Laser danger for planes

A pilot who was landing a plane at Wellington airport last night was nearly blinded by a laser. He suffered temporary blindness and headaches. Someone also shone a laser at an international flight coming into Auckland airport last night and another flight very early this morning. A helicopter pilot also reported a laser was directed at him.

Pilots are very worried there will be an accident one day because of laser strike. Temporary blindness is dangerous when a pilot is trying to land a plane.

Police can sometimes follow the path of the laser and find the person who is shining it. This person could go to prison for 1 year or have to pay a fine of $10,000. Sometimes the person is using a laser pointer to look at stars and does not realise the light in the sky is a plane, not a star.

Lasers which are stronger than 1 milliwatt are not sold in New Zealand but they are available on the internet.


• laser pointer – looks like a pen, has a battery. It has a strong beam of light which is often used to show something on a screen.
• temporary – for a short time, not permanent
• blind – can’t see; usually an adjective but can be a verb, especially passive e.g. someone is blinded by a laser