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[email protected] & searchlight attacks on aircraft (incl prison sentences on offenders)

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[email protected] & searchlight attacks on aircraft (incl prison sentences on offenders)

Old 30th Nov 2007, 12:36
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 71
I agree with you that [email protected] pens are quite harmless even at quite close range, however the [email protected] that are being used to target aircraft are the more powerful 'green [email protected]', the ones used in astronomy to point out celestial bodies. I don't know if these are any more dangerous, perhaps some one could enlighten me.
The other issue causing concern to the security forces (in my area, can't speak for others) is that [email protected] can be used as rangefinders. In all probability it's kids being stupid but the possibility of terrorism cannot be discounted.
Hope this makes sense, as am in a rush to get to work.
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Old 30th Nov 2007, 12:44
  #22 (permalink)  
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From the Wikipedia article:

A pop or click noise emanating from the eyeball may be the only indication that retinal damage has occurred i.e. the retina was heated to over 100 °C resulting in localized explosive boiling
That's made my eyes ache just thinking about it.
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Old 30th Nov 2007, 13:27
  #23 (permalink)  
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A work colleague suffered significant discomfort and loss of vision for three days after a "pen [email protected]" reflected off a shiny surface and struck his eye.

No myth there Mr Lappos - I witnessed the event and the injury at first hand.

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Old 30th Nov 2007, 14:34
  #24 (permalink)  
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well a quick look on ebay shows 50mW green [email protected] available for around £20 and 2-300mW [email protected] for around £100 - £150.

The latter are classed IIIB, and according to wikipedia "[email protected] in this class may cause damage if the beam enters the eye directly... [email protected] in this category can cause permanent eye damage with exposures of 1/100th of a second or less depending on the strength of the [email protected] A diffuse reflection is generally not hazardous but specular reflections can be just as dangerous as direct exposures. Protective eyewear is recommended when direct beam viewing of Class IIIb [email protected] may occur. [email protected] at the high power end of this class may also present a fire hazard and can lightly burn skin."

Now if some little s**t shines one of those in my eyes when I'm flying I'm not gonna be happy!
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Old 30th Nov 2007, 15:00
  #25 (permalink)  
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The Green [email protected] are still <5MW, and are no higher in energy than the less visible red ones.

The panic that this thread embraces is simply awful.

"Loss of vision for 3 days" from a [email protected] pointer hit in flight?? at what range - 200 meters, perhaps? Give me a break, ppng, I simply do not believe you, do you have something more than a war story to show it? Especially when the truly documented case, "Luttrulla & Hallisey (1999) describe a similar case, a 34 year old male who stared into the beam of a class IIIa red [email protected] for 30 to 60 seconds, causing temporary central scotoma and visual field loss. His eyesight fully recovered within 2 days, at the time of his eye exam." ppng, tell the Doctor who certified your friend's event to write a paper on it and make a name for himself, since an airborne hit is worse than staring at a [email protected] you hold in your hands!

I reiterate, the panic a pilot can feel if he believes that he has been permanently blinded, based on the myths this thread propagates might be worse than the actual flash of light, as bothersome and annoying as it is.

I edited this to add that if folks are using industrial [email protected] at hundreds of mw strength, the effects are far more serious, and all bets are off, but I would also bet that pointers at <5mw are the culprit in these cases we are discussing. BTW, the Comanche design addresses these issues, and much was learned back than about protecting crews from truly dangerous [email protected] light - the [email protected] that can actually blind you at hundreds of meters is no hand held device, believe me!

Last edited by NickLappos; 30th Nov 2007 at 16:00.
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Old 30th Nov 2007, 16:07
  #26 (permalink)  
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I've heard a commercial airliner reporting to ATC that he was under attack from a powerful green [email protected] and he was in the descent at around 7000ft at the time! Must have been a bloody big pen. I suppose the main gripe is that, when you are going about your lawful business trying to lock up baddies it is very distracting (with all of the inherent dangers that can bring) and definately annoying when some little oik starts playing laze the helicopter. I would imagine that a foot bobbie trying to carry out his duties would get a grip of, and have something to say to, anyone in his vicinity who was shining something as harmless as a torch in his mush as he went about his job!
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Old 30th Nov 2007, 18:28
  #27 (permalink)  
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As one of the pilots 'lazed' the other week I'm reasonably well qualified to comment.

Green [email protected] - seen from about 4 miles initially - very definitely directed at the aircraft.

In my case the light caused mild 'brown-out' as you can get after NVG use.

No idea of [email protected] power but if you look here - www.gyroscope.com - you will see you can buy anything up to 100 MW without too much difficulty.

