29 Sep 2008

Officials consider how to stop laser attacks on aircraft

6:42 am on 29 September 2008

An official working group is looking at ways to stop lasers being directed at landing aircraft, which pilots say is dangerous and stupid.

The Aviation Industry Association says there is, on average, one case each week of the devices intentionally striking small planes, passenger jets and helicopters.

Transport Safety Minister Harry Duynhoven says he is waiting for recommendations from a working group which includes police and the Civil Aviation Authority.

Mr Duynhoven says there would be problems with a complete ban because of legitimate uses for lasers.

Rick Lucas, chief executive of the commercial operator HELiPRO, says pilots approaching Paraparaumu have had lasers directed at them several times.

He says it generally happens when the aircraft is on final approach to land, which is potentially very dangerous.