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Virgin Atlantic flight from London to NY returns after pilot hurt in laser incident

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Virgin Atlantic flight from London to NY returns after pilot hurt in laser incident

Old 24th Feb 2016, 09:05
  #221 (permalink)  
 
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@ scuffers.

that's a [email protected] guided munition, it follows a [email protected] designated target, it does not have a [email protected] itself, the designator is the [email protected], like these:
I am well aware its not a [email protected], but connected to the front of the munition, is a [email protected] sensor, hence the the words I wrote in post #201 "They do, however, its normally attached to something".

Which in turn was reply to Wannabe777 post #197

Just brainstorming here...

Maybe positioning a tethered balloon/blimp, with [email protected] detection and precise locating ability, in areas of known attacks on aircraft would help in apprehending the perpetrators so they could be prosecuted.

I assume the military must already have such equipment.
Being a jovial type of chap, I was making lighthearted post, implying the military's response to said [email protected] louts.
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Old 24th Feb 2016, 09:32
  #222 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by MATELO View Post
@ scuffers.



I am well aware its not a [email protected], but connected to the front of the munition, is a [email protected] sensor, hence the the words I wrote in post #201 "They do, however, its normally attached to something".

Which in turn was reply to Wannabe777 post #197



Being a jovial type of chap, I was making lighthearted post, implying the military's response to said [email protected] louts.
I thought the concept was on the right track.
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Old 24th Feb 2016, 10:05
  #223 (permalink)  
 
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Physical eye damage isn't the only issue
What other problems (issues if you prefer) would prompt the commander to decide to dump fuel and return to base?
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Old 24th Feb 2016, 10:11
  #224 (permalink)  
 
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Fortissimo

I have a feeling you and I have spoken/emailed. The comment:

" I am sure Mr Darwin would endorse you having a play with a mirror and your own [email protected] pointer."

..... is not cool.
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Old 24th Feb 2016, 10:16
  #225 (permalink)  
 
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Lets not forget the important stuff

Bickering aside, any news of the injured parties recovery?
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Old 24th Feb 2016, 13:53
  #226 (permalink)  
 
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Lasers

Hi..to be up front I'm the Transport Correspondent at the Beeb. Richard Westcott. I'm interested in doing more on this issue, now the dust has settled a little..to give you an idea, I've already done quite a bit on drone dangers Radar developed to detect small drones - BBC News . To be clear I love aviation, I spoke at the AAIB's recent 100th anniversary conference, we make balanced films about the issues. No hype. I appreciate that you're not keen to be bombarded..totally get that. But could we have a chat, not for quoting or anything, just so I can get some facts on what happened. I'm at [email protected]. As I say, not for quoting, I'm just keen to pick your brains. Think it's an important issue...want to raise more awareness. All the best. R
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Old 24th Feb 2016, 16:08
  #227 (permalink)  
 
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Well.. This is not aviation related experience, however, if someone will choose to use really powerful device, it probably will be like this.

So, this happened literally with me. Long story short, infrared soldering station accidentally was switched on.


This is not like some colorful flash in the eye, this is like been hit by heavy object in the face. IMMEDIATELY, it creates all sorts of head trauma effects: dizziness, loss of orientation, headache. And immense adrenaline rush.
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Old 24th Feb 2016, 17:25
  #228 (permalink)  
 
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Hand held [email protected] damaging eyes of pilots of an airliner at height? I think not.
I have not suggested someone is likely to have permanent damage from a [email protected] strike on an airliner at height (unless it was a weapons-grade [email protected]). That would depend on the NOHD (or rather the ED50) and whether you are talking photochemical limits, thermal limits or dual limit boundaries. The FAA has produced an easier interpretation than the NOHD found in the ANSI Z136.1 [email protected] safety standard, and that will show you a 5W green (532nm) unpulsed [email protected] with a 2 mil divergence has an ED50 of about 250 ft. So I get that permanent damage at range is unlikely.

Dazzle is a different matter but it is still something that will reduce your eyesight below the level required by your licence.

My difficulty in all this is that we have a global problem with [email protected] attacks that has prompted Sec Gen ICAO to send a State Letter asking all states to take action, there are criminal acts (lasers attacks) taking place against aviators at the rate of 150 per month or more in the UK, and there are members of the profession who think it's OK and we need do nothing about it. Now that I don't get at all.

And Chris Griffin, you are right, the Darwin remark was born of frustration but was indeed uncool...
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Old 24th Feb 2016, 19:08
  #229 (permalink)  
 
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RichardBeeb
Think it's an important issue ...
Yes, very.
Want to raise more awareness ...
Yes, in the interests of flight safety.

