North American Aircraft Are Under Attack By Lasers

January 2nd, 2005  

Topic: North American Aircraft Are Under Attack By Lasers

North American Aircraft Are Under Attack By High-Powered Lasers

Last Monday a high-powered laser weapon was intentionally directed into the cockpit of a Continental Airlines flight for several seconds while approaching the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. The aircraft was still at an altitude of 8,500 feet. The laser was determined to have been fired from a residential area in suburban Warrensville Heights.


January 2nd, 2005  
wow... that is MESSED UP! how? these lasers aren't small from my understanding
January 2nd, 2005  
rotc boy
daaaaang, thats not cool
January 7th, 2005  
N.J. man charged with aiming laser at aircraft
By Alan Levin, USA TODAY

A New Jersey man was charged Tuesday under federal anti-terrorism laws with shining a laser beam at a charter jet flying over his home, temporarily distracting the pilots.

David Banach, 38, is the first person charged in a rash of recent incidents in which lasers were shined at aircraft around the country. Justice Department officials said they do not suspect terrorism in any of the cases, but said Banach's arrest shows how seriously they take the matter.

"We need to send a clear message to the public that there is no harmless mischief when it comes to airplanes," said Christopher Christie, the U.S. attorney for New Jersey.

Banach made an initial appearance in court Tuesday and was released on $100,000 bond. He was charged with interfering with a flight crew under the USA Patriot Act. He also was charged with lying to federal officers. The charges carry a maximum jail sentence of 25 years.

Unrelated incidents of laser beams hitting planes have been reported in Medford, Ore.; Colorado Springs; Cleveland; Houston and Washington.

Banach's attorney blasted federal officials for what she called an overreaction. "One would think they would want to devote their time and resources to prosecuting real terrorists, not people like my client," Gina Mendola-Longarzo told the Associated Press.

She said her client was playing with his young daughter, using the laser's narrow green beam to point at stars and illuminating trees and neighbor's houses. FBI agents and police swarmed Banach's Parsnippany, N.J., home Friday night after a green laser was pointed at a police helicopter overhead. The helicopter was carrying a charter jet pilot who was attempting to locate the source of a green laser beam that hit his flight on Dec. 29 as it prepared to land at nearby Teterboro Airport.

After being taken to an FBI office and given a lie-detector test, Banach said he had hit the jet with the beam, court documents say. During questioning by the FBI, Banach showed an agent his laser. After the agent switched it on, Banach warned him "not to shine the laser in his eyes because it could blind him," the court documents say.

Lasers have become increasingly cheap and commonplace in recent years. Thousands of inexpensive lasers used for home repair jobs were sold before Christmas, some for as little as $15.