REDDING, Calif - Laser pointers can be used for many things Including projects, and messing with cats.
But when users point them at aircraft, it has the potential to be deadly.
"That's a major problem now you're disorienting a pilot thats flying an aircraft full of civilians low on approach over a city, as you can imagine it could be catostrophic," said CHP Pilot Brian Henderson.
California Highway Patrol Northern Division says on Saturday, pilots were preparing to land at the Redding Municipal Airport when a laser struck the helicopter, causing the pilot temporary blindness.
"Once the laser hits the camera everything goes green. You can't see out front, all your gages, eachother, its like someone turned on a big green light, " said Henderson.
Henderson tells Action News Now he’s been a pilot for Northern Division for nearly seven years.
In that time his aircraft has been hit more recently than ever before.
But these little devices aren’t just fun, as you can see the light magnifies within the aircraft creating a disco ball effect.
Which isn’t just dangerous but also illegal.
In California pointing a laser at an aircraft is a felony, which can result in up to three years in prison.
It is also a federal crime.
And that sentencing can result in nearly five years in prison.
Henderson and the CHP office says they hope shedding light on the dangers will stop people from committing these crimes , adding the pilots are just trying to do their jobs safely.
- CHP Cracks Down on Laser Attacks
- CHP cracks down on overweight debris-hauling trucks
- Redding CHP officers increase controls on I-5, crack down on speeding
- Cracking Down on Looting
- CHP begins maximum enforcement period
- CHP Fourth of July Enforcement
- Oroville CHP delivers toys to kids
- CHP to Begin Christmas Maximum Enforcement Period
- CHP officer killed by suspected drunk driver
- North state honors fallen CHP officer