Greek pilots see red from laser pen pranks

Aug 19, 2009
The control tower of the Athens International airport seen through a window in 2008. Greece's civil aviation pilots on Wednesday called for a crackdown on laser pen pranksters who have endangered a growing number of plane landings around the country.

Greece's civil aviation pilots on Wednesday called for a crackdown on laser pen pranksters who have endangered a growing number of plane landings around the country.

The pilots' association raised the alarm after a spate of incidents where teenagers flashed laser pens at incoming plane cockpits.

"This has been going on for around two years, apparently it's become fashionable among certain youngsters and the incidents are increasing in frequency," association chairman Grigoris Constantellos told AFP.

Around 30 laser pranks have been recorded this year, and the situation is more dangerous in summer when pilots need to be particularly careful due to seasonal high winds, Constantellos said.

"Having the pilot blinded for three or four seconds during landing can really create a difficult situation," he said.

The two last incidents occurred on the islands of Rhodes and Crete, two of Greece's main travel destinations which thousands of tourists visit every year.

Police arrested two teenagers on Rhodes over the weekend after they forced a domestic flight to abandon its first landing approach.

Another teenager in Iraklio, Crete, was placed under judicial supervision earlier this month.

Incidents have also been reported on the island of Corfu -- another major travel destination -- and in the northern city of Thessaloniki, where in June the local prosecutor ordered police to step up patrols around Makedonia Airport.

The sale of laser pens is nominally illegal in Greece but their use is particularly popular in sports stadiums where fans use them on rival players.

pens were also used against riot police in the youth protests that rocked Greece in December.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Cash could be phased out within a decade, says expert

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Taiwan man arrested for cyber love scams

May 27, 2009

A Taiwanese man has been arrested for allegedly swindling more than 200 million Taiwan dollars (6.25 million US) from 50 women in one of the largest cyber scams in the country, police said.

Recommended for you

Why your laptop battery won't kill you

8 hours ago

News on Tuesday that major U.S. airlines are no longer going to ship powerful lithium-ion batteries might lead some to fret about the safety of their personal electronic devices.

Visa, MasterCard moving into mobile pay in Africa

8 hours ago

Americans may just be getting used to mobile pay, but consumers in many African countries have been paying with their phones for years. Now payment processors Visa and MasterCard want to get a slice of that market, and are ...

Wireless show highlights: Eyes on Apple, Blackberry

10 hours ago

As a major wireless show continues this week in Barcelona, Spain, Apple is highlighting the capabilities of its iPhone cameras with a gallery of photos taken by its users around the world.

Phone firms and the quest for the 5G Holy Grail

11 hours ago

Lightning-quick downloads, driverless cars and remote surgery: telecom firms are racing to develop a new generation of "5G" mobile networks that could start to change the world in five years.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.