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Man Sentenced After Laser Pointed at Delta Air Lines Aircraft

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After the incident involving James Link from Rochester, MN, the vision of one of the pilots was impacted for several hours. On Thursday last week, a federal judge in Wisconsin sentenced the man to two years in prison for an incident that took place in 2021. (aeroxplorer.com) More...

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TorstenHoff
Torsten Hoff 39
Makes you wonder how this would have turned out with a single pilot as proposed by some airlines.
ewrcap
David Beattie 3
Second pilot on ground would recover the plane. Several high end private planes are now equipped with Garmin “Home Safe” that take control of the airplane, flnds the nearest suitable airport and auto lands the airplane. It has performed quite well. We already have CPDLC that beams up new routes and altitudes. The pilot must press an ACCEPT button. This could be done electronically pretty easily.
SkyEye184
SkyEye184 1
Dave, what aircraft are you in now? I like the sound of that system you lucky guy.
phurford
Paul Hurford 5
Even worse would be that that single pilot ate the fish for dinner and had heen hurling all over the cockpit when Mr. Link decided to LAZE the cockpit. I wonder how the NTSB would figure out that combination. <Sorry... for me it has been a very mind boggling day so I'm not quite myself>

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

ghstark
Greg S 33
We really can't have nice things. No matter what the nice thing is, some thousand or so people in this world of 8+ billion will be twisted enough to want to ruin it, smart enough to figure out how, and brave and/or stupid enough to give it a try.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

baingm
Gary Bain 9
How about civility, honor, integrity, common sense, etc., etc., etc.
phurford
Paul Hurford 10
A very long time ago, my dad and best friend as well told me: Common sense is so rare today, people have started calling it wisdom."
SuzeBLAKE
Suze BLAKE 2
not lazing a pilot's eyes
dwight666
D Chambers 2
How about Pootin, Xi, Kim, for starters?
electroman00
electroman00 -1
Putin not Pootin
dwight666
D Chambers -1
How about Pootin, Xi, Kim, for starters? Also laser-shiners.
electroman00
electroman00 0
Associating laser-shiners with dictators around the world!

Suggest you see a doctor!
patpylot
patrick baker 30
this idiot will have some time to enjoy federal meals and lodging, which ought to compell him to find his finer self, write some poetry, and make new friends. Two years seems a bit underwhelming , considering the danger he placed the pilot's vision into and the safety of the passengers from a distressed flight crew.
paulfharris
Paul F Harris 14
Big Bubba's new bitch
theaustenite
Mootaz Elnozahy 12
Given the quality of the pool of friends that will be available to him over there, I am not sure that he will find his finer self or write poetry :-)
pilot62
Scott Campbell 23
Should come with a 10 year flight ban as well.
1oo's of single pilots every night, Just Fed Ex's Cessna Caravans alone
vblue0115
Vaughn Blue Jr 42
This idiot deserved more than 2 years for endangering the lives of all on board that plane.

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tgrugle
Thomas Grugle 18
When I learned that about 5% of us are psychopaths I knew we were all screwed. These kind of people are not trainable to become human.
briffaud
Denis Briffaud 26
How about 2 years, but in a chained gang, picking rubbish ?
electroman00
electroman00 -3
Alabama or Kentucky
baingm
Gary Bain 1
What's that supposed to mean???
Bokhans
Hans Björkman 12
Put them on a no-fly list for ever.
jimjallen
Jim Allen 5
You’re making a big assumption that he’ll ever have the money for a plane ticket.
jetbluelisa
Lisa Davis 22
That pilot could have lost his entire career due to this. They are required to have perfect vision. Lasers can inflict permanent damage. I support more jail time, an enormous fine and the no fly list. Oh, and a check up from the neck up!
electroman00
electroman00 4
"They are required to have perfect vision"

Not True...

Corrected vision yes...which is not perfect vision!
RainbowRiver
Phil Nolden 1
Well, you still don't want to blind the flight crew. And if the eye damage was bad enough, the Delta guy's career might have been over, regardless.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

