Wednesday, 16 December 2009 - 10:24am |
National News

Small plane laser 'painted' over Hamilton

1 min read

Hamilton Police are warning of the dire consequences both in terms of potential tragedy and punishment if caught following the targeting of a light plane with a laser over the City last night.

Police were alerted to the incident after being contacted by Christchurch Air traffic Control.

A pilot had reported a powerful green laser light painting her aircraft north east of Hamilton's CBD and raised the alarm via radio.

Circling, the pilot tried to determine the area where the light was coming from establishing the source as being somewhere in the vicinity of Fairfield College.

Landing at Hamilton Airport shortly after 11.15pm the pilot detailed the incident to Police and patrols were sent to search the area to try and locate those responsible.

Green lasers are readily available in New Zealand and have a maximum power rating of 5 milliwatt. They are deemed to be more hazardous that red laser pointers commonly encountered in classrooms and conferences.

These devices emit light at a wavelength of 532 nanometres and are perceived by the human eye as green. The eye’s maximum sensitivity to visible light is around this wavelength and the eye will interpret a green laser light as being up to 30 times brighter than a red laser of the same power.

Direct eye exposure to one of these laser beams can result in momentary 'flash
blindness' with possible after images causing distraction to aircrews or drivers
of motor vehicles on the ground.

Anyone discovered interfering with an aircraft in flight by using a laser faces stiff penalties
with a person found guilty of an offence under Section 44 of the Civil Aviation Act facing a maximum of 12 months imprisonment or a fine not exceeding $10,000.

Anyone who may have seen any bright lights being shone up towards aircraft or who may have experienced similar activity while driving around Hamilton is asked to contact Police on 07 8586200.