NPAS Statement on Lasers
18th February 2016
Ollie Dismore, Director of Operations for the National Police Air Service said:
"The increasing number of laser attacks on aircraft worldwide is a source of serious concern to the aviation industry. In an attack, a laser pointer is deliberately or recklessly shone at airborne aircraft, sometimes persistently over a period of minutes. The impact on a pilot is at the very least distracting, but can be serious enough to cause temporary 'flash' blindness and in some cases; lasting eye damage.
"The frequency of these attacks in the UK alone is increasing at a worrying rate with around 1800 laser strikes on aircraft last year officially reported to the Civil Aviation Authority. What may seem harmless fun to the culprit could potentially have devastating consequences for the crew and passengers in the aircraft as well as innocent members of public on the ground. In serious cases, using a laser pointer in this way can carry a prison sentence.
"The National Police Air Service is working with colleagues from across the UK aviation sector in order to manage this risk and to reduce the number of flight crews that become victims of these attacks. We are currently conducting a laser eyewear protection trial which we hope will better support us to protect our staff against this threat in future."