A US inventor today claimed a new pair of $380 glasses could protect airline pilots from the laser pens which could cause “a major disaster”.
The Civil Aviation Authority reported more than 1,800 incidents in 2015 of pilots targeted by the pens, which can cost less than $7 and have a 10-mile range.
Last month a Virgin flight from Heathrow to New York carrying 250 passengers had to turn around after a beam caught the co-pilot in his eye.
Football stars have also fallen prey to attacks, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard having all been target.
Now US defence firm PerriQuest has unveiled a pair of glasses which it claims would end the problem for good.
Inventor Dr Nicholas Perricone said: “The money spent turning around a plane would pay for these glasses to be given to the whole fleet. I would like to see this utilised before there is a major aviation disaster. Unfortunately I don’t think people are moving on it quick enough.”
The glasses work by filtering out harmful blue, red and green light rays within the laser beam to prevent a “dazzling” effect.
Dr Perricone said: “Take-off and landing are critical times and if both pilots are caught then it would cause a real emergency. With a high-powered laser you get the dazzle effect but it can also cause permanent damage and your career is over as a pilot.”
Following on from high-profile laser incidents involving athletes, Dr Perricone said he hoped his invention could also be used by sports stars.
He added: “I don’t know what’s driving this. It’s not terrorism, just some crazy individuals.”
Shining lasers into planes was made illegal in 2010 and carries a fine of up to £2,500 or a maximum five-year jail term. The National Police Air Service said its pilots had been targeted 108 times last year and laser pens were a “serious concern”.