"Laser Hooliganism" on the Rise in Russia

Laser in Police Helicopter Cockpit, Photo Credit: LaserPointerSafety.com

Much like the United States, Russia has been experiencing a hike in laser incidents targeting commercial aircraft during takeoff and landing. According to CNN, on July 5th, 2011, two aircraft were targeted while landing at Moscow Airport, approximately four minutes apart. Crews of the two aircraft, a Tupolev Tu-204 and a Boeing 737, reported seeing green lights in their cabins.

According to CNN, Sergei Izvolsky, a spokesman for the Russian federal air transport regulator Rosaviatsia, described the pilot disorientation that can be caused by the laser beams coming into the cockpit window. “When such a laser beam reflects off the multilayer glass of the pilot’s window, it creates a bright spark that can momentarily blind the crew for several seconds or even several minutes…He might not be able to see the plane’s dashboard or the airstrip on which he is landing. This is a navigation obstacle and, ultimately, a direct threat to both the crew and the passengers.”

The so termed “laser hooliganism” has been on the rise across the globe, and lawmakers are pushing for laws to punish those responsible for this dangerous behavior. Russia has had 56 reported laser incidents in 2011, already dwarfing the five reported incidents in 2010. According to LaserPointerSafety.com, the United States has had a reported 1,577 incidents involving 1,591 aircraft during the period of January 1, 2011 through July 7, 2011. This is an average of 8.4 incidents every day.

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