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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 15th Feb 2016, 17:01
  #81 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Mark in CA
A bit over the top?
Not really.

If you have reasonable grounds for having or using a low-powered one (such as a teacher/lecturer, builder, etc) then you would be allowed one.

If you do not have reasonable grounds and/or you have a high-powered one, then it would be an issue.


In the same way that having a knife without good reason is an offence, but if you do have good reason (such as a chef taking knives to/from work) then it is deemed acceptable if not used illegally or for threatening with.



By classing them as offensive weapons, it means that a conviction would be easier, and the punishment upon conviction would be greater, acting to hopefully deter others who may otherwise have gone on to do the same.
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 17:18
  #82 (permalink)  
 
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<I was lasered recently at 7000' near MAN.>

Can you provide any independent cites for this? I'm just baulking a little bit at the marksmanship required to target an aeroplane's cockpit windows from a range of several miles and would like some confirmation that it actually happens (and with what equipment).

PDR
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 17:25
  #83 (permalink)  
 
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It is perhaps worth mentioning that despite laser attacks on aircraft being measured in the thousands per year around the globe, not a single crash has resulted as a result of these incidents, nor a single life lost.

That may well be due to the outstanding performance and training of professional aircrew or it may be that the disruption that such incidents cause is in fact over stated.

Anything that needlessly endangers an aircraft in flight is to be utterly condemned.

As self loading freight, I may not know much about professional flight operations, but I do know a lot about laser beams, beam divergence angles, diffraction, attenuation through glass and optical coatings and eye safety when using lasers. Other posters have already supplied sufficient details for readers to make their own assessment of the risks posed to sight from high powered optical sources aimed at an aircraft in flight.

Typically laser dazzle incidents do not result in permanent injury but may cause temporary disruption of normal vision, disorientation, confusion and eye irritation, all effects that are seriously hazardous to flight, especially in darkness.

I fully accept the crew acted in accordance with their training but question the decision to return to the departure airport rather than landing at the nearest available airport for the pilot to receive urgent medical attention. Nothing to do with the costs of providing accomodation and an onward flight for the passengers I suppose? Bean counters strike again. Heathrow is a pretty busy airport for single pilot operations, although a Pan call would facilitate matters.
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 17:34
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IMHO this and clowns with drones are the biggest latent safety threat we face today.
Better stand-by for a monstering; that's what I got when I stated this view and then stuck to it in R&N a little while ago.

I ducked out of the argument when it became apparent it was a waste of time. I think, I hope, I said something along the lines of "OK then, let's wait, shall we, until the first loss of life in an aviation incident or accident caused by a drone, before making selling, owning or operating one a criminal offence". Nothing that has happened since has proved me wrong. We are simply waiting for that loss of life to happen.

Mind you, the first mass casualty event caused by a drone is even more likely to be terrorism-related, whether or not an aircraft is the target.

PS I see that what I actually said, just under a year ago was
What a pity that, as always, we are waiting for the bodies to pile up before acting forcefully to remove a known and obvious hazard. (EG - empty fuel tank ignition.)
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 17:37
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Originally Posted by wiggy
If that had happened in JFK it gives Virgin crewing problems for the reciprocal sector.
Are outbound and return flights LHR-JFK operated by the same crew??

I thought the crew would be heading to a hotel for a rest period, instead of immediately operating the return flight. This would give Virgin plenty of time to fly in a replacement crew.
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 17:40
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It is perhaps worth mentioning that despite l@ser attacks on aircraft being measured in the thousands per year around the globe, not a single crash has resulted as a result of these incidents, nor a single life lost.
Oh that's okay then, we'll all have to put up with these idiots doing their best to distract, dazzle and blind us until someone pays with their life and then it'll become a problem.

Great.

question the decision to return to the departure airport rather than landing at the nearest available airport
Ironically it is often easier to return to your home base where you are familiar and comfortable with all procedures, approaches, taxy patterns and parking areas than it is to divert single pilot to an airfield that you are totally unfamiliar with.

What may seem 'logical' with 20/20 hindsight is often not so logical when fed with further details and facts. Unless you have experience of operating 200 tonne aircraft into unfamiliar fields you won't begin to comprehend the potential problems especially if your colleague is not up to assisting you with your approach. Go with what you know.

Typically laser dazzle incidents do not result in permanent injury but may cause temporary disruption of normal vision, disorientation, confusion and eye irritation, all effects that are seriously hazardous to flight, especially in darkness.
Surely the effects are entirely dependent upon what device is being used and it's power level? Both the US military and the Chinese Military have laser blinding weapons for anti aircraft use. I'm not saying the chav muppets are using things like that but a powerful visible spectrum laser shone into the eyes at night is a dangerous thing. Quite simply there is absolutely no excuse for it.

