Lasers Still A Problem

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The publicity has died down but the FAA says people are still pointing lasers at airplanes and it intends to crack down on those responsible. Last Monday, at least 16 aircraft were lased near Detroit Metropolitan Airport, the second such rash of incidents there in six months. "We treat it as a very serious matter," FBI Special Agent Dawn Clenney said. "Laser beams can disorient pilots responsible for an airplane full of passengers." There were 305 laser pointing incidents between late 2004 and early 2006, according to The Associated Press. Meanwhile, the New Jersey man who became the unwitting poster child for laser incidents has been put on probation for shining a light into the cockpit of a Cessna Citation. David Banach, of Parsippany, N.J., gained national attention in late 2004 after he was arrested for first lasing the business jet and then the police helicopter sent to investigate. Banach said at the time he was just pointing at stars but he eventually pleaded guilty to violating the Patriot Act. In a tearful statement to the court, Banach said he'll never commit another crime. U.S. District Judge John C. Lifland was apparently convinced. "The public need not worry about further crimes being committed by Mr. Banach," Lifland said before imposing the two years of probation. So, maybe cracking down starting ... Now!