SkyHorse
Randal Horsley 4
Not sure where you’re getting your info but that is incorrect. Minimum damage and can’t damage are very different. With all the misleading info flying around by Google, Wikipedia, and best friend know it alls we need to be very careful with info that can harm. Gentle reminder. Love y’all. Pilots got to stick together.
RWSlater
Ron Slater 2
I bet you're fun at parties
victorbravo77
victorbravo77 1
Heavily modified and I wouldn't want to be on the end of an OTC laser at all. They're leaky in a bad way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxNICce11Cw&pp=ygUQc3R5cm9weXJvIGxhc2Vycw%3D%3D
RedCapAndy
Andrew Botwick 0
Be for all that… let’s start with castration!
PetsMum
Carol Smith 10
When will judges set the punishment to fit the crime? This moron sounds like a waste of space on several levels so nobody would miss him for at least twenty years!
BillWilson
Bill Wilson 1
Yup, could be considered attempted murder (the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another) if you look at the possible loss of life from a crash. Using the laser pointer proves intent, and if the aircraft goes down as the result of such idiocy it was premeditated.
RECOR10
RECOR10 -9
Wait, you mean that in some areas crimes are punished??? So, in NY, IL, CA this would be a catch and release then right? FL and TX life sentence?
youngie63
Steve Young 8
At least he received a custodial sentence. In Australia he would have got a slap on the wrist with a fine.
devsfan
ken young 7
Sentence is much too light.
15 years in federal prison.
carlosmessarra
Carlos Messarra 6
Only 2 years? for putting so many lives in dander?
electroman00
electroman00 -8
For " putting so many lives in dander?"

Oh...50 years minimum!
Simodennis
Dennis Simo 10
While jail is a great place for that idiot to reel reflect on his stupidity, it’s horribly expensive for the rest of us to maintain. Rather a shorter visit, say a couple months where he can meet Bubba and instil a great off return followed by a lifetime ban on flying and a lifetime of paying back a huge fine with those proceeds going to the pilots or another benevolent cause is my preferred punishment
Simodennis
Dennis Simo 3
Oops, some typos. Sorry. Meant ‘idiot to really reflect’ and ‘instil a great fear of returning’
LeanderWilliams
Leander Williams 5
The sad part is that these people live among us and we have no idea what other dastardly deeds they perform at the expense of others. Imagine them shining a laser at cards on a freeway.
WH333
Wally Hampton 5
On our last trip out of Buenos Aires EZE on AA it was night and we were told to keep our blinds down. I thought that was a bit odd, but compiled... mostly... I peaked out after a minute or so and we had some altitude, and could see green laser lights coming up from the ground. None hit my window directly and I could not tell if the light actually hit the plane at all, but I could see the change in brightness indicating they were pointed to and fro in our direction. Nothing was ever mentioned about them and I'm still not sure if the blinds down ask was related to the laser light or it was just a coincidence, but I am suspicious that it had something to do with it. If so, seems the crew had a heads up on this issue whether or not a one off or ongoing issue there.
dwight666
D Chambers 2
Seriously, blinds down is so that sky- and night-gazers like me can be inconvenienced, so the rest of the plane can watch reruns of "Cheers" and "Seinfeld". I am serious. Meanwhile, on the old South African Airways, it was Blinds-Up during landings. This was so firefighters could see in. Seems OK to me, plus the beauty of Capetown from the air should not be missed.
paulfharris
Paul F Harris 12
Two years in prison is a bloody joke sentence and the bastard should have been sent to prison for 20+years
All judges need to grow a spine and start dishing out harsher sentences
Nothing More Nothing Less

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

electroman00
electroman00 -2
"Hell, you can shoot someone in the streets and NOT get jail time."

That was Rump that said that!
electroman00
electroman00 -6
Yeah baby yeah...30 years...

Did you know stupid people say stupid things!?
kginsberg
kginsberg 1
mirror mirror on the wall. you keep forgetting to take your meds.
pilot62
Scott Campbell 8
Should come with a 10 year flight ban as well.
172geezer
Ollie Fick 4
good! Way to go. Congrats due the judge.
PeterHR
Some people just don't realise the dangers of illuminating a plane with a laser pointer - needs education.

There are also others who do realise and do it as a rebellious act (idiots) or deliberate terrorism

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

kginsberg
kginsberg 1
why dont you take your meds?
jimjallen
Jim Allen 7
This guy was 42 years old.. there’s no rehab here.
buckm44
Burt Martin 3
Have to agree with Vaughn Blue Jr and Paul Harris on this. He could have been charged with attempted murder. As for the spelling police; are you British? Instil is the British spelling, instill the American spelling....try inculcate my friend...no malice intended.
electroman00
electroman00 -1
"He could have been charged with attempted murder."

Yeah how...
bingobanner
Russ Brown 5
I was laserd via my rear view mirror by someone following behind me. Blinded, startled, but managed to stop. Luckily no traffic and only a block to my house. Recovered a little vision in one eye and made it home.
electroman00
electroman00 -9
Don't think so...

