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Federation of Indian Pilots asks DGCA to act on the hazard caused by laser attacks on pilots

Print edition : Aug 05, 2022 T+T-

Federation of Indian Pilots asks DGCA to act on the hazard caused by laser attacks on pilots

An aircraft lands amid dense clouds at the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport on June 1.

An aircraft lands amid dense clouds at the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport on June 1. | Photo Credit: -

The incidence of people hitting aircraft with lasers, incapacitating pilots by causing them to go temporarily blind, is on the increase across the world.

Taking cognisance of what is a worldwide problem that is increasingly, beginning to happen in India, the Federation of Indian Pilots (FIP) has asked the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to implement “proper legislation” that will “provide an effective deterrence to laser attacks”.

The pilot body has said that the hazard posed by laser attacks against civil aircraft, specifically the deliberate targeting of the flight crew with laser illumination to disrupt the safe operation of the aircraft, is a matter of deep concern. These strikes, the FIP said, can result in “distraction, disruption, disorientation and, in extreme cases, blindness and incapacitation”.

In a letter written by the FIP’s president Captain Surinder Mehta and addressed to Arun Kumar, Director General DGCA, the FIP stated: “India should establish and implement regulations, practices, and procedures to safeguard civil aviation against laser attack on aircraft and to ensure that the public is fully aware of the seriousness and possible consequences of these attacks.”

Expressing deep concern that presently there was no legislation in place to prosecute perpetrators of a laser attack, the 5,000- member strong FIP explained that even “if the local police manage to locate and catch the perpetrators of a laser attack, prosecution may not be possible”.

The FIP is demanding that any laser attack leading to an injury to a pilot’s eye be classified as a ‘Serious Incident’ and be subjected to appropriate investigation by the Air Accident Investigation Board.

The FIP has explained that although most attacks happen when the aircraft is in close proximity to the ground, events are now being recorded at altitudes in excess of 8,000 feet. Stated the FIP’s letter: “So far when a pilot has been attacked on final approach, they have been able to hand over controls to the other pilot to complete the landing safely. We are extremely concerned that as the power, range, and divergence of the beams increase, we will see events where both pilots are effectively incapacitated close to the ground, with likely catastrophic consequences.”