Contrary to popular belief, Al Qaeda members are not too terribly bright or creative. Some of you may be Tom Clancy fans and remember his novel "Debt of Honor" which involved a short, and semi-secret war between the U.S. and Japan. At the end of the novel, a JAL pilot, grieving over the loss of his son, nosedives a 747 into the U.S. Capital Building, where the resulting explosion and fire kills the President and most of Congress and the Supreme Court. Approximately 7 years after its publication, members of Al Qaeda flew commercial airliners into the World Trade Center (for some reason, a particular obsession for Muslim terrorists) and the Pentagon.
Perhaps a less memorable event in the book were the actions of two CIA agents in Japan that, among other things, caused the crashes of Japanese AWAC plans, crucial for Japanese control of their airspace. The agents caused the crash by the simple expedient of shining a very bright and focused light into the cockpit of the AWACS when they were attempting to land.
So, with that background, I found this news report from USA Today to be interesting:
Federal crash investigators revealed Wednesday that the pilot flying Asiana Airlines Flight 214 told them that he was temporarily blinded by a bright light when 500 feet above the ground.
Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said it wasn't clear what could have caused the problem. Asked specifically whether it could have been a laser pointed from the ground, Hersman said she couldn't say what caused it.
"We need to understand exactly what that is," Hersman said. "It was a temporary issue."