Anger over laser pen shone into cock­pit of mil­i­tary plane.

Pi­lot was daz­zled by light shone into his eyes as he flew over Perth

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - Paul re­och pre­och@the­

There could have been “cat­a­strophic con­se­quences” af­ter a laser pen was shone into the cock­pit of a mil­i­tary plane fly­ing above Perth, it has been claimed.

Po­lice are look­ing into the in­ci­dent, in which a pi­lot from the 5 Reg­i­ment Army Air Corp (AAC) was fly­ing a BN3T Is­lan­der plane above the city, en route to RAF Alder­grove in Belfast, when the laser pen daz­zled him.

The Army Air Corp pi­lot no­ti­fied Air Traf­fic Con­trol at Prest­wick and then con­tacted po­lice.

A spokesper­son for the Civil Avi­a­tion Author­ity (CAA) warned a pi­lot can be blinded for up to 10 sec­onds, fol­lowed by more than a minute of im­paired vi­sion when hit by a beam.

“The risks to pas­sen­gers and crew are all too ob­vi­ous,” he said.

A Royal Air Force spokesper­son said the tar­get­ing of mil­i­tary air­craft by bright lights is “rare” but high­lighted the ob­vi­ous dan­gers to pi­lots and res­i­dents liv­ing near such in­ci­dents.

“Such at­tacks jeop­ar­dise flight safety and are a civil of­fence un­der the Air Nav­i­ga­tion Or­der 2009,” he said.

“Th­ese events are recorded and re­ported to the civil­ian po­lice for ac­tion.”

Chief In­spec­tor Ian Scott, area po­lice com­man­der for Perth and Kin­ross, said: “It’s an of­fence to di­rect or shine a light to daz­zle or dis­tract the pi­lot of an air­craft in flight.

“The con­se­quence of such a reck­less act could have been cat­a­strophic for the pi­lot and the air­craft and I urge any­one with in­for­ma­tion that will help iden­tify the per­son re­spon­si­ble to con­tact the po­lice.”

The CAA spokesper­son added: “Shin­ing a laser at an air­craft in flight could pose a se­ri­ous safety risk. The UK Govern­ment is con­sid­er­ing whether to in­tro­duce a new li­cens­ing scheme for laser pens, with a call for ev­i­dence con­clud­ing last week.

Last year for­mer busi­ness min­is­ter Anna Soubry an­nounced plans for a crack­down, say­ing the idea of sell­ing them to chil­dren “seems per­verse”.

A sur­vey of UK oph­thal­mol­o­gists re­ported more than 150 in­ci­dents of eye in­juries in­volv­ing laser point­ers since 2013.

“Any­one con­victed could face a sig­nif­i­cant fine or even im­pris­on­ment should the safety of an air­craft be en­dan­gered.

“We strongly urge any­one who sees lasers be­ing used in the vicin­ity of an air­port to con­tact the po­lice im­me­di­ately.”

The de­tails of the AAC flight over Perth have not been dis­closed.

The dan­gers of us­ing laser pens was demon­strated af­ter po­lice launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion fol­low­ing a 13-year-old girl suf­fer­ing per­ma­nent eye dam­age in a re­cent laser pen at­tack on a school bus in the High­lands.

The pupil has been left with im­paired pe­riph­eral vi­sion af­ter a class­mate shone the light next to her eyes on a bus to Fortrose Academy on the Black Isle.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion on the Perth in­ci­dent should phone the po­lice on 101.

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