Intereresting to note, (Coconutty, 31/10) that the latest ATSIN 149 from CAA on 16th Dec, asks "ANSPs to liaise with the local police force in order to establish the most expedient and appropriate means of contact between the ATS unit and the relevant police authority when a report of malicious l@ser use is received." We've asked local airfields to notify us directly so that we can build up an idea of hot-spots . . . & if we happen to be in the area, can at least expect the unexpected - before getting someone on the ground to nick 'em!
Wouldn't we all like to be able to morph into an Apache when this happens - although we have had reports from them when they've been targetted (& they haven't felt able to engage!) but no luck getting the offender(s) yet.
As others have suggested, it's not an easy business getting these little to&&ers but, at least now the jets are being targetted, the CAA are taking notice, not before time IHMO. Keep the dark visor down!!
I have just read a report of a RAF SAR helo being illuminated by a guy with a l@ser a few weeks ago. Appears that the chap then jumped into a car but the RAF helo followed him and managed to talk the police into intercepting him whilst he still had the l@ser. One down!
The RAF Seaking was returning from a mountain rescue with the casualty on board when the crew were lazered. Casualty dropped off and aircraft return to scene of crime. The police were summoned by MRT radio, who promptly responded whilst the Seaking hovered over the shop where they last saw the l@ser. This chap is now going to court in Feb 09. Job done
I just noticed TipWeight's post on the first page of this thread, regarding an instructor getting blinded by a green l@ser near ABZ and the student having to take control.
Absolutely true. I was the student during my CPL course. The green light seemed to pervade all of the scratches in the canopy and cause lots of beams to bounce around inside. Double whammy - neither eyes nor canopy are on your side when this happens.
I was fortunate to be able to look away and take over (entirely on instruments) immediately. Believe me, I have lots of weaknesses as a pilot, but luckily my instructor had recently told me I was one of the best students he'd come across when it came to flying on instruments and limited panel.
Unbelievably, on that same flight, whilst flying our way back to Peterculter, some idiot with a Landrover shone a very powerful spotlight at us. I believe he was taking part in a hobby known as "Lamping". We really felt like landing to show him an alternate use of the word. Good luck to him getting his Defender serviced if LR go under! ;-)
Last year I was at an astronomy evening and had the opportunity to let the green l@ser users that the hazard to pilots (which they were sceptical about) was real - from the horse's mouth as it were.
Then just two nights ago I was out for a drink in the local pub when the son of some people we were with started shining a green l@ser around. I had a serious chat with his mother (I was keen to know why the hell he had the thing at all) with the result that it has been confiscated. She was oblivious to the danger to pilots, and that some folks have been jailed.
The RAF SeaKing was returning from a boat rescue having already dropped the injured crewman off at hospital when the crew were lazered. The culprit was located and confirmed using the FLIR camera then followed. The Police were summoned via a phone patch to the nearest officer’s mobile phone on Marine Band VHF (FM) courtesy of the Coast Guard. The officer was successfully ‘talked onto’ the culprit who, by this time, had parked up and walked to the entrance of a nearby shop. The officer apprehended the culprit and found said l@ser during a search.
Thanks for the info rasyob - that ties in more with what I read than the description from britinusa - he of course may be talking about a separate event - you just don't know how often these things are happening these days.
The incident that I was describing took place in November, in Ft William near Corpach. I have been out of the country for 5 weeks, so I would not have heard of the one described by easyob. The incident I have described happened to me, I was on that RAF Seaking.
I'm just guessing (based on my experience with government entities) that they will forget l@ser flares and just ban l@ser pointers. The US government has a specific exemption for l@ser flares:
IN GENERAL- An individual who interferes with, or attempts to interfere with, the ability of the flight crew of an aircraft in flight to see, or otherwise to impair the safe operation of an aircraft in flight, by illuminating the aircraft with a l@ser pointer or similar device shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both.
EXCEPTIONS- Subsection (a) does not apply to the illumination of aircraft by l@ser or other devices by--
... by an individual using a l@ser emergency signaling device to send an emergency distress signal.
There's a big difference in a l@ser being shone at an aircraft by someone in a survival situation and those being shone by some good-for-nothing plonker with nothing better on his mind.
