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Qantas pilot dazzled by laser

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The Age, Melb


Sean Nicholls


August 9, 2007 - 10:12AM


The pilot of a Qantas Boeing 767 from Sydney carrying 185 passengers to Darwin was targeted by a powerful laser beam, prompting an investigation by federal police and aviation authorities.


The incident, just before midnight on August 3, resulted in the pilot having to fly the next day's return leg from Darwin to Sydney as a passenger.


A Qantas spokesman, Lloyd Quartermain, said last night that the pilot, who has not been named, had been referred to Qantas's doctor for assessment. Mr Quartermain declined to comment on whether the pilot was injured. He said the decision to replace him as pilot for the return flight was "a precautionary measure".


"We had a report of a laser beam affecting a pilot operating QF486 Sydney to Darwin on August 3," Mr Quartermain told the Herald.


"He landed the aircraft safely and the incident has been reported to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and federal police, as is usual practice."


Mr Quartermain said federal police were making inquiries, but he refused to comment on a suggestion that the laser was emitted from military equipment.


He said the crew acted immediately when they saw the laser targeting the aircraft.


"As soon as the crew saw the light they alerted the local tower, who in turn alerted the local authorities," he said.


It was revealed this week that motorists in nine cars were accidentally put in the sights of a laser guidance system being tested by F/A-18 fighter jets on the NSW North Coast on May 28.


An investigation concluded that the chances of injury were remote, with the risk of eye exposure considered low.


The general manager of the Australian and International Pilots Association, Peter Somerville, was unaware of the Qantas incident but said there had been "a spate of these incidents over the past few months".



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Guest Fred Bear

Just heard Qantas QF21 departing Sydney on departures 129.7 complaining that a green laser hit the flightdeck at around 2210 tonight around the Parramatta area. These idiots have to be stopped. Aircraft involved was VH-QPF an A330 to Tokyo. These idiots need to be stopped.



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Guest Fred Bear

I think ATC notified the police airwing last night but these people are not stupid enough to hang around while a police chopper approaches overhead with a massive spotlight on. Only chance would be if someone was 'caught in the act' on the ground. Even then our cops are usually too busy doing other things and by the time they get there the offender is well and truly gone 068_angry.gif.cc43c1d4bb0cee77bfbafb87fd434239.gif



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