As for the ability to 'target' the aircraft we are normally not talking about a constant perfect bead on the aircraft. The beam usually flickers about as the fool on the other end tries to track the aircraft.
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 17:45
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Heathrow is a pretty busy airport for single pilot operations, although a Pan call would facilitate matters.
It does. Mayday is even better if you are single pilot in a twin with an engine fire.
On that occasion the handling by ATC was outstanding.
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 17:48
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This would give Virgin plenty of time to fly in a replacement crew.
So it would, but dead-heading time cannot be counted as rest or off-duty time, at least in airlines I used to work with. So the replacement would need a rest period before operating.
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 17:53
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The above does bring one to the combination of drone and laser. Frightening. The next scenarios would better be written by Ian Fleming.
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 17:59
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It is perhaps worth mentioning that despite l@ser attacks on aircraft being measured in the thousands per year around the globe, not a single crash has resulted as a result of these incidents, nor a single life lost.

That may well be due to the outstanding performance and training of professional aircrew or it may be that the disruption that such incidents cause is in fact over stated.
Gouli, surely you're not saying that, because no one has died yet, laser attacks are not dangerous. Please tell me you're not even suggesting that as a possible argument.

As self loading freight, I may not know much about professional flight operations... [I] question the decision to return to the departure airport rather than landing at the nearest available airport for the pilot to receive urgent medical attention.
Sorry, but I don't think you know much about eyes, either. Given the choice, I'd rather struggle on for an extra few minutes and land at Heathrow to get some world class eyeball doctors - eg at Moorfields Eye Hospital - rather than land at Shannon.

And I'm struggling to square this implied criticism that they didn't land quickly enough with your earlier accusation that they need not have landed early at all. I respectfully suggest you just stop contributing to this thread now because you're only making things worse.

Failing that, try shining a laser in your left ear and see if the light comes out the right.
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 18:20
  #91 (permalink)  
 
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cockpitvisit

I thought the crew would be heading to a hotel for a rest period, instead of immediately operating the return flight. This would give Virgin plenty of time to fly in a replacement crew.
Obviously that's not why VA returned last night but as a generic reply to your comment ( because the principles apply if for example somebody falls ill downroute):

How quickly can you get a replacement, perhaps from home, into the base airport (2-3 hours)?
What's the delay until the next available outbound flight departs: Later same day- 2-3 hours+? The next day A.M.- 8-10+?
What's the flight time base - destination (e.g. LHR-JFK, 8'ish hours) ?
How long a rest period is then needed post positioning before operating back?
(may be 11-12 hours at hotel, depends on the rule set )?

You can do the sums, but unless you're lucky you almost certainly won't have "plenty of time".

TBH I've usually found that if things go wrong downroute on a <=24 hour slip that unless the company can re-jig the trip of a suitably qualified pilot already at that destination and switch him/her onto your trip you'll usually have a delay.

Last edited by wiggy; 16th Feb 2016 at 05:59. Reason: format
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 18:22
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Dave's brother

I stated that anything that needlessly endangers an aircraft in flight is to be utterly condemned in the next sentence, which you chose not to quote.

I'm quite sure that Eire has eye surgeons that are the equal of those in the UK and who may have trained at Moorfields. Eire is not some medical backwater.

The laser attack happened close to Heathrow. As I understand it, a decision to turn back was made out over the Atlantic. It would appear that it took a while to assess the effects of the laser dazzle. Having made a decision to land in order for medical treatment to be provided, landing at the nearest airport with medical facilities would seem appropriate. However, Wirbelsturm has pointed out that landing at an airport you are familiar with is better than an unscheduled landing elsewhere.
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 18:28
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Originally Posted by G0ULI
I fully accept the crew acted in accordance with their training but question the decision to return to the departure airport rather than landing at the nearest available airport for the pilot to receive urgent medical attention. Nothing to do with the costs of providing accomodation and an onward flight for the passengers I suppose? Bean counters strike again. Heathrow is a pretty busy airport for single pilot operations, although a Pan call would facilitate matters.
Nearest suitable airport is not necessarily the closest in straight-line distance. Suitable isn't just talking about 'can the aircraft safely land there', it's talking about a whole load of factors, which you take into account or disregard, depending on the severity of the situation. If it is very critical, you disregard all but the flight safety factors. If it is not so critical and there are many options available, you can begin to consider operational/commercial aspects, such as replacement aircraft/crew, engineering cover, pax/ac handling etc.


