointing lasers at aircraft.

“Aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft is a serious matter and a violation of federal law,” Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, said in a statement. “It is important that people understand that this is a criminal act with potentially deadly repercussions.”

“Shining a laser into the cockpit of an aircraft can temporarily blind a pilot, jeopardizing the safety of everyone on board,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a statement. “We applaud our colleagues at the Justice Department for aggressively prosecuting aircraft laser incidents, and we will continue to use civil penalties to further deter this dangerous activity.”

 

Calif. Man Faces Fed Prison Time For Pointing Laser at Commercial Jet Pilots Landing at Airport

JetBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A California man could get serious prison time after becoming the first person in the nation to be convicted at trial of pointing a laser at commercial planes as they were about to land.

Dana Christian Welch, 37, of Orange County, was convicted last week by a federal jury in Los Angeles of shooting a green laser at two commercial planes at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, Calif. in May 2008, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

He was convicted on two counts, each which carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Sentencing is set for Sept. 15.

Evidence during trial showed that Welch pointed a hand held laser at two Boeing 7-series jets,

In another instance, he pointed the laser at pilots of an Alaska Airline flight, “causing one pilot to duck under a glare shield…and the other pilot to delay a critical turn necessary to land the plane,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Several people have pleaded guilty to similar offenses, but Welch was the first to be convicted in a trial.

“This conviction should make clear to those contemplating the targeting of cockpits with lasers that such behavior is not only dangerous, but criminal, with serious consequences attached,” Salvador Hernandez, assistant director in charge of the Los Angeles FBI said in a prepared statement.

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