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Old 11-21-2008, 12:51 AM #49
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Default Re: Aircrafts

ildadirect: I have not heard of a multiwatt laser directed at a plane before... I doubt average Joe would shell out a few grand to blast an airplane with a laser that can hardly be lifted. If something like that happens I'm sure it would be an accident on part of a stray beam from a laser show or out a window... something of that nature.

My opinion on the matter:

I honestly do not see this problem being solved any time soon.
I do see a ban in more countries in the near future.

The problem is that lasers are becoming more available to the average uneducated irresponsible child (or childish adult).
The problem is that places like Kaidomain and Dealextreme offer these lasers for just a few bucks, when before, there was a price and age barrier, and a limited knowledge of these devices.
It is good that these are available for hobbyists because it provides an affordable introduction to the hobby, but not everyone who buys a laser is a hobbyist. Most just get one because it has a cool beam that a curious human will point at whatever is in sight- simply because it's fascinating to see.

If these lasers were not so cheap and easily obtainable, this problem would not exist, or at least it would not be so prevalent.
The pilots and airline companies should not have to deal with this problem, however, the real danger is exaggerated, as it is with many things.
The average cruise altitude of an airliner is about 10km (if i remember correctly).
The average divergence of a green pen laser is >1.2mRad with an initial beam diameter of 1mm.
At that distance, the beam will be 12m across. The beam will be hardly visible. Even with a relatively low divergence (1- 0.8mRad) the beam will be >7m across. With a <100mW green laser (which is what I would think is the most commonly used type), a beam diameter this large will make the laser no brighter than many of the other lights on the ground. Managing to hit the aircraft and keep it on it for an extended period is difficult.

The real danger is at takeoff or landing, or to low flying helicopters.
To fix this, simply find and persecute those responsible. Find the idiot in the airport, follow the beam to the kid's back yard... they've caught people before, they can do it again.
Make an example of these bastards. Fine them (prison seems too much). Require a permit for use of Class IIIA, IIIB, and IV lasers.
If you think it is too big a task for the law enforcement agency, I think you're wrong.
I see the law enforcement agencies (at least in California) as an incompetent group. I have no hatred of police or any resentment toward them, I just think they don't do what they should be doing. These "attacks" can be managed. The resources are available. But instead, while eight year old Jane is getting molested and John is getting mugged at the park with his girlfriend, or kids are selling weed, X, shrooms, and coke at school, the police are busy handing out parking violation tickets and interrogating 15 year old kids who are outside the movies an hour after curfew.
The law enforcement can handle this, at least a little more efficiently. Bans are lazy and inefficient legislation to make the public think something is being done.

Terrorists-
A term used much too frequently these days. People are afraid of terrorism- especially because of the current situation of worldwide affairs.
These people that point lasers are not terrorists. The media, and airline companies, and law enforcement agencies know that this word scares people, and by labeling them terrorists, they can get the uninformed (and misinformed) public to say "Gasp! Lasers can bring down planes! BAN THEM!" The same thing applies to (although it is not as extreme as) the second red scare in the late 1940's (for those of you who do not know American History, look here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_scare). By labeling something with a name that the general population believes is evil, dangerous, or threatening, you can gain consensus on whatever you want. If you scare people enough, they will believe and do whatever you want them to.
There has not been a single reported incident in which a laser pointer has been a direct cause of a fatal plane crash, or any failure in an aircraft- or not one that I or anyone I know has heard of.
The danger is there, but not as extreme as we are led to believe. If the populace believes they are threatened they will allow any legislation to pass if they believe it will protect them. They will sacrifice whatever freedoms they have left to feel safe. Lies and embellishment have caused this psychological blunder.

This problem can only be solved by education and elimination of cheap sources to irresponsible children and adults.
Requiring a permit or 18+yr age requirement could be a small patch, but this will only dissolve once people understand that these actions are immature, dangerous, and irresponsible and once the law enforcement enforce the law.
People must understand the true capabilities and dangers of these devices, and people must grow up, learn to use common sense, and stop being paranoid.

I have no faith that any of these things will happen.
I have no faith in humanity- education is no longer emphasized or encouraged; I see high school kids with a lower reading level than my ten year old sister.
We are headed downhill fast.

Don't count on a solution.



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Old 11-21-2008, 01:00 AM #50
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Default Re: Aircrafts

Nicely put... [smiley=thumbsup.gif]
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Old 11-21-2008, 02:16 AM #51
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Default Re: Aircrafts

Why dont the pilots just wear them at night time when taking off/ landing ?
in the day time, i dont think it would do any harm to a pilot because there eyes are not dilated like at night time.
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Old 11-21-2008, 02:27 AM #52
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Default Re: Aircrafts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesdaman14
Why dont the pilots just wear them at night time when taking off/ landing ?
in the day time, i dont think it would do any harm to a pilot because there eyes are not dilated like at night time.

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Old 11-21-2008, 02:32 AM #53
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Default Re: Aircrafts

Quote:
Originally Posted by wannaburn
[quote author=Wesdaman14 link=1225240665/40#51 date=1227237374]Why dont the pilots just wear them at night time when taking off/ landing ?
in the day time, i dont think it would do any harm to a pilot because there eyes are not dilated like at night time.

[/quote]
LOL QUČ ?
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Old 11-21-2008, 05:08 AM #54
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Default Re: Aircrafts

RA_pierce: I agree with much of what you have written.

