February 16, 2006, - 12:26 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
There’s an important, but disturbing, update of our column, yesterday, regarding multiple laser-pointers being aimed at pilots flying near Detroit Metro Airport.
Yesterday, we reported that the number of incidents was 16. Today, the Detroit Free Press reports that there are now TWENTY-SIX–yes, 26!–incidents of pilots reporting lasers being aimed at them.
Other important info in the new article:
Some red lasers are capable of shining a point of light a little less than a mile; other pointers — including those equipped with more powerful green lasers — can send a spot of light more than 2 miles.
This seems to confirm that, as we noted yesterday, laser pointers are not meant just to obscure pilots, but to measure distance to planes (perhaps to determine whether there is the short distance from which a surface-to-air missile can be shot)–information sent to us by Daily Pundit.
Then, there’s the matter of whether a laser can blind a pilot temporarily or do harm or injury. We’ve gotten e-mails from some who claim lasers cannot. But read this:
According to the Laser Institute of America, the energy some pointers can direct into the eye has the potential of being many times brighter than staring directly at the sun.
[M]ost stores sell only the weaker red lasers, which can still cause problems. But online, consumers can purchase green lasers which can be 20 to 40 times more powerful and potentially more damaging to the eye than red ones.
Delta Air Lines pilot Parry Winder was struck with a green laser spot while he was flying into Salt Lake City in September 2004.
“The intensity of the light is nearly indescribable, other than the fact that I would liken it to looking at an arc welder without a safety mask,” Winder said before Congress last year. “It was very intense and very short-lived. I turned away immediately, closed my eye.”
Winder started to see spots in his right eye and had problems with his depth perception, but he managed to safely land the plane. But in the days that followed, he said, he saw black spots, got intense headaches and his retina swelled. Winder wasn’t able to fly for about three weeks.
So is this just some kids, or coming from the heart of Islamic America, could it be terrorists?
A June 2004 report by the FAA warned that terrorists could take down aircraft by shining powerful lasers into cockpits to blind pilots.
Tags: America, arc welder, Congress, Debbie Schlussel There, Delta Air Lines, Detroit Free Press, Detroit Metro Airport, energy, Federal Aviation Administration, Laser, Laser Institute of America, lasers, Salt Lake City, the Detroit Free Press