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Tag: laser pointer

Washington Man Arrested for Allegedly Pointing Laser at CBP Agents in Helicopter

FAA illustration of a laser pointed at an aircraft.

By Steve Neavling

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent sought medical attention after he was struck in the eye last week by a laser pointer while flying a helicopter in Washington state. 

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office arrested Ronald Gregory Boettcher, 34, on a charge of first-degree unlawful discharge of a laser on Wednesday, The Belligham Herald reports.

Two CBP agents were in the helicopter when they said a laser was aimed into the cockpit. The helicopter was performing training approaches at Bellingham International Airport. 

Deputies responded to a report of the incident and talked to a neighbor who said the laser had come from a backyard where Boettcher lives, sheriff’s spokeswoman Deb Slater said in an email. 

Boettcher denied involvement and said he didn’t possess a laser. Deputies later found one at the home, Slater said. 

Laser illumination incidents have been on the rise, with 6,852 reported in 2020, according to lasersafety.com. That’s up from 6,213 in 2019 and 5,663 in 2018. 

Georgia Man Charged with Shining Laser at Commercial Aircraft

By Steve Neavling

A 48-year-old Georgia man has been indicted on federal charges after the FBI said he shined a laser pointer at three commercial airplanes headed to Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport. 

A federal grand jury indicted Roger Floyd Hendricks, of Rincon, on three counts of aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft. He faces up to five years in prison on each count.

“Pointing a laser at an aircraft is not a prank; it’s incredibly dangerous and stupid,” Bobby L. Christine, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, said in a statement. “The FBI did an outstanding job of locating and stopping this threat to hundreds of Savannah air travelers.”

The Federal Aviation Administration in February asked the FBI for help tracking down whoever was responsible for three green laser strikes on inbound aircraft. 

The strikes included:

  • A Nov. 27, strike on Commutair flight 4935 from Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The aircraft, an Embraer ERJ-145, has a capacity of more than 50 passengers and crew.
  • A Dec. 8  strike on Delta flight 697 from Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta. The aircraft, an Airbus A321, has a capacity of up to nearly 200 passengers and crew.
  • A Jan. 14 strike on NetJets flight 385 from Chicago Midway International Airport. The aircraft, a Cessna Citation Sovereign, has a capacity of eight passengers plus crew. 

Each plane landed safely. 

Nationwide, there have been more than than 6,000 laser strikes on aircraft in the U.S., according to the FAA.

“Aiming a laser at an airplane is not a game, it’s a federal felony and something the FBI takes very seriously,” Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of FBI’s Atlanta Field Office, said. “These alleged actions placed the lives of innocent air travelers and commercial airline crews in danger and must be prosecuted.”

Man Charged After Pointing Blinding Laser at Border Patrol Helicopter

laserBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A helicopter pilot for the Border Patrol was forced to take evasive action when a blinding laser was pointed at him in South Texas

Another member of the aircraft crew spotted the source of the light.

Authorities arrested Juan Peralez, 57, late Thursday, KURV.com reports. 

Peralez faces up to five years in federal prison if convicted.

Laser pointers have become big problems for aircraft pilots.

FBI: Pilots in Cleveland Reported Being Blinded by Laser Pointers over Labor Day Weekend

Light from a Laser pointer via Wikipedia

Light from a Laser pointer via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Pilots told authorities they were blinded by laser pointers over the Labor Day weekend in Cleveland.

WKYC reports that the FBI and local authorities are investigating five separate incidents from Sept. 4 to Sept. 6.

Laser pointers pose a dangerous threat to pilots, who can be flash-blinded by beams of light.

“Individuals often do not realize that traveling over hundreds of feet a tiny two-centimeter laser beam spreads to become approximately six feet of light that can block a pilot’s vision,” FBI officials said in a press release. “Most laser strike incidents reported occur at flights under 10,000 feet with the highest percentage being altitudes under 6,000 feet.”

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