Planes descending for landing at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia have come under the attack of really powerful laser pointers, prompting a federal investigation.
Planes descending for landing at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia have come under the attack of distracting laser pointers, prompting a federal investigation.
There haven’t been any accidents or injuries to date, but officials are concerned that there could be in the future.
Among the potential dangers is that the lasers, when shone into the cockpit, could compromise the vision abilities of the pilots.
The situation is further aggravated by the fact the planes are being targeted as they make their final approach to the runway, a particularly vulnerable moment. Similar incidents have occurred to civilian planes.
Laser attacks on military planes have happened in the past at a rate of about three per year.
Recently that number escalated to that same amount in a fraction of the time.
Past efforts to contain the problem focused on public announcements asking people to stop doing it, while simultaneously working to make pointing lasers at planes illegal.
That tactic worked for a while as the number of reported instances dropped but clearly hasn’t continued to be effective.
This time, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service or NCIS has been called to look into the matter.