I'd suggest the survivor wants to be found as soon as possible; the searching aircraft generally wants to do the same and may well be expecting a pointer to be shone. It's unlikely that, once the survivor has alerted the aircraft, and received acknowledgement by landing light, circling overhead etc., that he's going to continue to annoy the aircraft by persistent illumination - he is likely, one hopes, to have had some form of instruction in survival and/or the use of such an aid when pointing it at an aircraft.
Considering how difficult it is to see a lifejacket light in a dark sea, or bobbing orange jacket by day, if I'm trying to save a life before running out of fuel, I'd much rather be searching for someone with a l@ser device (and who knows how to use it) for the benefit of all concerned.
It sounds like the US Government has got it right . . . for once!
Tom Symonds flies in an anti-laser police helicopter - report contains images of flashing l@sers
There has been a "phenomenal" increase in the number of incidents in which aircraft are targeted by small hand-held l@sers, according to UK police. In 2008, there were 69 times as many such incidents as in 2003.
The Civil Aviation Authority has set up a task force to respond to the threat of pilots becoming disorientated.
The police have new devices designed to record and analyse l@ser "strikes" on their aircraft, tracking their source and leading to arrests of attackers.
The BBC gained exclusive access to an exercise trialling these l@ser Event Recorders carried out by the air support unit of Greater Manchester Police. Direct hit
In the cockpit the light can be blinding
"We had one yesterday," said veteran police helicopter pilot Mike Briggs. "You're in no doubt when you've been targeted by one of these l@sers."
An "attack" can come from any of the darkened streets over which the force's state of the art helicopter India 99 flies at night.
"You can't miss it. A sharp green beam of light shoots up from the ground, flashing around the helicopter, dazzling anyone on whom it scores a 'direct hit'," said Mr Briggs.
The police have had to learn to deal with the attacks - about half of those reported are aimed at their helicopters. In 2003 just three incidents were recorded. Last year there were 207. So far this year, the tally is 76.
The culprits are usually bored youths, who have got hold of a l@ser pointer and amuse themselves by playing its beam over passing aircraft.
But from now on they are far more likely to get caught, and get sent to prison.
The Greater Manchester Police air support unit arranged an exercise for the BBC to show how their response has been stepped up.
COMBATING l@ser POINTER ATTACKS
1 Police helicopter is targeted by l@ser pointer on the ground 2 Helicopter crew use hand-held l@ser Event Recorder to locate pointer. It records wavelength to match beam to pointer - like matching bullet to a gun 3 GPS details enable helicopter's thermal image camera to find suspect and police patrol on ground is directed to address
After informing air traffic control and local police stations we lift off from the police helipad at Barton aerodrome and head for Bolton.
In a residential back garden there is an officer waiting with a cheap l@ser pointer. We've agreed not to reveal where he bought it, but its beam is incredibly powerful.
As the helicopter flies by he switches it on, and aims for our windows. Inside the aircraft the light flickers eerily between the three crew members.
When it is right in your eyes, you simply can't see anything else. We are 1,200ft (365m) up, but the beam is strong and sharp.
If we were within 500ft there would be a real possibility of eye damage, but at our altitude the risk is of distraction and disorientation - not helpful when flying a helicopter.
The police also say it stops them concentrating on the job in hand, often a car pursuit on the ground with busy radio traffic.
But India 99's rear observer now has a secret weapon. Eye in the sky
The Event Recorder logs everything
The l@ser Event Recorder not only takes a picture of the attack and logs where it came from using GPS, but also analyses the wavelength of the l@ser being used.
It can also warn the police if the l@ser is powerful enough or close enough to cause physical damage to the eyes.
This can be compared with the specifications of the device used in the attack, providing vital new evidence. "It's a little bit like matching a bullet to a gun," said Mr Briggs.
We turn in the sky and circle the house of the "suspect", with two observers on board to track him.
The rear observer has two large screens, one showing the image from the aircraft's camera, the other a moving map.
The camera uses thermal imaging to clearly show people and warm objects standing in gardens or on open ground. Even when the warm l@ser pointer is thrown into a bush it can often be seen from the air.
The rear observer can zoom in to show a glowing image of an offender, and then look at the moving map, where a cursor shows the spot on which the camera is focused.
The "offender" outline appears full screen and we watch as he tries to throw the pointer away. A dog team is called in and an arrest made.