I'm not in a position to give you the facts of the Virgin incident. However, I am able to give you background information which I hope will assist your research, or at least point you in the right direction.

Aiming [email protected] at aircraft creates a serious safety risk and has become a world-wide problem.
Reported incidents of [email protected] aimed at aircraft have increased dramatically world-wide in the past 10 years. Up to date stats are readily available from the CAA (UK), the FAA (USA), CASA (Australia) and almost certainly from other aviation regulators.
The increase in reports is due to various factors which include a greater awareness by pilots of the importance of reporting [email protected] incidents, the ready availability of [email protected] devices on the internet, stronger power devices that can strike aircraft at higher altitudes and the introduction of green [email protected]
Whilst almost anything is theoretically possible, the suggestion by a few people here that the number of incidents reported is inflated by pilots making false reports is absurd. On the contrary, it is well known that many incidents are still not being reported because 'no harm was done'.

The risk of retinal injury, temporary or permanent, is just one factor.

Loss of Night Vision
Research shows that pilots need approximately 30 minutes to fully adapt to dark conditions for night flying, although most adaptation occurs in the first 5-10 minutes.
When struck by a [email protected] beam, a pilot will suffer a loss of night vision. The degree and duration of loss depends primarily upon the intensity of the beam, the colour, the direction (straight into the pilot's eyes or offset) and the duration of exposure to the beam.
Even a low powered [email protected] light in a pilot’s eyes can cause glare – an inability to see past the light.
At higher power levels, it can also cause temporary flash-blindness and after-images.
When a [email protected] beam hits the windscreen of a cockpit, or the bubble of a helicopter, imperfections in and on the glass spread the light out even more.
When it strikes plexiglass, the light disperses even more throughout the cockpit – and can 'cloud' the bubble of some helicopters.

Distraction
It's all very well for some people to say from the safety of their armchairs that the risk of eye damage is low. That is little or no comfort to pilots struck by a [email protected] beam who, in addition to being distracted by discomfort, will entirely naturally be worried that damage has been caused to their eye(s) – which might also mean the end of their career through loss of their medical.
A worried pilot is a distracted pilot.
A distracted pilot is not a safe pilot.

The danger created by the above factors during critical phases of flight - landings and take-offs together with the associated potential for having to carry out emergency procedures/manoeuvres - is obvious.

Helicopters
In the UK, Police helicopters flying at night are particularly vulnerable to [email protected] attacks. In the US, emergency medical services helicopters are also targeted.
You'll need to check the following with a police pilot/air support unit.
My understanding, based upon some flights with the Metropolitan Police, is that operations over London are typically carried out at low level (approximately 1000’) and either in an orbit at low speed (40-60 knots) or in the hover.
Accurate control of the flight path is most demanding at low speed or in a hover. Coupled with engine power being close to limits, a pilot's workload is at its highest in these regimes.
Further, the nature of Police operations requires that helicopters have to be able to descend below the height of fixed lit obstructions - subject to them being visible to the pilot and that he/she is able to maintain a 100m lateral separation.
At the very least, even an offset beam from a low powered device will be a distraction to the pilot who needs to maintain a flight path clear of contact with obstacles. At worst, a high-powered beam can completely destroy night vision.
If that happens, the pilot will no longer be able to see his instruments (speed, height, attitude, heading etc), nor outside cues to safely determine vertical and/or lateral separation from obstructions in order to maintain separation from them. The pilot will initiate a pre-planned emergency evasive manoeuvre, instinctively increasing height in a direction he hopes will avoid colliding with nearby obstacles and hoping that his night vision will recover sufficiently quickly not to lose control of the helicopter.

It is only because of pilots' skill, training and good luck that there has not been a serious incident or fatal accident - yet.

Punishment of offenders
The prevalence of [email protected] being aimed at aircraft has led, in several countries, to the creation of specific offences which do not require the prosecution to prove an intention to endanger the aircraft - or even recklessness.

America
Whoever knowingly aims the beam of a [email protected] pointer at an aircraft … or at the flight path of such an aircraft, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both. (18 U.S.C. 39A)

UK
A person must not in the United Kingdom direct or shine any light at any aircraft in flight so as to dazzle or distract the pilot of the aircraft. (Article 222 of the Air Navigation Order)
It is a 'summary only' offence which means that it can be dealt with only in the Magistrates Court (not by a Judge in the Crown Court) and the maximum penalty is a fine.
Deterrent?

.

