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Pilots encountering more laser beams while flying

January 21, 2011, 05:17 pm

Though pilots already face a significant amount of danger while flying, temporary loss of visibility caused by lasers can be added to the list, according to a recent report by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA says the number of pilots from all types of aircrafts who report being briefly blinded by lasers has seen a sharp increase. In 2010, the figure nearly doubled compared to the year before, reaching more than 2,800 cases. As a result, the FAA says it is "actively warning people not to point high-powered lasers at aircraft."

The spike in cases is potentially being caused by the increase in availability of high-powered lasers. Some are available for unrestricted purchase in stores and on the internet, and they are relatively inexpensive according to the FAA.

However, some states have begun to enact legislation to help combat the issue. According to USA Today, a recent case in which two police officers flying a helicopter were grounded as the result of having a green laser pointed at their aircraft resulted in the arrests of two teenagers. In certain states, shining a laser at a plane may result in federal charges, according to the FAA.

Even without the danger presented by lasers, flying an aircraft can be dangerous. Pilot insurance is useful for providing for a pilot's family should they encounter a fatal hazard while in flight.  

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