Airports seeing dangerous increase in laser pointing
Tue, 30 Apr 2013 01:47:17 GMT —
People pointing lasers at airplanes is rapidly increasing.
Since March, Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport has seen five reports.
In the entire year of 2012, the airport reported four incidents.
According to authorities, this is very dangerous because it could blind a pilot and cause a plane to crash.
While in a plane, people and pilots hope for a safe landing.
As pilots approach take off, it becomes a critical part of the job.
FAA reports an increase of 13% from 2004 to 2012 in laser incidents.
"People around taking advantage to laser the pilot when it is dark. It TMs really annoying the pilot while its focusing on the instruments to land safe, they are distracting focus on the instruments, so that can cause them to crash and it could be 50 passengers injured or dead," Chief Operations Officer Sesha Vorrey said.
All recent incidents at the Brownsville airport involve a green-color laser.
Why the increase?
"This could be an intention to bring the plane down or it could be kids that have nothing better to do but lasering plane or trying to use their new toy," Vorrey said.
Targeted have been commercial airplanes, general aviation, defense planes and helicopters flown by Border Patrol.
The problem is that lasers are inexpensive and accessible, and they can reach altitudes of 3000 to 8000 feet.
"Let's says this plane is approaching the runway and it TMs about 4000 feet on Rancho Viejo. It TMs easy to laser. The person should be on the left or right of the plane or maybe ahead of it so that they can laser right into the cockpit which is very dark," Vorrey said.
Reports show laser strikes coming as close as six miles from the runway, even happening as far away as Matamoros. Border Patrol assists tracking on the Mexican side have jurisdiction with our neighbors.
FBI, police and Border Patrol all assist and are aware of the increasing problem.
As of February 2012, it has become a federal crime to aim a laser at an aircraft.