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“Military Grade” Laser Strikes Pilot While Landing, Partially Blinding Him

Silhouette of an Airplane Landing over a evening sky

A commercial pilot is grounded after being struck by a “military grade” laser while flying a British Airways aircraft.

A former British Airways pilot will be grounded after he was struck by a “military grade” laser while landing a commercial flight, leaving him partially blinded in one eye. Speaking to Britain’s The Guardian, the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) confirmed the incident while highlighting the growing problem of laser strikes at airports.

According to Balpa, the laser strike took place while the co-pilot was performing a landing at London Heathrow Airport (LHR). As a result, the aviator was treated at a local hospital and has been unable to return to flying with the British flag carrier. Experts for the association suspect the damage was done by a military grade laser, as they claim many commercial lasers are not capable of causing that much damage.

Balpa is using the incident to highlight the growing number of laser incidents at airports across Britain. The group claims approximately half of pilots flying in Britain have been targeted by a laser in the last year. Statistics collected from the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) by The Independent show LHR had the most recorded laser strike incidents in the past year, which have overall increased across the country by nearly four percent.

“Lasers are one of the growing threats to flight safety faced by pilots along with fatigue, weakening regulation and security,” a spokesperson for Balpa told The Guardian. “We are also aware of concern around the ease of access to lasers, the increasing power of the technology and the potential they have to cause injury.”

A spokesperson for British Airways told The Guardian they were investigating the claims raised by Balpa. “The safety of our crew and our customers is always our main concern,” a spokesperson for the airline told the newspaper in a statement. “We urge our pilots to report such incidents so we can make the authorities aware.”

Laser strikes are a growing problem for American aviation as well. Earlier in November, three flights reported being struck by lasers while landing at Dallas Love Field (DAL).

[Photo: Getty]

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3 Comments
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a310pilot November 27, 2015

LOL Don't get carried away now.

A
AAJetMan November 25, 2015

"Next"?

R
Rut Dog November 25, 2015

Wow. This seems like the terrorists' next move. :(