As game, pals aimed lasers at Orange sheriff's copter, officials say
They had a friendly competition going: Who could hit the most airplanes with the green laser light?The only problem is, pointing lasers at aircraft is illegal — and dangerous, officials say.And the two friends happened to flash the lights into an Orange County Sheriff's Office helicopter, deputies said.
Florida is known for its bizarre inhabitants. From the infamous "zombie" attack to the crack-smoking woman who burned down The Senator, here are some of the strangest stories. Rolando Espinoza, 22, and Shannan Winemiller, 21, told deputies they were messing around with new laser pointers early Tuesday morning and wanted to test the distance, so they pointed the green lights into the sky, according to an arrest report. Bystanders told them to point the lights at airplanes, the report states.Winemiller's laser hit an airplane first, Espinoza told deputies. That started a competition to see who could hit the most.
At one point, both of their lasers hit an aircraft, which turned out to be a Sheriff's Office helicopter being flown by Jason Sams and Master Deputy Patrick Deans, the report states. The pilots immediately alerted deputies on the ground, who arrested the friends outside a house on Stonewall Jackson Road off South Semoran Boulevard.
Espinoza told deputies he thought he heard that it's illegal to point lasers at airplanes, but he wasn't sure at the time.
Pointing a laser at an aircraft is a state and federal crime, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, according to the FBI. Special Agent Dave Couvertier, spokesman for the FBI in Tampa, said lasers create several issues, including permanently damaging a pilot's eyesight or temporarily blinding them, which could lead to a loss of control or even a crash.
The laser starts as a small stream of light coming out of the pointer but expands as it travels before hitting an aircraft and reflecting throughout a flight deck, Couvertier said. "Many times, people think it's funny to do it and just don't realize the consequences," he said. "It is a serious federal offense, and ignorance of the law is not going to be an excuse for anybody."
Sheriff's Office Lt. Nate VanNess oversees the department's aviation section and said he had a laser pointed at him about five years ago while flying recreationally. He said the light is disorienting, distracting and blinding as it floods the flight deck. "Imagine you're going down a dark road, it's nighttime, and you come around a curve, and there's a guy in on-coming traffic, and he will not turn off his high beams," VanNess said. "… Now multiply that several times, and you'll get the factor of what it's like. You can't see the road or, in this case, the runway or an obstruction."
On average, VanNess said the Sheriff's Office investigates two or three reports per week of lasers pointed at airplanes. Generally someone from the plane's flight crew will report the incident to the control tower, which then lets the Sheriff's Office know. Depending on the weather, time of day and other factors, the Sheriff's Office will then launch a helicopter to investigate, VanNess said.
So far this year, the FBI has received 47 reports of laser incidents in Central and Southwest Florida, including 16 in the Orlando area, Couvertier said. The Federal Aviation Administration reported 37 incidents from airliners in the Orlando area in 2014, data show. No injuries were reported in any of those cases, and all but two involved a green laser.
Couvertier said those numbers are most likely low, as laser-strike incidents are typically underreported, especially when it happens to small aircraft or private pilots.The FBI is asking anyone who sees a laser being pointed at an aircraft to call 911 immediately.
"I know people don't really understand and think it's not a big deal," VanNess said. "They've never had it done to them." (Fonte: Orlando Sentinel)Resumo: Policiais da região de Tampa, Flórida prenderam dois caras apontando lasers para aviões. O infelizes tiveram a "sorte" de apontar o laser justo para o helicóptero do xerife que mandou um rádio para a polícia em terra que prendeu os dois moleques que estavam brincando de "qual laser vai mais longe" apontando para aviões. A pena pra quem faz isso é de USD 250 mil, 5 anos na prisão além de se enquadrar em crime federal por colocar em risco o tráfico aéreo.
Agora vamos traçar um paralelo ao Brasil. Todo domingo de manhã sou acordado as 6h com barulho de fogos de artifício vindos de balões voando bem na rota das operações do aeroporto de Congonhas, um dos mais movimentados do país de onde operam todos os voos da rota mais conturbada da América Latina, a ponte aérea Rio-São Paulo. O simples fato de alguém lançar no céu um balão, uma coisa sem propósito algum além de incendiar coisas e fazer barulho de fogos numa manhã de domingo já deveria ser motivo suficiente pra cadeia, o agravante de fazer isso na rota de aviões então... Nem sei qual seria a melhor punição pra uma imbecilidade dessas. Aliás, isso é sim motivo pra cadeia, mas quantas pessoas são realmente presas fazendo isso? E se são presas, quantas ficam na cadeia? Esse é o grande problema do Brasil, não é a falta de leis, é a impunidade delas.
Lá em Tampa a molecada foi pega mirando laser em avião! Pare pra pensar o quão mais difícil é isso que pegar nêgo que solta balão. A galera do balão é organizada, tem comunidade em Facebook, moram na mesma região... Não tem dificuldade alguma pra coibir isso mas mesmo assim ninguém se importa. Sem contar que o risco de um balão atingir um avião é muito maior e mais perigoso que um laser, que embora possa cegar um piloto, o avião tem condições de manter a rota sozinho.
No Brasil não existe investigação policial. Você sofre um crime, vai pra delegacia, encara horas de fila num ambiente lixoso, faz um BO e fim. O caso morre ali, não há investigação pra pegar o criminoso e coibir reincidências. Do que isso adianta?
É por essas e outras que chegamos onde chegamos...