Yes, pointing a laser light at a helicopter is illegal

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A Hernando County man was charged after pointing a laser light at a helicopter.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office helicopter was sent into the sky to help search for a missing nine-year-old.

While using Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) to search, Deputy Pilot Kyle Nugent and Tactical Flight Officer B.J. Hart said they were interrupted by a laser light being aimed directly at the helicopter multiple times.

The extremely bright laser light interfered with the investigation and became a danger to those on board the helicopter as well as those on the ground.

Deputies were able to locate the source of the laser light at Eric Harper’s home in Hernando.

Harper admitted to shining the laser light at the helicopter and showed deputies the “laser pen” he used.

The 35-year-old told deputies, “I didn’t know it was a crime, I’m sorry.”

Eric Harper was arrested and charged with Pointing a Laser Light at Driver or Pilot. His bond was set at $5,000.

Deputies are warning folks any powerful laser source viewed from Infrared (IR) and FLIR equipment can also cause severe damage to the human eye.

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