Green Lasers Also Aimed at Russian Pilots

The latest two incidents bring to 30 the number of crews temporarily blinded while in their cockpits this year, authorities reported.

Russian officials and aviation authorities are concerned about recent uses of green lasers to temporarily blind pilots, including an incident this month involving an airplane landing with 97 people aboard, the Itar-Tass news service reported.

Calling the practice "a dangerous way of amusement," Itar-Tass World Service writer Lyudmila Alexandrova reported June 10 that the Federal Agency for Air Transportation (Rosaviatsia) reported 30 air cockpit crews have been temporarily blinded by laser beams in 2011. Two recent incidents involved the crew of a Boeing 737 as it was landing, with 97 passengers aboard, and another crew that had the same thing happen three days earlier at the same airport. Both planes landed safety. An Airbus jetliner inbound to Moscow from Frankfurt, Germany, with 146 passengers on board had a red laser aimed at its cockpit, Alexandrova reported.

This is a recent and still unusual phenomenon in Russia, where the first such incidents were reported in Moscow's airspace during the second half of 2010, she wrote.

FAA recently raised the maximum civil fine for aiming a laser at U.S. pilots to $11,000. There is no law, so far, against the practice in Russia, according to her report.

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