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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 16th Feb 2016, 12:07
  #141 (permalink)  
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You don't have to maintain a lock. There isn't an LGB incoming.

A momentary flash or two, or three, or more is enough.

It is, however, quite easy to zap a passing airliner
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 12:13
  #142 (permalink)  
 
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I'm genuinely intrigued, those few of you that think us in the pilot community are 'overplaying' this ;- Do you think we are overstating the number of occurrences or the effects of them ? I'm a current Airline guy and I know of half a dozen colleagues that have been Lazed and at least half of those suffered medical effects of varying duration. Even if there are no medical consequences, can you not see the issue with being temporarily blinded/dazzled just before landing/after take-off ?
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 12:18
  #143 (permalink)  
 
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One day I was sitting in my home office and a little runt (misspelling) 100 yards up the road shone a laser through my window. I was staggered by the effect of what must have been a very momentary flash from what was probably a low-powered device (he was about ten years old so doubt he would have gotten hold of anything seriously powerful); my world turned green and I was seeing spots for quite a few minutes afterwards - I would not have liked to be piloting an aircraft, or driving or doing anything requiring decent vision. Seems to me that some of the posters who are suggesting it's not a potentially very serious problem have never had one of these things shone in their faces.....
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 12:26
  #144 (permalink)  
 
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PDRI says:
I posted an analysis with the power density numbers showing that the problem was unlikely to be as significant as suggested

His theory focuses upon lasers aimed at airliners at height.

The evidence from around the world shows that, in practice, airliners are predominantly targeted when they are on approach to or departing from airports.
The former more often than the latter.

There is a significant problem.
Suggesting that there is not is ridiculous.
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 12:27
  #145 (permalink)  
 
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Tourist,
The data that PDR1 posted demonstrated that it would be difficult to hold a laser beam onto an aircraft at a few thousand feet, at least for long enough to affect the pilot/s.
But however difficult it may be to 'hit' an aircraft the fact is that some users have been able to achieve this, as demonstrated by the many reports to CAA and other authorities.

There are clearly many of these lasers in the wrong hands, and a 'success' rate of 1% or even 0.1% in hitting an aircraft is still too much.

Where Gouli and PDR1 have gone too far is to suggest that their calculations prove the pilots' reports and actions to be false or with some ulterior motive. That is offensive and unacceptable.
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 12:30
  #146 (permalink)  
 
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I somehow think Karma or Darwin theory will kick in.

Some of these laser pointers are now quite powerful in respect of their size claiming to be able to pump out a few Watts of light energy.
The rocket scientists who buy these like to play with them "show their mates innit" and you will have beam scatter and stray reflections all over the place. i.e. they are slowly destroying their own eyesight. I guarantee not one of the "brain dead" will have had the thought to protect their own eyesight with goggles especially when the are drinking or high and playing with the pointer.

Lets wait to see the first serious self inflicted eye injury.
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 12:55
  #147 (permalink)  
 
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California Man Walloped With 14-Year Sentence for Shining Laser at Helicopter - US News

The Americans certainly don't mess about when it comes to sentencing.

Similar exemplary sentences in the UK would go a long way towards stamping out the stupidity.

Edit. On a disappointing note, it seems that the pondlfe scum's sentence was vacated on appeal. Still, five years is a not unsubstantial sentence.
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 12:56
  #148 (permalink)  
 
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Actually I do not think PDR1 proved you could not hit an aircraft. I think Chesty's point about divergence (beam diameter at height) easily found on the internet confirms what most of the professional pilots on this site know; that it is not that difficult to target an aircraft. If you can hold it steady enough to point at a star then hitting an aircraft is perfectly possible. Where I thought his calculations were interesting was at what distance he thought it would damage your eyes. The 900 mW laser site sells safety glasses so obviously close in the manufacturer thinks this is a problem. About ninety percent of my encounters with lasers have been on approach. One airfield I regularly approach without lights and with autopilot to minimums because it is such a regular event, not in Europe I might add and nothing gets done about it despite regular reports.
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 13:05
  #149 (permalink)  
 
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I apologise if this has been 'asked & answered' as I cam to this topic quite late. Have there been any reports of laser attacks against other transport personnel, e.g. cars, lorries, trains, etc?
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 13:10
  #150 (permalink)  
 
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RAT

Can't vouch for accuracy but a quick Google found this:UK Rail Union Warns over Increase in Laser Attacks | News on News

and

Police probe after laser shone at Montrose train driver - The Scotsman
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 15:21
  #151 (permalink)  
 
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Since the randomizer has apparently caused my last post to be eliminated, I'm going to say the same thing in different words: why not wear red lensed laser safety glasses at low altitude? That should cut down on the effectiveness of blue/green lasers, which seem to be the main problem. Such glasses are available cheaply.
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 15:25
  #152 (permalink)  
 
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Since the randomizer has apparently caused my last post to be eliminated, I'm going to say the same thing in different words: why not wear red lensed l@ser safety glasses at low altitude? That should cut down on the effectiveness of blue/green l@sers, which seem to be the main problem. Such glasses are available cheaply.
Given the use of coloured lights/screens on the flightdeck and in runway lighting, PAPI kit etc I'd have thought disadvantage with anything that interfered with colour vision would be pretty clear.
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 15:32
  #153 (permalink)  
 
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There are options available and being investigated.

