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posted by Woods on Thursday June 05 2014, @03:52PM   Printer-friendly
from the you-could-put-an-eye-out-with-that-thing dept.

The FBI has announced that they are expanding their campaign nationwide aimed at deterring people from pointing lasers at aircraft-by rewarding those who provide information about individuals who engage in this dangerous crime and aggressively prosecuting the perpetrators. A key part of the publicity campaign is reward money. The FBI will offer up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of any individual who intentionally aims a laser at an aircraft. "We want to encourage people to come forward when they see someone committing this crime, which could have terrible consequences for pilots and their passengers," says George Johnson.

Since the FBI and the FAA began tracking laser strikes in 2005, there has been more than a 1,100 percent increase in the number of incidents with these devices, which can be purchased in stores or online for as little as a few dollars. Last year, 3,960 laser strikes against aircraft were reported. It is estimated that thousands of attacks go unreported every year. In March a 26-year-old California man was sentenced to 14 years in prison for aiming a laser pointer at a police helicopter and a hospital emergency transport helicopter. The man and his girlfriend were using a device that was 13 times more powerful than the permissible power emission level for handheld lasers. The girlfriend was also convicted and recently sentenced to a two-year prison term.

 
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  • (Score: 2) by sjames on Thursday June 05 2014, @05:41PM

    by sjames (2882) on Thursday June 05 2014, @05:41PM (#51812) Journal

    I imagine that most people who shine a laser pointer at an airplane don't realize it can be a problem. To them, a laser pointer is a magic flashlight that puts a little dot of light on something. A few PSAs would probably be more effective and less expensive, but then they don't get to yell "Rspect my authoriti!".

    After the PSAs, they should consider enforcement for that small group of people who either can't learn or actually want to cause a problem.

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  • (Score: 2) by hoochiecoochieman on Thursday June 05 2014, @05:50PM

    by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Thursday June 05 2014, @05:50PM (#51813)

    A few PSAs would probably be more effective and less expensive

    You mean, check their prostates? I think that's a really good deterrent!

    • (Score: 2) by sjames on Thursday June 05 2014, @06:01PM

      by sjames (2882) on Thursday June 05 2014, @06:01PM (#51818) Journal

      I was thinking Public Service Announcement. The prostate exam should be reserved for the determined idiots (but will be of limited effectiveness for female offenders).

    • (Score: 1) by e_armadillo on Thursday June 05 2014, @06:20PM

      by e_armadillo (3695) on Thursday June 05 2014, @06:20PM (#51824)

      You mean, check their prostates? I think that's a really good deterrent!

      Wouldn't this be an incentive for some?

      --
      "How are we gonna get out of here?" ... "We'll dig our way out!" ... "No, no, dig UP stupid!"
  • (Score: 1) by Big Frank on Thursday June 05 2014, @06:36PM

    by Big Frank (2133) on Thursday June 05 2014, @06:36PM (#51832)

    How I imagine these incidents happen (I have never done this, don't even own a laser pointer). Average Joe gets a new laser pointer, Shines it on the opposite wall and says "Wow, look at the laser beam power output and coherence!". Immediately the hunt for far away targets starts. Shines it out the window. Building across the street? No problem. Building at end of block? No problem. Farthest away building in line of site? Hard to hold it steady enough to aim, but after a couple minutes of trying manages to hold it on the building and can still see it! Wow, need something even farther away. Airplane in sky - Hot damn, let's give it a try!!!!! Wow, it's so far away, doesn't know if laser is even hitting it our not. After 5 minutes of standing in middle of street trying, police show up and tackle him to the ground.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday June 05 2014, @06:58PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 05 2014, @06:58PM (#51845) Journal

      Actually, there is a body of evidence that suggests that at least SOME people believe their dinky little laser can't reach a plane.

      This is because the beam usually seems to disappear at the Planetary Boundary Layer [wikipedia.org]. Clean air above a certain relatively small altitude (400-ish meters) does not reflect laser light as well as does the lower air.

      Some people seeing their beam fizzle out after a couple hundred meters think they can't possibly interfere with an airplane. (Which leaves you wondering why they would try to light up an aircraft).

      This page explains it,: http://www.laserpointersafety.com/page52/aviationfacts/whybeamsseemtoend.html [laserpointersafety.com]

      --
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