Police are actively following up as they are concerned in case it's pre-targeting. If you do experience this please ensure you report it to ATC who will then info the police.
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Old 30th Nov 2007, 18:35
  #28 (permalink)  
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This is a reply from the MOD experts after I was lased? about a month ago.

I have shown the clip to [email protected] experts at DSTL and we feel that the device in question is a [email protected] The beam is very narrow and has no side lobes that would be expected if a powerful hand held lamp was used.

The pure green colour strongly suggests that it is doubled neodymium at a wavelength of around 530nm. Hand held [email protected] of this frequency (colour) are readily available.

These hand held [email protected] have a beam divergence of about 1mrad (milli-radian) and this is typical of [email protected] readily available over the internet. At a distance of 1.4 miles (say 2.5kms) these produce a [email protected] ‘splash’ of about 2.5m diameter, enough to fill the cockpit of a medium size helicopter.

The [email protected] is certainly more than a typical presentation pointer. A CCD camera at a range of 2.5kms would be dazzled by a 50 to100mW [email protected] at night. As the helicopter was operating in an urban environment the effect of the urban lighting would reduce the camera aperture which would indicate that the [email protected] was probably nearer to the 100mW. Our assessment is that this likely to be a 100mwish [email protected] operating at 532nm. Such a [email protected] would have an NOHD (Nominal Ocular Hazard Distance – the distance at which you could view the beam without risk of eye damage. It would be very uncomfortable. Any closer to the [email protected] increases the risk of eye damage) 70m and would definitely cause eye damage at about 25m. This is all based on experience and It would be very difficult to prove any of this from the video evidence alone. We would need to know more about the ambient illumination, particular content of the atmosphere and the camera being used.

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Old 30th Nov 2007, 18:59
  #29 (permalink)  
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Well, let's look at the math. 100mw over a circle 2.5m in diameter gives a power of 2 microwatts per square mm. The iris of the eye can open to 7mm at night, which is 38 square mm. The total power to the eye is then 77 microwatts, or 0.077 mw. Not enough to cause permanant damage, I think.
(Don't do math before lunch. Previous version of this post was in error)

Last edited by MarcK; 30th Nov 2007 at 19:41. Reason: Math Error
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Old 30th Nov 2007, 21:24
  #30 (permalink)  
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Green [email protected] safety glasses for 532nm.

I have no idea whether these effect normal vision, but the lens appears transparent from the page:
[email protected] Safety Goggles (532nm) - From Gyroscope.com -

They might be useful for persistant problems.

Industrial welding CO2 and YAG [email protected] (definately not hand held) would quite happily cut a car or helicopter in half if beam focused accurately enough for long enough. However the beam operates well into the infra-red, and you actually can't see it directly! You would likely never know what caused the damage.

Last edited by Graviman; 12th Dec 2007 at 11:35.
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Old 30th Nov 2007, 21:35
  #31 (permalink)  
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I did not think there would be so much interest.
Only posted due to personal lamping, not [email protected] & it was nice to hear some get caught.
Nice to know that the smaller units will not blind us just degrade our night vision for a while, great if you are flying in urban environment, with other traffic around you (news ships & police) leaves me with a real relaxed feeling, Nick I am interested to read your links, but if night vision can be degraded by [email protected] of 5Mw a 2\300Mw is going to have a significantly greater effect.
and another 2\300Mw and pulsed www.wickedlasers.com/lasers/Spyder_II_GX-26-0.html
This is without spending time at it
I think Nick is saying that as with all beams distance \ air quality will reduce their effective power. At a distance determined by the [email protected] power the effect will vary, it is at low level and high work load + darkness that the effect will be worst, the jobs that spring to mind are Police,low over built up arias SAR again low with high work load and any helios\aircraft landing

Last edited by 500e; 1st Dec 2007 at 19:55.
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Old 30th Nov 2007, 23:50
  #32 (permalink)  
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We know [email protected] can be harmful to the eye and one problem is some if not many of the handheld [email protected] coming out of ... well, one big country often do not comply with standards. They present stronger beams than what they are certified for and some easily exceed the limits of Class 1.
Red [email protected] are the considered the least harmful but then you get into the green [email protected] More powerful.. use more power and can cause more damage.
Before you just write off a [email protected] as some kid with a handheld and not worth your worry, visit this website.
A second site


And take every beam serious. You never know.
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Old 30th Nov 2007, 23:58
  #33 (permalink)  
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Nick, you are assuming the [email protected] are within the limits of class 1 and tests have shown many Chinese [email protected] exceed those limits by a considerable margin.

But hey... if you want to, go ahead and stare.. doing a little risk management, let's see..

It is a myth so there is no risk but the upside is nothing..

It is assumed to be a legal green [email protected], it is not and the downside is possible loss of vision.

Myth or not, I will avert my eyes. No hysteria.. just a little risk management.
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Old 12th Dec 2007, 05:56
  #34 (permalink)  
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Green one...

