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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Laser Hits on Helos Increasing, ALEA Says

The number of laser attacks against helicopters is growing, the executive director and CEO of the Airborne Law Enforcement Association told Rotor & Wing. While that is troubling, Dan Schwarzbach said, the good news is that more of these lasing culprits are being tracked down, charged and prosecuted. The problem is not limited to police helicopters, he said, but “not a month goes by that we don’t see people getting arrested for using lasers against helicopters.” Recent examples include a Moreno Valley, Calif. man to be arraigned June 24 on federal charges that he aimed a green laser beam at a Riverside County Sheriff's Department helicopter in February 2014. (In the U.S., that act constitutes interference with the safe conduct of a flight, which is a federal crime.) If convicted, the man faces five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. In North Carolina, another man pled guilty this month to lasing a landing helicopter last year in Oak Island. The problem also is not limited to the U.S. Luxembourg Air Rescue said one of its MD-902s was hit by a laser while flying along the German border May 21, and police in Scotland are seeking information on the individual who lased a Bristow search and rescue helicopter April 2 as it flew over Inverness. 
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