Terrorists getting desperate; use lasers against aircraft 17 replies

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NiteStryker

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#1 13 years ago

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/ap/20041231/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/laser_beam_airplanes

FBI Probes Lasers Beamed at Plane Cockpits

1 hour, 9 minutes ago Add to My Yahoo! White House - AP Cabinet & State

By LESLIE MILLER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The FBI (news - web sites), concerned that terrorists could use lasers as weapons, is investigating why laser beams were directed into the cockpits of seven airplanes in flight since Christmas.

Laser beams can temporarily blind or disorient pilots and possibly cause a plane to crash.

The FBI is looking into two incidents in Colorado Springs, Colo., and one each in Cleveland, Washington, Houston, Teterboro, N.J., and Medford, Ore., according to federal and local law enforcement and transportation officials, some of whom spoke only on condition of anonymity.

A federal law enforcement official, who declined to be identified by name, said Thursday there is no evidence of a plot or terrorist activity. But pilots are troubled by the incidents, and the FBI earlier this month warned of the possibility that terrorists might use the devices as weapons.

"It's not some kid," said Paul Rancatore, a pilot who serves as deputy chairman of the security committee for the Allied Pilots Association. "It's too organized."

Loren Thompson, who teaches military technology at Georgetown University, called it a "rather worrisome development," though he said experts would be more puzzled than alarmed.

"What we're talking about is a fairly powerful visible light laser that has the ability to lock onto a fast-moving aircraft," Thompson said. "That's not the sort of thing you pick up at a military surplus store."

Thompson said a piece of equipment that could do the things the FBI suspects would be "fairly expensive and fairly sophisticated."

"It sounds like an organized effort to cause airline accidents," Thompson said.

Law enforcement officials, though, say they have no evidence of such an effort and that the lasers in question are readily available. Further, they say they've had reports of similar incidents since the technology became popular.

But a memo sent to law enforcement agencies recently by the FBI and the Homeland Security Department says there is evidence that terrorists have explored using lasers as weapons, though there's no intelligence that indicates they might use them in the United States.

Pilots and safety officials have long been concerned about the dangers of laser light shows, which have caused temporary eye injuries to several pilots over the last decade.

Most recently, a pilot for Delta Air Lines reported an eye injury from a laser beamed into the cockpit while approaching the Salt Lake City airport in September. The plane landed safely.

The Civil Aerospace Medical Institute has a database of several hundred reports in which civilian or military aircraft were illuminated by lasers. Though there have been no accidents reported, pilots in some cases were startled, temporarily blinded and disoriented.

The Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites), which regulates laser light shows, consults with the FAA (news - web sites) when someone proposes operating a laser outdoors near an airport. The FAA recommends the maximum safe level of laser light exposure for pilots maneuvering near airports.

An FAA-commissioned study released in June concluded that "a laser attack could be quickly deployed and withdrawn, leaving no obvious collateral damage or projectile residue, and would be difficult to detect and defend against."

"A sufficiently powerful laser could cause permanent ocular damage, blinding crewmembers and make a successful landing virtually impossible," the report said.

More recently, some pilots have pushed to analyze the possible dangers posed by terrorists trying to cause an accident with the devices.

"It's a low-tech way to cause crashes," Rancatore said.

On Christmas night, two SkyWest pilots said they saw two laser-like rays of light in their cockpit as they attempted to land at the airport in Medford, Ore., according to FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele.

On Monday, a laser beam was directed into the cockpit of a commercial jet flying about 15 miles from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport at an altitude of between 8,500 and 10,000 feet, FBI special agent Robert Hawk said. It was determined the laser came from a residential area in suburban Warrensville Heights.

Also on Monday in Colorado Springs, two pilots reported green pulsating laser lights beamed into their cockpits. Police sent patrol cars and a helicopter in a fruitless search. FBI spokeswoman Monique Kelso said the bureau is continuing to investigate.

In New Jersey, the pilot of a corporate-owned Cessna Citation carrying 13 people said three green lasers were pointed into his cockpit while approaching the Teterboro airport on Wednesday night. Law enforcement officials said they were believed to have originated near a mall in Wayne, according to Passaic County Sheriff's Office spokesman Bill Maer.

All the planes landed safely.

Damn they are desperate, huh.....

Next they will throw rocks into the intake part of the engines




Phoenix_22 VIP Member

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#2 13 years ago
NiteStrykerNext they will throw rocks into the intake part of the engines

I think they already tried that.:confused: Anyway, Lasers?? First off, how do they get their hands on lasers? We should have all our aircraft covered in glass, or a glass film, so that when they shine the lasers, it bounces back and blinds them.




Μαjïç MushrøøM

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29th November 2003

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#3 13 years ago

Interesting...I overheard my parents discussing this and wondered what it entailed. Such a ploy would cause more of an irritation in the cockpit of a plane than a serious threat, I would assume. :uhm:




FireSphere

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#4 13 years ago

I talked to my dad about this, and he says the most obvious way it would work is when the pilots were getting ready to land. During landing preparations, the pilots would be directing their eyes at the ground, making it easier for the laser beams to connect with the eyes of the pilots and blind them temporarily.




NiteStryker

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#5 13 years ago

I got a perfect solution that will save millions in investigations....

SUNGLASSES!

I have made nighttime landings in simulators and the lights are quite bright so u could still stt them thru sunglasses. Or mabey tint the glass of the planes, or tilt it.




Ensign Riles VIP Member

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#6 13 years ago

Isn't this kind of old? They've been talking about this for years...

Anyway, it is a very serious weapon. Your joke on rocks is pretty serious as well. A rock can destroy a jet engine. Be careful what you wish for...




JizzyB

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#7 13 years ago
The Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites), which regulates laser light shows, consults with the FAA (news - web sites) when someone proposes operating a laser outdoors near an airport. The FAA recommends the maximum safe level of laser light exposure for pilots maneuvering near airports

Why would they be in charge of laser shows :confused: ? Anyway I saw this on the news tonight. I'm quite confused though, how can a laser go however many thousands of miles into the sky to blind pilots much less how can terrorists even be able to plan this? Seems quite strange to me.




Mihail VIP Member

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#8 13 years ago

I doubt it was any professional "terrorist" organization.




colonel_bob

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#9 13 years ago
MihailI doubt it was any professional "terrorist" organization.

It most likely not... When I first saw it, I assumed it was just some kids sckrewing around with lasers... But when you think about it, you would have to have some pretty good tracking system (or really, really good hand/eye coordination) to follow a cockpit of a plane as its traveling at 300+ miles per hour...




NiteStryker

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#10 13 years ago

Ensign RilesIsn't this kind of old? They've been talking about this for years...

Anyway, it is a very serious weapon. Your joke on rocks is pretty serious as well. A rock can destroy a jet engine. Be careful what you wish for...

I wasnt 'wishing' for a disaster....I also kno rocks can do damage, Im not stupid.

Birds also do damage..they fly too close and get sucked in.

Im merly giving an example of how terrorists cant get inside the plane, so they attack it from the outside.




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