US Air Force issues warning against aiming laser pointers at fighter aircraft

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From the Royal Air Force military base in Lakenheath, UK, the US Air Force (USAF) has issued a public warning against the dangers and consequences of aiming laser pointers at fighter aircraft in flight.

‘Lasing’ is a term used by the USAF to denote the dangerous activity of intentionally aiming laser beams at aircraft. Pilots may be disoriented or even blinded by these laser beams, resulting in fatal accidents.

“Recent incidents of laser pointers being aimed at fighter aircraft during flight operations have raised significant concerns,” the USAF said in a statement.

The USAF declared that, aside from endangering the lives of pilots and crew, lasing can also be a hazard to the towns, villages and homes that are underneath the approach corridor of RAF Lakenheath.

“While a surface-to-air lasing incident is always a hazard for air crew’s near-term vision and long-term optical health, it becomes a critical hazard that impacts safe operation of the aircraft at low altitude,” the USAF added.

The USAF also stressed the legal ramifications and consequences that offenders may face under the Laser Misuse (Vehicle) Bill in the UK.

Under the bill, which was established in 2018, a person found guilty of laser misuse may face the following:

  • conviction in England and Wales: to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, to a fine or to both;
  • conviction in Scotland: to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both;
  • conviction in Northern Ireland: to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both;
  • conviction on indictment: to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, to a fine or to both.

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Jean Carmela Lim
Journalist[br][br]Jean is a member of AeroTime’s editorial team, working as an aviation writer and based in Manila, Philippines. Previously, she worked in operational aviation roles in Manila, Philippines and Seoul, South Korea before moving to Australia to work in corporate and government travel. In 2012, Jean established her own luxury and adventure travel blog, Holy Smithereens. She is also a contributor for World Travel Market London, one of the biggest annual events in the travel sector. She covers trends and issues in hospitality and luxury travel for a B2B market, interviewing key personalities in the industry.
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