The geometry would need to be perfect with two moving vehicles.

Intensity decreases when reflected via mirrors.
Most battery lasers are eye safe after 50 ft. doubtful you were driving within that 50ft window.

Someone holding laser while in a car behind you and targeting your eye is next to impossible for any duration to effect eyes in any way.

This is Not credible!

But it is a nice story!
yaledad63
Bill Conn 3
You are in defense of the act itself? Forget the "eye damage", what possible good can come from shining any kind of light on or towards any aircraft?

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

GreggB57
Gregg Bender 8
Oddly, I can't tell whether you're a troll or an idiot.
Maybe it's because you don't shine the laser pointer right at their eyes? And not at night when their irises are the most open for night vision? Getting lasered in the eye(s) has caused pilots to sustain retinal damage that can last for months or even for lifetime.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

tjoneillMO
Tim ONeill 3
This device is not a Class 2 low-power laser pointer. It's a Class 3 dangerous laser device due to its power output in a visible wavelength. Only Class 4 infrared lasers are more dangerous as they are invisible. This is a dangerous situation at night and could blind both pilots even if only temporary.
electroman00
electroman00 -4
A class 4 Laser 1.5W is eye safe after 1000 ft...

The plane was at 9000 ft...how safe was it!

The Plane boss...the Plane!!

You people are funny!
electroman00
electroman00 -6
https://www.laserpointersafety.com/laserclasses.html

Eye Damage from a Class 4 laser at a range of 9000 ft is near zero aka IMPOSSIBLE!!

IOW The fanout at that range from a battery operated laser will not inhibit vision.

Lighting up the cockpit ceiling in >>>Blue Laser<<< isn't going to effect your ability to land an airplane if you have 28 years of experience.

If you claim it did...I'll claim and prove you're a liar!
GreggB57
Gregg Bender 4
I'm sure that if they catch you doing it, the FAA and judge will be interested in hearing your arguments.
electroman00
electroman00 -4
Doing IT

Doing What
electroman00
electroman00 -7
The idiots have downvoted you...so I quote you!

Oddly, my cat and puppy have zero issues in the same situations with a laser pointer...maybe they are not looking to play a victim card?????

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

d0ugparker
Doug Parker 2
I'm entertained by the number of responses that are single line summaries and incomplete sentence fragments offered as commentary to a parent interaction so complex and impossible to summarize that it becomes entertainment itself.

I'm hoping the trend to über-simplify and emojify everything bottoms out soon, and the longer and more time consuming story telling returns. That's a level of *normal* I'd like to get back to.
GeorgeDinius
George Dinius 1
If you’re entertained, then we’re good, right?
electroman00
electroman00 -2
Welcome to AmeriKa !!

lol
SkyEye184
SkyEye184 2
My right seater was hit at DAL. It glanced off the side-window but lit up that side of the cockpit with a flash. Almost like taking fire and a hit from close range but without the clank of impact. Extremely bright. It Affected him for a couple of hours. The company changed our schedule the next day as a precaution. Fortunately no apparent long-term issue. He was LUCKY. No arrest. Very Dangerous. We were on Left DW to 13L at 3,000 MSL. This happens far too often. Hang-em High! Make them pay.
rktompsettn8juq
Robert Tompsett 2
Can't fix stupid!!!
lds760
Lynn Strickland 3
What really needs to happen is enforcement of laser safety regulations so that these idiots can't get anything beyond cat toys. You can order some pretty dangerous devices on line (most come from China) that violate nearly every US laser safety regulation written. The US CDRH (part of the FDA) has essentially zero enforcement resources, so it's pretty much a free-for-all.
electroman00
electroman00 -4
"You can order some pretty dangerous devices on line (most come from China) that violate nearly every US laser safety regulation written."

Of course you have proof of that statement...right!?
carste10
carste10 3
Look at what's available on eBay if you don't believe.
electroman00
electroman00 -3
And none of those lasers are capable of injuring a pilots eye or taking down an aircraft...period

You need at least a massive piece of hardware and $100,000 to get it done!

Nobody is selling one on ebay...I wonder why!

Do the Math!

Now what was your point...I forgot fishing for something?