Guided by the eye in the sky, the ground officers easily find the l@ser. The suspect may try to claim it hasn't been used, but it is still warm, and the police have the evidence of its wavelength from the l@ser Event Recorder. Not toys
Thermal imaging helps catch the culprits
Police currently have to prove a suspect recklessly or negligently endangered an aircraft. The Civil Aviation Authority is drawing up new laws of the air under which it will simply be an offence to shine a l@ser at an aircraft.
Many offenders regard what they've done as a prank, but a jail term for a first offence is now common.
Bob Jones, head of flight operations at the CAA, said: "To those individuals targeting aircraft with l@ser devices the message is clear - don't. You will be caught and you will be prosecuted and you could spend up to five years in prison. These things are not toys, they pose a serious risk to all flight safety."
And the police insist they won't be turning a "blind eye" when they're attacked from the ground.
very interesting reading it was also interesting reading last months ocurance reports for the month just how many incidents with l@sers are now occuring fair play to the police and CAA having been on the end of a similar incident, its time the scrots got some hard policing, the job can be hard enough with out further disruption.
One of the issues raised at yesterdays UKFSC may be of interest:
It was reported that the number of l@ser shining occurrences in the UK is increasing exponentially. Over 136 so far this year. The majority have been directed at Police helicopters, but a significant number have also been directed at FW commercial traffic. It was advised that if you are subject to a l@ser or bright light that you should report it immediately (in flight) to ATC. The police can then be alerted to meet you on arrival and there have been a number of successful arrests and prosecutions resulting from swift reporting by aircrews. Of note one police force now has equipment onboard it's helos that can fingerprint a l@sers signature (apparently they are all unique!), which enables them to prosecute when they find someone in possession of a l@ser that matches the signature. So report all occurrences immediately wherever you may be.
Hi all, it´s not only happening in GB. Last weekend a police helicopter, on the way to a search, was also targeted by a green l@ser. After the original mission the helicopter flew to the recorded position and was again targeted by a green l@ser. Groundforces then found the l@ser an d the man, who used it, at an garden party. Further investigations are running before the case goes to court. One pilot had eye-problems while the co-pilot, who tried to identify the house at the moment, the l@ser started, was disorientated for some seconds.
A POLICE helicopter pilot was left flying blind after he was dazzled by a l@ser beam as he flew over a South Yorkshire suburb.
And now bakery student Majid Khan, 24, has been jailed after he was captured on film aiming a powerful l@ser pen at the aircraft.
Sheffield Crown Court was told that Khan, a convicted robber from the Sharrow area of Sheffield, flooded the cockpit with green light, dazzling the co-pilot and preventing the pilot from reading the controls. Judge Robert Lawler QC told him the offence was so serious only an immediate custodial sentence could be passed.
Jailing him for six months, he told Khan: "These matters are serious and there is potential danger when aircraft are operating overhead in populated areas.
"For some reason you thought it was 'cool' to do what you did."
After being dazzled by the l@ser pen, the airborne officers used thermal-imaging equipment to trace Khan.
He was then arrested by officers near his home. When they told him they had recorded him on CCTV shining the pen at the helicopter, he agreed his house could be searched and, once inside, handed over the l@ser.
He later admitted recklessly endangering an aircraft.
Khan was jailed for four years in 2006 after he cruised around Sheffield in a car looking for victims to threaten with a baseball bat. He was on licence from jail when he committed the l@ser offence last November.
Next!! This is just one of a few attacks recently.
A BOY was arrested after allegedly shining a l@ser pen into the cockpit of a police helicopter. The youth, 15, was apprehended by officers after they searched a house near Allerton Road. The Merseyside Police helicopter was carrying out a routine patrol when the pilot was suddenly disturbed by a potentially-blinding l@ser. The light was shone directly into the aircraft from a property at around 4.30am on Sunday, August 2. The pilot, who was flying at a low height, was able to pinpoint the exact house the l@ser was beaming from. A message was relayed to officers on the ground who entered an address, near the centre of Allerton, and discovered a group of boys and one man. Four boys, all 15, were arrested, along with one man, 18, and were taken into custody for questioning. One of the youths, who cannot be named due to his age, was subsequently charged with recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft He is set to appear before a city youth court.