Dutch pilots want ban on laser guns

17th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

Powerful laser beams which are shone into cockpits from the ground can temporarily blind pilots and cause much danger.

The Netherlands – The Dutch pilots' association is seeking a ban on shining high-powered laser torches in a pilot's face.

The case will be presented to the Justice and Transport ministries over the course of the week by the organisation, VNV, which says pilots at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport are increasingly being harassed by people on the ground shining laser beams into their cockpits.

Laser beams which are shot into cockpits can temporarily blind pilots. A powerful laser light is visible in an airliner's cockpit from 1,200 metres off the ground. At 300 metres and less, it can seriously impair the pilot's vision.

Several dozen incidents have been reported to the border police, air traffic control and the VNV.

The police have stepped up efforts to patrol around Schiphol to look out for people with laser guns.

The pilots' association says the problem has existed for about 10 years but nobody has ever been arrested. They approached the government about it a few years but nothing was done.

The VNV now gives special advice to pilots about laser beams and how to respond to light shining in their faces during landing.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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