Saturday, November 18, 2017

Laser menace for pilots over Mumbai airport on the rise

Mumbai: Laser beam hazard has been on rise at Mumbai airport with pilots reporting a total of 24 cases till September this year, or about 3 cases per month. Laser beams that hit the cockpit could pose a serious flight safety hazard as it could temporarily blind the pilot during the low flying critical phases of landing or takeoff. Instances of pilots being lased are on rise the world over, which has led to introduction of new laws to check this menace in countries like the US, the UK, Australia.
"Pilots who spot a laser beam near or pointed at the aircraft inform the air traffic controller, who, in turn, informs airport officials, who then inform local police,'' said an airport official. Since India has not yet woken up to the dangers that lasers pose to aircraft —there is no gazette notification that identifies this as serious hazard and recommends punitive measures—the action taken on ground has hardly been a deterrent, the official added.
In recent years, the use of laser lights during festivals has gone up, he said. For instance, there have been complaints of laser activity from weddings/celebrations venue in Ghatkopar, which is close to the approach path of aircraft. "There isn't much awareness about the dangers of shining laser lights on aircraft,'' the airport official adding that India needs to have better laws place like some other countries where such an act could invite a jail term.
18/11/17 Times of India