Pointers are usually 1-5mW, maybe 10mW at the extreme.
1W is serious, especially at green where the eye's response is most sensitive. I've no idea what a legitimate use of such a device would be: lamping rabbits in the next county?
For $300 the frequency stability will surely be all over the place, leaving plenty of fingerprints for the police helicopters' fancy new forensic l@ser spectrograph thingy, (BBC NEWS | UK | New weapon targets l@ser attackers). (Unless it gets burned out by the l@ser pointer.) Hopefully, the focus will be rotten too, getting less energy per eye in the sky.
So, very recently I was at a wedding the reception of hich was adjacent to a major international airport. As the celebrations turned to evening and the DJ started up, on came the l@ser machine. Now this particular venue has roof windows..
just some cursory research shows that a 30MW green l@ser, such as would be used can be purchased of 144.00 and an 80MW for 240.00
now this set me to wonder, as how many inadvertent events actually occur and how many people and venues that operate such equipment have any inkling of the inhenerent dangers.
Lasers shone at plane coming into Southampton airport A Flybe pilot reported l@ser pens being shone into the cockpit of his aircraft as he was coming into land at Southampton airport on Saturday. The crew of a police helicopter was also targeted as they investigated the incident at about 21:30 BST.Thermal imaging cameras were used to locate suspects at two addresses in Bitterne. Three people were arrested on suspicion of endangering an aircraft. Police said three l@ser pens were recovered. Two youths, both aged 17, and a man, aged 20, were held in custody overnight. Police said the 20-year-old received a caution and the youths were referred to the Youth Offending Team.”
Why bother to catch them when there is such a pathetic “punishment”?
I have had several attacks myself from the dreaded green l@ser- in Amsterdam, the Hague, Cardiff, Bristol and Thirsk in Yorkshire. Several of them have been particularly bright and directed directly at the flight deck. Luckily, it did not affect the vision of myself or the first officer- we were able to look away in time.
I do hope that the magistrates in the case above read this forum and can realise just how dangerous it is when these idiots shine l@sers at aircraft. A prison sentence should be mandatory to send out a signal to the other numpties out there who wish to prove to their numpty friends how funny it is to shine a l@ser at an aircraft.
What happens when such an episode causes an accident (as is likely one day)?
Landing from the south in Jeddah now, you are nearly guaranteed to be nailed by l@sers. They are installed on top of buildings now, and actually pointing toward the glide path on rwy 34. I have reported it to tower before and they say yes, they know about it. Pretty damn stupid.
The subject has probably been dealt with in other threads, but I won't search the whole site for this one.
I read recently the US is moving in this direction too, i.e. making it an offence to aim l@ser beams at aircraft, and actually starting to enforce it.
The article mentions 2800 l@ser attacks in France for 2010, but I suspect it is much more, considering the number of times (in other countries) I have reported to ATC on finals and they don't seem to give a damn, just the usual ""ah...OK".
I used to get l@sers at least once or twice a month in Europe, flying short haul for about 80 hours per month. Am I seeing things or is this what other pilots experience too?
Interesting you should mention that. I just read an article describing the situation in the US and specifically California. There were over 2,000 instances of l@sers pointed at aircraft in the US last year, and LAX is considered one of the worst airports.