LOL
baingm
Gary Bain 1
He got off light. The stupid SOB should have gotten 20 years.
SkyEye184
SkyEye184 1
My right seater was hit at DAL. It glanced of the sidewindow but lit up that side of the cockpit with a flash. Almost like taking fire and a hit from close range but without the clank of impact. Extremely bright. It Affected him for a couple of hours. Company changed our schedule the next day as a precaution. Fortunately know apparent long term issue. He was LUCKY. No arrest. Very Dangerous. We were on Left DW to 13L at 3,000 MSL. This happens far too often. Hang-em High! Make them pay.
mbuttery63
Mark Buttery 1
Pilots need better protection from this kind of interference.
lgdavis113
Larry Davis 1
I guess this guy also gets kicks when bashing little puppies heads…..
macclad1
macclad1 1
I have a great, fair, equitable sentence for the jackwagon. He loves the laser SOOOO much, clamp his eyelids open and point it back at HIM! Heck, he can even hold the laser, as he has demonstrated a fondness for such things. Change my mind!
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 1
For those using ad blockers, the DOJ link has the whole story. https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdwi/pr/minnesota-man-sentenced-2-years-aiming-laser-aircraft#:~:text=%E2%80%93%20Timothy%20M.%20O'Shea,charge%20on%20January%2012%2C%202023.

While 2 years is a good start, he ha not learned a lesson from his past criminal activities and sadly, I doubt he will learn from this and he will keep on performing stupid acts such as this. Next time, he needs more time.
JacobAccurso
Jacob Accurso 1
Never eat the fish if offered on a commercial flight.
KennyFlys
Ken Lane 1
"According to figures from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), incidents involving lasers being aimed at planes and helicopters reached a record high in 2021, with a 41 percent increase from the previous year."

Clearly the media idiots are not getting out word enough on the risk of such an act and the penalty for doing so.
Nultech
Nultech 2
No better way to get help from folks than to refer to them as "idiots". Works in politics, conversations, and postings.
tpclark
Thomas Clark 1
There
kerimparrot
Mike Williams 1
Another internet story that does not require gymnastics-https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/crime/james-link-rochester-mn-delta-plane-b2317594.html
haunter4032002
C B 1
Two Years?!?!? Who here thinks a crime like that will deter these types of people with a slap-on-the-wrist sentence like that? They'll get out early with good behavior just to rinse and repeat. They'll continue to think that the justice system is a no more than a joke.
n7777r
Derek Vaughn -1
I'd say 3 years minimum. With a couple of beat downs in the joint.
electroman00
electroman00 -1
My opinion of you will diminish with your post count!
Propwash122
Peter Fuller 0
Several commenters here criticize the 2-year sentence as too light. The squawked article doesn’t tell us what the actual charge was, and the range of penalties under that charge available to the sentencing judge. Without that info, it’s hard to reach an informed opinion on whether 2 years is too little, too much, or about right.
electroman00
electroman00 1
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/39A

States may or may not have their own pathetic laws on this matter.

https://www.laserpointersafety.com/laserclasses.html


It's a shame people don't understand the law before they comment.

It's a shame people don't understand lasers before they comment.

It's a shame our lawmakers don't understand lasers and write laws that are so pathetically bad as this one!

It's a shame this guys lawyer doesn't understand the law and lasers better.

It's a shame a lot of people posted in this thread with anger/hatred instead of...

knowledge/experience!

It's a shame that this is happening in America...it's an embarrassment!

It's a shame because it's the reason why we are not #1 at a lot of things!

We need sensible Laser LAWS !!

We need sensible GUN LAWS !!

We need sensible Medical LAWS !!

We need sensible Aviation LAWS !!

We need sensible LAWS !!

Not one person has ever died world wide from a Laser Pointer and ya'll want to lock em up for decades.

Fellow shoots two people dead with illegal obtained assault weapon and you set him free.

A Real Shame & Embarrassment to America!

hth
jprogers
John Rogers 3
It'a shame you have nothing to add to the conversation.

It's a shame you behave like a troll.

It's a shame that a person using a legally possessed rifle to defend himself from three attackers makes you pee your pants.

It's really a shame this site doesn't have a block/ignore button for individuals such as yourself.