My son just came home from a week with his mother in Thailand. In his luggage is a green [email protected], purchased in Pataya (or whatever the place is called) labelled "30mW, 532nm". It is powered by two AAA size batteries, and let me tell you, the thing shines!

We pointed it at our church across the bay, a distance of slightly less than a kilometer, and see a spot no more than an inch or two in diameter! How's that for collimation and coherence? I have never seen a LED-based [email protected] with such properties.

So, rest assured. You can get these thingies with really high power really cheap - he paid £22 for it!

Needless to say, he has been given a lecture about where to point it and where to not point it...

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Old 19th Dec 2007, 08:00
  #35 (permalink)  
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Couple faces prison time for [email protected] use

Bakersfield Eyewitness News:

A Bakersfield couple faces up to 20 years in federal prison for shining a [email protected] light into the eyes of a sheriff's helicopter pilot.

Twenty-five year old Jared James Dooley and his girlfriend 25-year-old Christine Snow, both of Bakersfield, are charged with interfering with the safe operation of a sheriff's department helicopter. According to a federal complaint, it happened on a Thursday night in November. The [email protected] allegedly disoriented the pilot causing pain and discomfort for a couple of hours.

Dooley and Snow also face a $250,000 fine. Both appeared in Federal court Monday.
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Old 19th Dec 2007, 13:53
  #36 (permalink)  
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US take it seriously
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Old 21st Dec 2007, 02:22
  #37 (permalink)  
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FBI charge couple for lasing helicopter

According to the federal criminal complaint filed on December 13, on November 8, 2007, at about
10:55 p.m., a green [email protected] beam illuminated the cockpit of a Kern County Sheriff’s Department helicopter,
which was flying at 500 feet above ground level during routine patrol in Bakersfield, California. When the
light hit the cockpit, it disoriented the Kern County Sheriff’s pilot, causing pain and discomfort in his eyes
for a couple of hours. [email protected], an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation,
pose a safety hazard to flight operations. The focused beams of a [email protected] light remain powerful at extended
viewing distances and can expose pilots to radiation levels above those considered to be flight safe. Brief
exposure to even a relatively low-powered [email protected] beam can cause discomfort and temporary visual
impairments, such as glare, flash blind, and afterimages.
The pilot and a tactical observer were able to pinpoint the origin of the [email protected] beam at DOOLEY’s
Bakersfield residence, where SNOW occasionally stayed. On November 27, task force members
executed a federal search warrant, locating a hand-held green [email protected] device in DOOLEY’s pickup truck and
a red [email protected] device in his home. Both DOOLEY and SNOW later admitted they had used the green [email protected]
device on the night of the incident. SNOW told investigating agents that she and DOOLEY were standing
in the driveway on November 8 and “taking turns shining the [email protected] around watching the tracers in the
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Old 28th Mar 2008, 09:02
  #38 (permalink)  
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ABC TV Perth:

Police are investigating three separate incidents when the police helicopter was hit with high-powered [email protected]

[email protected] can threaten aircraft safety when they flood the aircraft cockpit with intense light, making it difficult for pilots to see.

The number of [email protected] incidents has been on the rise in recent years - and there's been a series of them in the past week.

A pilot was forced to take evasive action after being hit several times by a green [email protected] beam while flying over Joondanna last Thursday night .

The helicopter crew traced the beam to a house in Yokine where detectives arrested a man and seized a [email protected]

The helicopter was hit again a short time later and another [email protected] was seized from a house in Joondanna.

A third man was arrested after a similar incident on Friday night.

Police expect to lay charges against three men aged 57, 43 and 35.

The Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan says someone could die if people persist in shining high powered [email protected] at the police helicopter and other aircraft.

Mr O'Callaghan says it will soon be illegal to carry the [email protected] without a legitimate reason.

He says people shining them at pilots need to think of the consequences.

"This is not fun, this is serious," he said.

"People could get seriously injured or many people could potentially die if offenders keep targeting aircraft with these [email protected]"

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Old 29th Mar 2008, 16:20
  #39 (permalink)  
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[email protected] & searchlight attacks on pilots: merged threads

Banker jailed for dazzling helicopter pilot - Times Online

What a 'merchant banker'...

PS But nice to see that the reporting is as accurate as ever... "Snaresbrook Crown Court was told that the helicopter was about to land on top of the Vanguard building in October 2006. The helipad often accommodates City figures who want quick access to Canary Wharf."
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Old 29th Mar 2008, 18:25
  #40 (permalink)  
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Nice to see the courts handing out suitable sentence for a change.

Some of the "Your Comments" are laughable too

Still better than the couple of inches this story got in The Sun today, who used a file photo of an R44
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