Authorities at the biggest airport in Poland have warned that lives are being put at risk because laser pointers are being directed at aircraft.
Warsaw’s Chopin airport, which last year handled almost 10 million passengers, confirmed that there had been cases when the high-powered laser beams from pens used a pointers at business meetings and lectures had reached the cockpits of planes.
A message on the Chopin airport Twitter feed on March 29 at around 9.10pm reads: “In Warsaw there have also been cases of laser beams blinding pilots. This is a huge threat to flight safety.”
The Tweet was a response to news that a 19-year-old man from California had been jailed for 30 months, for pointing a laser beam at Cessna Citation plane and a police helicopter close to Burbank airport. The pilot of the private Cessna suffered impaired eyesight until the next day, but the helicopter pilot was wearing protective goggles.
Adam Gardenhire, who was using the laser pointer in his garden some 800m from the airport, said in his defence that he did not think he was behaving recklessly at the time. Directing laser pointers at aircraft became an offence in the USA in 2012.