Laser Pointer Safety - Protective eyewear for pilots
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 15:54
  #154 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Sallyann1234
(G0ULI) It really is time that you left here and moved back to the Spotters Corner where you can converse with equals.
I take exception that comment, I'm a 'spotter' (although I prefer the term, 'enthusiast') and I certainly don't want to be considered an 'equal' of, G0ULI's!

-RP
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 16:10
  #155 (permalink)  
 
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seen_the_box
Edit. On a disappointing note, it seems that the pondlfe scum's sentence was vacated on appeal.
It was.

Sergio Rodriguez was originally found guilty of violating two Federal laws:
18 U.S.C. 39A which deals specifically with laser pointers.
He was sentenced to 5 years (the maximum) and did not appeal either conviction or sentence.

18 U.S.C. 32 – willfully attempting to interfere with or disable, with intent to endanger the safety of any person or with a reckless disregard for the safety of human life, anyone engaged in the authorized operation of such aircraft.
He was sentenced to 14 years. (Maximum 20 yrs)
He successfully appealed the second conviction.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said, in very brief summary, that the appropriate offence in both instances should have been 39A.
Quote from the Opinion: "Section 39A is designed for knuckleheads like him."
He was ultimately sentenced to 5 years on each, concurrent.

Similar exemplary sentences in the UK would go a long way towards stamping out the stupidity.
Our equivalent of 18 U.S.C. 39A (maximum 5 yrs) is an offence contrary to Article 222 of the ANO:
“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”.
(In force since 2010.)

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 Court, and, incredible though it may seem, there is no power to impose a custodial sentence.
The maximum penalty is a fine.

Last edited by Flying Lawyer; 16th Feb 2016 at 16:45.
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 16:11
  #156 (permalink)  
 
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There are problems with laser protection glasses/goggles, they are not perfect, whatever the manufacturers will tell you. For example, some create a problem with depth perception for the instruments so that (eg) PFDs appear to float, some interfere with display colours, etc.

You would need to conduct proper trials to prove that the displays provided by the aircraft OEM are either unaffected by the chosen glasses or that any effects are acceptable.

The doctors will tell you it is normally better to prevent the disease rather than try to cure it later. We should therefore be trying to stop the attacks (which are crimes under UK law) rather than mitigate the results. And before anybody resorts to standard PPrune argumentum ad hominem, I accept that we may eventually need to go down both routes!
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 16:26
  #157 (permalink)  
 
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Product Specifications

I would expect it would be quite easy to hit an aircraft with a laser that emits a fan-shaped beam rather than a "dot" particularly when it is designed to signal searching assets, including aircraft.

The website includes this interesting paragraph:

//
In February 2012, the United States Congress passed into law HR658 authorizing appropriations for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for fiscal years 2011 through 2014. Included in the law is Section 311 "Prohibition Against Aiming a Laser Pointer at an Aircraft". Section 311 39A(c)(3) on page 56 specifically exempts "an individual using a laser emergency signaling devices to send an emergency distress signal." Greatland Laser has sold it's patented laser emergency signaling devices throughout the world for over 10 years. We have never had a safety issue with the products. Under the exception provided in this federal law, Rescue Laser are legal to signal an aircraft for help in an emergency.
//

I would submit that jumping to the conclusion that these incidents are all the result of nuisance behaviour with low-powered devices by kids and idiots may be an underreaction. Given the present political climate, it is entirely possible that a certain percentage of these incidents are serious attempts on the safety of the aircraft by serious individuals.

We were issued special helmet visors in the RCAF helicopter fleet that were alleged to protect our vision, perhaps in the long term aircraft manufacturers could include such protection in new windscreens.

Last edited by Viper 7; 16th Feb 2016 at 16:38.
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 17:29
  #158 (permalink)  
 
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Hi
Why can't they make it a offence for anyone to carry a laser pointer without a GOOD excuse ??. You can't carry a knife as it is an offence.
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 17:34
  #159 (permalink)  
 
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@RAT 5,

Have there been any reports of laser attacks against other transport personnel, e.g. cars, lorries, trains, etc?
Yes - see my post 74.

WRT 'aiming': as I said in the post above it more of a strafing as their hand shakes, but the FLASH dark FLASH... combination is part of the problem as it adds to the disorientation in my direct experience.

EG
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 17:35
  #160 (permalink)  
 
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The point most of you seem to be missing is that if the beam diverges, it does make the target easier to hit, but the spot power as experienced by the eye will be a tiny fraction of the laser output power equal to the orignal power, the area of the diverged bean at said distance and the eye receiving area.
Some of these lasers rumoured to be 50W for example, are still 5000 times more powerful than what is considered safe (1mW blink reaction safe) so even diverged could be injurious in an unlucky case.
However if you follow my posts on the other laser thread... There is absolutely no reason why any member of joe public needs anything above 1mW for general use (office pointers, laser levels etc) Anything above that is simply dangerous. Laser light is classed as a non-ionizing radiation and in the workplace exposure is controlled by health and safety regulations.
Its long past time these devices were regulated/banned. There is simply no necessary public use for them, and great scope for injury.
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