Laser Pointers: The New Terrorist Weapon?

Laser attacks on inbound New York airport flights are up 17%.

After two incidents last week at LaGuardia Airport, the FBI announced it would be assigning its Joint Terrorism Task Force to investigate laser attacks on plane cockpits. Two separate planes were approaching the airport at different times as the light from a laser pointer flooded the cockpit, disrupting the pilots' visibility. Fortunately, no one was hurt in either incident.

However, the FBI is making it clear that laser pointers pose a threat. When pointed into the cockpit, the light can blur or blind pilots, who could ultimately lose control of the plane. In a statement released on Friday, George Venizelos, head of FBI's New York office, said, "The FBI is asking anyone with information about any of these dangerous laser incidents to pick up the phone and call us. Our paramount concern is the safety of aircraft passengers and crew."

The statement, along with a report that the number of laser attacks on inbound New York airport flights is up 17%, is cause for concern. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has created a website so people may report incidents or get an education about the hazards of laser pointers.

[Image: Flickr user nayukim]

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4 Comments

  • John

    What exactly is meant by "up 17%"? An increase from 6 incidents to 7 is "up 17%", but is not at all alarming vs. an increase from 600 to 700, which might be more alarming. In either case, any reporting on percentage increases should also report the base numbers, otherwise its just alarmism.

  • JP

    How difficult would it be to incorporate laser filters for the most common frequencies? I do not think there are that many frequencies for commerical lasers. This is a non issue.

  • LanetK

    Ask the FBI & their mercenaries how they track, torture and assassinate their "persons of interest" (victims). Ask them! Then, read the Internet for 1000s of witnesses of electronic torture. -- Laser pointers will be the LEAST of your worries.