Pilots demand action after increase in laser attacks

Author: By Alan Jones, Press Association

The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) urged the Government to take
action, claiming that passenger lives were being put at risk.

Balpa said the number of incidents across the country had increased from three
in 2003 to 29 in 2007 and 206 last year.

General secretary Jim McAuslan called on Transport Secretary Lord Adonis to
act before there was a “serious incident.”

The union said the laser guns, some no bigger than a ballpoint pen, can cost
less than £10 and can be obtained from websites and even from some corner
shops.

The beams can reach 37,000 feet and were being targeted at the cockpits of
aircraft taking off or landing round Britain’s airports, said Balpa.

Mr McAuslan said in a letter to the minister: “Technology to locate the exact
origin of a beam has been developed and we hope that such devices are
urgently rolled out to police forces across the UK.

“We believe that laser-related incidents pose a sufficient risk to flight
safety that co-ordinated action is required across the industry.

“Unfortunately the buying and using these laser guns has become something of a
fad. We have to stamp it out before a tragedy occurs.”

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