Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Airline Laser Threat: Explanation or CopyCat?

Instapundit links to a story on Sgt Stryker about the recent rash of incidents in which airplane pilots had ground based lasers shined into their eyes. There's a lot of speculation as to what this could be, ranging from a target acquisition exercise to an attempt to blind pilots.

Then there's this story from Reuters and others. A New Jersey man has been arrested for shining a green laser at the cockpit of a private aircraft. This would certainly answer Glen's question. It seems that you can target a moving plane with a handheld laser at least long enough to get the attention of the pilot. But there are other questions so far unresolved. Is there any connection between this man and other laser incidents across the country? I doubt it. It's more likely that this guy read about the laser targeting incidents in the newspaper and decided to try it to see if it could really be done. Or is it even possible that in this case he really was just pointing out stars when the laser beam accidentally hit the helicopter as he has claimed? Does that explain the other incidents as well?

At this point, we don't really know. Perhaps this man's story will shed some light on the topic but probably not. In the meantime we will still be waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Michelle Malkin has some comments on the ominous Patriot Act spin to this story. Any guesses as to which aspect the lefties will stress in the coming days?

Also I looked around a bit for other people citing this story. It appears that blogicus had noticed this story a long time ago. I've included links to others in the main story. I'm sure that there are more but they did not magically rise to the top in my Google search.