Have a great day
jimsarushfan
Huck Finn 0
Two years is a good sentence for this idiot! It not only sends a message to others who might want to do the same and it gives this moron time to reflect on his misdeed as well. Rochester Minnesota is a nice little community!!
electroman00
electroman00 -1
https://www.laserpointersafety.com/laserclasses.html
jgoedker
jgoedker -2
I think all we're may doing here is turning him into a real criminal. Let's face it, our penal system isn't known for turning out model citizens and costs society a lot of money. Not knowing him or any idea what his thinking was, (I would guess perhaps the judge knows), but if he's just a stupid young kid, a few years of community service would be more educational for him and others. I know more than one who plays with lasers that have no idea it's illegal or even dangerous to aircraft. Outside of the profession, it's not a well-known law.
peterspilot
David Peters 5
He wasn't a kid. The article says he is 43, with an "extensive criminal record, including numerous domestic assaults and an incident in 2017 where he shined a handheld flashlight in the eyes of an arresting officer."
Michaelzee
Michael Zonis 3
I would bet that the sentence was waived and a fine and probation was the final sentence. Also it was an adult. Should know better. If kids don't understand the danger of those lasers, then I have to put it on the parents to educate them. If was your eyes you would probably think differently.
electroman00
electroman00 0
So why haven't you learned the dangers of lasers ?!?!?!?
srobak
srobak 2
It's been well publicized many times over several years in the news about these kinds of incidents, the dangers, impacts and consequences, so insurance is not anymore of an excuse than lacking common sense is. An impactful prison sentence is exactly what this adult needs. He will then be sure that his kids know not to do this.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

nwilcox
nwilcox 6
"An airport incursion" ?? I suppose you are referring to the Tenerife RUNWAY incursion. Wouldn't it be a bit ridiculous to 'lock up' a corpse?? The KLM captain, who initiated his take off roll without clearance, was killed. Your silly rant makes it sound like you just might be allergic to yourself.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

electroman00
electroman00 -7
YOU are missing the point...


I didn't say 'lock up' a corpse...I said lock up all responsible...and they are alive!

We've had multiple incursions this year alone...and they ARE alive!

With incursions it's not a matter of "IF" it's a matter of "WHEN" which means somebody will be responsible and alive!

On the other hand there will never be a pocket battery Laser IF or WHEN...period!

It's simply not possible to inhibit pilots with a battery laser from the ground.

That is exactly why it has never happened...period!

Simply not enough POWER mathematically.

But if you don't know that, I can sell you all kinds of SwampLand Laser Bullpoop!

Even if you have the power you still have to overcome the next mathematical problem, geometry!!

After you solve that problem you still have another problem to solve, range duration!


If it was possible mathematically...it would have already happened.

If a cell phone could take down an aircraft...it would have already happened.

But if you don't know that, they can sell you all kinds of SwampLand Laser Bullpoop!

Maybe God has something to do with it!

Go read your 2000+ year old bible for the latest update TODAY!

Did you know you can pick from 43,000 versions of the Bible...oh what Joy!

CON-TROL
fireftr
Dale Ballok 3
Do you have an undiagnosed mental condition? You question evidence? I suppose the crew made up this whole story just for attention, right? And the one actually never had an issue with his sight afterwards? Wow! I think the screws holding your tin foil hat are pushing into your melon!

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

MarcPagan212
Marc Pagan -5
Master of the obvious statement:
As a former airline pilot, it's very possible to kill people by incapacitating the pilots.
Especially dangerous to solo pilots and low time pilots, like a student pilot on a solo cross-country flight.

Is two years in prison enough?
Don't know.
But, I'll bet he'll never do anything like this again.

Especially after he experiences the Dem Party's dream, Socialism...in prison.
"Free" healthcare, housing, food, and certainly, an education.

Hey, he might even benefit from "gender fluidity", and develop social skill he never imagined.
macclad1
macclad1 2
Meh. He'll experience something in prison. It just won't be Socialism. It will, however be what he remembers MOST about prison.
electroman00
electroman00 -7
Your rant definitely shows how your head is screwed on...or should I just say screwed!

Love your Dem Party Puke!!

Let's deal with some facts beyond your intellect level...

A class 4 Laser 1.5W is eye safe after 1000 ft...

The plane was at 9000 ft...how safe was it!

I can tell you he didn't have a class 4 laser!

Starting price is around $10,000 and not battery operated!

Which means his laser was eye safe after 50-150 ft.

EVEN safer (former airline pilot) boss!

People like you are the reason this country is in such bad shape in certain ways...you can't comprehend complex issues.

"As a former airline pilot, it's very possible to kill people by incapacitating the pilots."

True and you think you can do it with a Pocket Laser 9000 ft away, why hasn't somebody done it already!

The Plane boss...the Plane!!

You people are funny!

JFYI...your boy will never see the inside of the WH again!

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

markaharris
Mark Harris 9
Maybe idiots shouldn't point laser beams at aircraft - did you think of that?
jmadunleavy
John D 16
Just in case the world was wondering how stupid some people are, this joker steps up to show us.

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