Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Laser Pointers

Received this email from EVAC.

Once again, the irresponsible few ruin it for the responsible majority...
be careful if traveling down under!

Laser pointers banned after


Mon Apr 21, 2008 12:11pm EDT

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A major Australian state has banned laser pointers after a

spate of incidents in which aircraft pilots have been temporarily blinded, the

government said on Monday.

High-powered hand lasers, including so-called "star pointers" used by

astronomers, would be listed as prohibited weapons in New South Wales

state with jail terms of up to 14 years for anyone carrying them without a permit.

"It is a gutless and cowardly act that could result in an horrific outcome.

It only takes a fraction of a second for a pilot to become temporarily

blinded and that could have catastrophic consequences," said state

Premier Morris Iemma.

Several pilots have recently reported high-intensity lasers being shone

into their cockpits during take-offs and landings, and police recently

enlisted intelligence agencies to help combat what papers called

"laser lunatics."

The latest incident occurred over Sydney's south at the weekend when an

ambulance helicopter was hit by a green beam.

The ban will build on planned national importation controls announce

by the federal government earlier this month, treating laser pointers

like firearms.

"It's destructive, dangerous behavior which needs a coordinated response

across Australia," said Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus.

(Reporting by Rob Taylor, editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society