Especially for a big aircraft (i.e. long haul) you have to factor in things like altitude, weight (actual and max landing), fuel (and fuel dump rate if applicable) before making your decision.


If it takes you 30 minutes to dump a necessary amount of fuel and a further 20 minutes to get down from altitude you have a lot of time to travel a lot of distance. Returning to ADEP is a pretty reasonable decision rather than dropping into somewhere in Ireland.
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 18:38
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LlamaFarmer

Thank you. It makes a lot more sense when someone takes the time to explain the reasoning behind such decisions.

While professional pilots frequently express outrage when their decisions are questioned by ground dwellers and self loading freight, our safety also depends on them being able to do their jobs safely and without unnecessary distractions. We also ultimately pay their wages, in plane tickets and transport costs, so I think it does some good to mount a challenge to the decision making process sometimes.
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 19:04
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Can't see (excuse the pun) any reason why the Captain wouldn't return to LHR. VS are based there, might have had a spare crew unlikely but if not then the next day. Yes div to Shannon but unfamiliar airport increased work for one man if situ deteriorated.
Fact is crews come up with a host of reasons not to turn up for work. Once airborne however, no one would divert back to base without good reason. Hope the FO is OK.
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 19:21
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so I think it does some good to mount a challenge to the decision making process sometimes
Why? Do you also tell a surgeon how to go about his business? Or a Dentist? Do you tell a delivery driver how to setup his route to deliver a package for you? Perhaps you expect to be involved in the decision making process behind putting a power station together as you pay for electricity?

You do not 'pay my wages' I'm afraid. The company that employs me for my skills and the execution of the privileges of my licence pays me. You pay for a service and the company pays me to provide that service. Yes the revenue generated by commercial passengers is the source of my remuneration as distributed by my employer but I'm afraid that gives no passenger the right to question the validity of my command decisions. For those I am responsible to my crew and the company.
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 20:04
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My guess is that, once notified, Virgin Flight Control, after consultation with their legal department, had no choice but to recall the flight.

This, from a purely liability standpoint.
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 20:54
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so I think it does some good to mount a challenge to the decision making process sometimes.
Not by idiots like you, who haven't a clue what they are talking about G0ULI. You've just dug yourself in deeper. For God's sake just shut up!
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 21:06
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Wirbelsturm

I do indeed tell my surgeons what course of treatment I want and have been fortunate to be able to select those best suited to my needs. Dentists likewise.

The NHS has specific provisions for anyone to do this if you know how the system works.

I may not care specifically how a package is delivered to me, but I can ensure that I select a delivery company that delivers when I want and where I want. I don't have to sit around at home all day waiting to see if a parcel will arrive.

Likewise other trades.

If I am paying the bill, I get to choose who does the job, how the job is done, with what materials and to what standard. I expect the people I employ to use their professional skills to get the job done safely, efficiently and finished or delivered on time. For me, the system works. I'm in good health for my age, as far as I am concerned, and I have fortunately never been seriously let down by any tradesman. Even my parcels and packages have arrived without any issues. I have never had a "lost" delivery in the mail. Perhaps that is extraordinary, but I regard it as a result of doing my research and picking the best man or service for the task at hand.

I pick my electricity supplier (EDF) because they are heavily invested in nuclear power, which I happen to support. Clearly many people would consider that a ridiculous decision to take considering the consequences of a mishap at a nuclear plant. I just happen to believe that nuclear power is less damaging to the wider environment than other forms of power generation. I may well be wrong about that. Sometimes you just have to go with your feelings.

I pick my airlines based upon their safety record primarily, although Quantas don't operate from all the destinations I would like to fly from and to.

I may not pay anyone's wages directly into their pocket, but I decide what services I use and which companies are getting my money. The very definition of a free market economy.

Once an aircraft leaves the ground, the Captain carries the responsibility for making all decisions that affect the flight. With the exception of the co-pilot, no one has the right to challenge those decisions while the aircraft is aloft. After an incident has happened and been resolved, it is only right to consider if a better course of action could have been pursued. In most cases it will turn out that the Captain made the right choices given the information available to him at that time. This is generally true in most other professions too and can be considered a measure of skill and judgement attained through experience.
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 21:18
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Media attention as we have seen coupled with the low probability of persons being caught can only increase the attractiveness and frequency of this type of reckless endanderment to such idiots.
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