Laser strike against a Police helicopter caught on tape

Using a laser pointer against an aircraft is never a good idea and it can lead to an immediate arrest, especially if you strike a Police helicopter equipped with an IR TV camera.

The following video, released by the FBI, was taken on the night of Apr.27, 2010, when a 24-year old guy, Justin Stouder, was testing a laser pointer with a friend from his suburban St. Louis yeard. He was aiming at a distant tower when a Metro Air Support helicopter appeared 1.5 miles away. Few seconds later Stouder pointed the laser at the chopper and within minutes, police officers converged on his home and arrested him.


St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officer Doug Reinholz, who was piloting the helo with St. Louis County Police Sgt. Dan Cunningham on the FBI website says:

“People don’t realize by the time the laser hits us, the beam of light has grown, it’s no longer a pinpoint. And the plexiglass on the helicopter disperses the light even more. It was very disorientating.”

According to those who have suffered a “high light intoxication” on one eye, the laser appears in the cockpit as a flash of a camera in a pitch black car at night.

Interfering with a flying aircraft in the US can lead to a maximum of 20 years in prison, five years of supervised release, and pay a $250,000 fine.

In January 2011, the FAA announced that more than 2,800 reports of lasers strikes on aircraft have been recorded in 2010. In Italy, during the second half of 2010, 264 occurrences (involving both civil and military planes) have been recorded.  In the UK someone dared to point the laser to some AH-64 attack helos.

However, such kind of events have become quite frequent all around the world and laser attacks against planes during landing have been occurring almost daily.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.