Someone on the Texas coast forced a Coast Guard Falcon jet to land after pointing a laser into the cockpit of the aircraft on Nov. 5.
The Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi has had three reported lasing incidents since June, it said, while safety officers at the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi reported two local lasing incidents at that facility since June.
The laser directly hit one of our crew members while conducting an instrument approach and it filled the cockpit with a blinding light, said Lt. Philip Thisse, the aircraft commander of the Falcon jet that was lased. We had to conduct an emergency landing and one of our crew members was sent to the Bay Area Emergency Room. Either malicious or just an irresponsible act, lasing an aircraft poses a significant hazard to the lives of aircrew and impacts our ability to respond to people in distress.
In September, a Coast Guard helicopter pilot had to conduct an emergency landing on Cape Cod, MA because of a laser light pointed into the aircraft’s cockpit. Whether this happened to our Coast Guard aircraft flying on a search and rescue mission, a student Navy pilot just learning to fly, or an air liner carrying a plane full of passengers, the public needs to be aware of the dangers associated with pointing a laser at any aircraft, said Thisse.
The Coast Guard noted a new federal law that increases fines and prison sentences for lasing aircraft. The new law established a new criminal offense for aiming the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, or at the flight path of such an aircraft. The crime is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and up to five years' imprisonment.
Source: Government Security News, http://www.gsnmagazine.com/node/27780?c=disaster_preparedness_emergency_response