Boys in custody after allegedly aiming laser at helicopter pilot

Friday, March 18, 2011 at 6:28pm
Staff reports

Three male teenagers are facing felony reckless endangerment charges after they allegedly pointed a laser beam Thursday night at a Vanderbilt LifeFlight helicopter pilot as he flew over the Donelson area.

Metro police said Friday that one of the teen’s parents contacted police Friday after learning of his son’s involvement. The boys, two 15-year-olds and a 16-year-old, are in custody. 

Also, the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating complaints from three separate commercial pilots who reported that persons on the ground Thursday night aimed a laser at their aircraft as they approached Nashville International Airport.



6 Comments on this post:

By: GJL on 3/19/11 at 4:15

I have to give this boy's father credit for reporting him to the authorities. It is time to make young people accountable for their actions. Kudos to you sir!

By: bobcnote on 3/19/11 at 5:51

I realize these kids were being stupid doing this, but a FELONY?? I am in my mid 40's, and I wouldnt have thought this would be against the law or even really reach high enough to hit a flying object! and as far as blinding people with a laser pointer, I always thought that was one of those myths.
Yes, they were wrong to be "Goofing" around like that, but I doubt they knew that what they were doing was as bad as I "Suppose" it is now!!

By: Wonder Bear on 3/19/11 at 8:38

Hand held lasers can be had in strengths high enough to catch a matchhead on fire - from a quarter-mile away. This one costs $40 and can burst a balloon or light a match:

The story doesn't state the power level of the laser in question. It does however make it clear that it was strong enough for a three ariline pilots to see it from their positions in the air - pretty freakin' strong, then.

And what happens if and when a pilot is permanently blinded? Well, since he or she isn't likely to survive the subsequent crash of the plane or helicopter, I guess we don't have to worry about that part of the equation, much.

By: MocMewn on 3/19/11 at 8:50

Kudos to the parent who is teaching his son to be responsible for his actions. Next question....If these laser pointers are so dangerous, why are they so cheap and readily available to anyone? Yet another reason for me to not shop at WalMart.

By: RTungsten on 3/19/11 at 11:24

Just for clarification, these kids were pointing the lasers at planes as they were in descent and approaching the landing runway. It happened about a block from my house and I'm about two miles from the airport. When planes fly over my house I'd guess they are no more than 1000 feet off the ground. Not a wise move, glad the Vandy LifeFlight caught the kids being really stupid. Throw the book at them, IMO.

By: budlight on 3/21/11 at 8:37

This is not the first instance of someone pointing a laser and being arrested. I agree with MocMewn: Why are they available to kids in stores such as WalMart? And yes, kudos to a responsible parent. And it is a felony so they should be charged. After all, WHAT was their goal in pointing the laser at a plane or helicopter? They knew what they were doing.