Sioux Center, Iowa — A medical helicopter, during a late Sunday night flight over Sioux County, reportedly had someone on the ground shine a laser pointer into the aircraft’s cockpit.

Sioux County authorities say the aircraft’s pilot reported someone shining a green laser at the helicopter from a ground location a couple of miles northeast of Sioux Center. Authorities say a Sioux County Deputy was immediately dispatched to the area, but was unable to confirm any suspects, and discovered all the residences in the area were dark.

Aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft is a federal crime. Federal law prohibits aiming aims the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft, or at the flight path of such an aircraft. Federal law calls for an unspecified fine, or a term of five years in a federal prison, or both. The federal statute defines a laser pointer as, “any device designed or used to amplify electromagnetic radiation by stimulated emission that emits a beam designed to be used by the operator as a pointer or highlighter to indicate, mark, or identify a specific position, place, item, or object.”

Aiming a laser pointer at any aircraft can, potentially, blind the pilot and could cause the aircraft to crash.

Fortunately there was no injury or damage in the Sunday night Sioux County incident, but it’s an extremely dangerous practice.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons


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