Last edited by Flying Lawyer; 24th Feb 2016 at 20:13. Reason: Typos
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Old 24th Feb 2016, 19:44
  #230 (permalink)  

 
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Flying Lawyer - Helicopters

Probably obvious to regular PPRuNers, maybe not to everyone - but many helos flying over cities are single pilot operations, unlike the airliners we've been hearing about lately.

Hence any incapacitation may prove rapidly fatal.
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Old 24th Feb 2016, 19:50
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Thank you.

I should have made that clear.

In particular, police helicopters in London are single pilot ops.
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Old 24th Feb 2016, 20:01
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Valid point airsound.


Airliners tend to get targeted side-on or at an angle to the flight path, rather than head-on, so that probably tends to affect one pilot more than the other, meaning that one is less incapacitated than the other.

Aside from off-shore helicopters and military helicopters, there tends to be little multi crew rotary ops in the UK, much more likely to be single pilot, and incapacitation of the only pilot, at low level is a much more serious situation.
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Old 24th Feb 2016, 21:19
  #233 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by beardy View Post
What other problems (issues if you prefer) would prompt the commander to decide to dump fuel and return to base?
You'll have to ask him that question. Not only will I not answer for him but I am not in receipt of all of the specifics concerning this incident as I wasn't there.
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Old 24th Feb 2016, 21:22
  #234 (permalink)  
 
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It might be useful to point out a little bit about [email protected] injuries and their physical manifestation. If a [email protected] pointer of sufficient power to cause injury at close range was to be directed against the back of your hand, you would suffer a burn injury. It would be similar to holding a fine tipped soldering iron against the skin. You would receive a localised burn that may be quite deep and would blister over. It would certainly be painful, but the cause of the injury, would be from intense localised heat. An eye injury would be similar and cause a retinal burn over a small area.

At a greater distance and allowing for the beam to diverge, the danger from a heat injury is reduced. The nature of the injury would change to that of an "optical flash burn", similar to arc eye suffered by welders, of women who frequent tanning salons without the correct protective goggles. In these cases, this is more likely the type of injury to be caused by these [email protected] incidents. Having suffered a flash type injury (intense UV light source from an HID lamp) I can attest to them being very painful (burning sensation and gritty FOD feeling) and disorienting as are most eye injuries and medical attention is indeed warranted.

In both cases, the eye will heal, although the small diameter beam injury can leave permanent damage. I have a colleague who suffered an argon [email protected] eye injury and has a (very small) permanent black spot in his vision. This was from a 2.5 watt [email protected] at a distance of about 50 cm though and argon [email protected] have much tighter collimated beams than [email protected] pointers do.

So yes, [email protected] can injure, but at distance, it will more likely be a temporary flash injury as opposed to a more permanent heat initiated burn injury.
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Old 24th Feb 2016, 21:34
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This photo might also provide a useful frame of reference. It shows a single [email protected] beam in a corridor. Notice how much glow and green light it radiates in the immediate area. Now imagine being in a dark cockpit with your eyes adjusted to the night and this suddenly happens. Your world will quite literally and unexpectedly turn green. Your automatic reaction is to close your eyes, or at the very least you will blink a few times while trying to get accustomed to the visual overload. Whatever you were concentrating on is going to be severely compromised.

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Old 25th Feb 2016, 07:19
  #236 (permalink)  
 
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Chesty Morgan,
You stated that physical eye damage isn't the only issue. The title of this thread refers to one particular incident, are you speculating or asserting that something else is at play?

Last edited by beardy; 25th Feb 2016 at 07:50.
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Old 25th Feb 2016, 18:23
  #237 (permalink)  
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Correct, it isn't and I'm doing neither. I'm pointing out that physical eye damage is not the only problem associated with [email protected] attacks.

It's not difficult to understand.
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Old 25th Feb 2016, 21:50
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Brilliant, so illuminating, if cryptic.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Would you kindly expand: apart from physical eye damage what are the problems you wish link to the incident in the thread title. Having suffered a [email protected] 'attack' I am interested in your views.

Last edited by beardy; 25th Feb 2016 at 22:00.
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Old 25th Feb 2016, 22:07
  #239 (permalink)  
 
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beardy
Brilliant, so illuminating, if cryptic.
His answers to your questions are very clear.

He agrees he said physical eye damage isn't the only issue and that is still his view. Mine too.

He's neither speculating or asserting that something else is at play in the Virgin incident.

The discussion moved on some time ago from the Virgin incident to a wider discussion about the dangers created by idiots with [email protected]
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Old 26th Feb 2016, 06:27
  #240 (permalink)  
 
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Yet despite all the talk, these pilots still managed to fly without being too distracted.
These guys are not at 1000s of feet, and it is not a single pointer yet they are fine.

Something does not add up.



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