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India: Red lights thought impossible to be lasers

Indian aviation officials have doubts that a mysterious red light, being aimed at aircraft landing at Chennai Airport, is a laser. A spokesperson said it is “impossible to track an aircraft flying at high altitude using laser pointer lights.... Laser is an invisible spectrum and cannot be targeted at aircraft flying at high altitudes”. A press account noted that aircraft are at “over 1,000 feet while coming in to land.” The article also said that planes overseas are often targeted using “green LED lights” but this has not been reported in India.

From the
Times of India

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: The spokesperson does not seem well informed. Lasers can emit visible light; red and green are the most common colors for pointers and handheld lasers. Further, light from a pointer or handheld laser can be visible to pilots at many thousands or even tens of thousands of feet. LED lights have a much broader beam and thus far, there have been no reports of an LED flashlight or device being used to interfere with pilot vision while airborne.

UPDATE, June 26 2011: Two supervisors of a construction site were detained for questioning. Police found that employees used pointers “as a communication tool at the site. The laser beams are pointed at colleagues to call them over instead of using phones or walkie-talkies.” The lasers cost about Rs 500. A local planetarium and the Indian Institution of Technology were cleared, since officials told police they had not used lasers at night. From the Times of India