Children's Mercy Hospital joined with federal and local law enforcement Tuesday at Wheeler Downtown Airport in Kansas City, Mo., to promote a 90-day crackdown on people who point hand-held lasers at flying aircraft.
Children's Mercy displayed its “Just for Kids” helicopter as an example of the kind of aircraft that could be downed by a misplaced laser beam in a pilot's eyes.
Kansas City police helicopter pilot Cord Laws said he could recount five times when the police chopper has been lasered, including during one difficult landing on a helipad.
“Especially at the time when he did it – when we were going in for a landing – the attention of the pilot at that time has to be entirely on the plane, on what he is doing. The consequences could have been very grave at that time,” Laws told the assembled officers and reporters.
Kansas City FBI office agent-in charge Michael Kaste said during the 90-day crackdown, the FBI is offering a $10,00 reward for information leading to the arrest of any person directing a laser beam at an airborne plane or helicopter.
The offense is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.