A police helicopter in Birmingham, U.K. was in danger when the pilot was blinded by a laser aimed at the cockpit.
As the bright green light bounced through the cabin, the helicopter team used powerful thermal imaging cameras to locate the source of the laser. Once they honed in on the source, they found a lout, laughing and toasting the laser attack with his fellow drinkers at a garden party.
The fun didn't last for long. Their bravado ended when the police helicopter guided an officer on the ground to the house and informed him about the culprit.
(Source: West Midlands Police)
According to the West Midlands Police, they arrested a 23-year-old shop worker on suspicion of “acting reckless in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft.” He was later sentenced to seven months (suspended for two years) and 250 hours of unpaid community work. He was also ordered to pay £100 victim's surcharge and £300 costs.
Senior Pilot Andy Shanks said he'd been hit “countless” times by laser pens during his 33-year flying career. “When the light bounces off the screen, it's like a disco-ball strobe effect in the cabin,” he explained. “It's disorientating, makes it impossible to focus on the instrument panel, and is extremely dangerous as even a momentary loss of control can be crucial.” We're glad he's ok now, and that nobody was hurt.
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