Yes, the problem may not be solved any time soon. At least ILDA and others are trying to get the word out. Perhaps this effort is too optimistic and too late. But I'd rather try and fail than to just wait around for further bans.

And I also agree that further bans may happen in some countries in the near future. Again, the ILDA effort may help slow this. For my personal (selfish!) view, it would be nice not to have a ban in the U.S., or to have a reasonable limit such as 50 mW instead of 1 mW (UK).

I agree completely that "if these lasers were not so cheap and easily obtainable, this problem would not exist, or at least it would not be so prevalent." Back when pointers were rare, such incidents were also rare. Proponents of a ban are right in the sense that if there are fewer laser pointers in the hands of the general public, there will be fewer incidents. (I don't think anyone believes that a ban will completely solve the problem, or will totally eliminate laser pointers in a country.)

You state "the real danger is exaggerated." This depends on what you mean by "real danger". If you mean a heap of smoking metal, that is an unlikely scenario to be caused solely because of a laser pointer illumination. But aircraft accidents usually result from a number of unlikely scenarios that happen to come together. Right now in the U.S., a laser-aircraft incident happens about once per day. At some point, a daily laser flash may be the straw that breaks the camel's back as an aircrew is dealing with other problems.

You gave an example of an airliner at cruise altitude of 10 km. Most experts in this field (SAE G-10T) would not claim there is danger during cruise, even for a flashblinding illumination. The reasons are because 1) the aircraft is likely to be on autopilot, and 2) there is plenty of altitude and time to recover. (Hopefully there is no air traffic nearby!) So this is not a scenario that worries the experts too much.

Incidentally a 100 mW green laser would cause glare out to about 7 km, and would be a distraction to 70 km. Multiply these by 2.5 to find the glare and distraction distances for a more powerful pointer such as a 250 mW Spyder II GX.

You say, correctly, that the real danger is at takeoff or landing, or to low-flying helicopters. The June 2004 FAA simulator study found that on a "short-final" approach, there were "operational and performance problems" including missed approaches, roughly 20-33% of the time after a laser illumination at 100 feet. A missed approach is not smoking metal, but it also reflects conditions that pilots should not have to put up with.

You say "to fix this, simply [!] find and persecute those responsible". While some laser sources have been traced, often this is understandably difficult. I agree that law enforcement should try to find offenders, but this so hard that it is nowhere near a "fix" to the problem.

You suggest requiring a permit for use of Class 3A, 3B and 4 lasers. I don't yet have a position on this. It is a complex issue with good and bad points on both sides.

I partially agree that "bans are lazy and inefficient legislation to make the public think something is being done". If a ban is even partially successful, then it has gotten some laser pointers "off the streets". I have to admit that is better than nothing.

At the LaserPointerSafety.com FAQ, there is more info about the problems with bans. I will just state that so far, bans or severe restrictions seem to be the only actions that have been taken. That's why I don't want to spend a lot of time on proposals to require pilots to wear goggles, or airlines to retrofit windscreens into 3-wavelength bandpass filters, or thinking that law enforcement can "simply" find most laser attackers. Pilots, airlines, law enforcement, and aviation officials aren't going to take steps that cause them inconvenience or extra costs. They would far prefer to inconvenience those who started the problem, and who are the most powerless group in this issue: laser pointer users. I can't really blame them.

You "have no faith" that the problem will be "solved by education and elimination of cheap sources to irresponsible children and adults." This may be true. As I said, ILDA's effort may be too optimistic and too late. But I still think it is worth a try. (Perhaps I watched The Terminator too much, and I believe we can change fate. * )

One good thing about this effort is that it puts the fate of laser pointers in the hands of pointer enthusiasts. We don't need to rely on pilots, airlines, law enforcement, etc.

-- Patrick

PS: About "terrorists": I don't think many people are saying the laser-pointer attackers are truly terrorists. Some lay people may use the word in a lazy way to describe anyone deliberately targeting aircraft. Or they may be describing possible future scenarios by real, honest-to-goodness terrorists.

A true terrorist might consider using lasers in a determined, focused way. Pilots and aviation officials need to consider this remote possibility. For a variety of reasons, I don't think pilots need or could effectively use emergency goggles. However, pilots should get training in how to recover from an illumination, no matter what the source -- idiot or terrorist -- and no matter whether it is an accident or deliberate. Some efforts are already underway. I wish they could be hurried up.

Pilot training is not a substitute for trying to end laser pointer abuse on the ground. The number of incidents needs to be dramatically reduced, which can only be done on the ground. If there IS an incident or deliberate attack, then pilots need to know how to safely react. These are two sides of the same coin.
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Old 11-21-2008, 05:41 AM #55
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Default Re: Aircrafts

And how would one recover from a true threat such as a 60W YAG? Or even 5W for that matter? I just dont see the solution where there is serious intent.


BTW any stats in AU since the ban?
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Old 11-21-2008, 07:07 AM #56
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Default Re: Aircrafts

What laser pointer can light a piece of paper on fire from across the room?

According to CBC they exist and are green

http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/play...&ch=222566
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Old 11-21-2008, 11:49 AM #57
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Default Re: Aircrafts

why should the airlines have to pay?
sure, they can afford it, but can small services flying single engine props that approach much slower and lower to the ground that are more vulnerable.. afford it. it would mean every single aircraft for night flying would need to be equiped with these features.

Possibly adding weight, reducing performace and making aeroplanes more expensive. thus, making you the customer pay more.
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Old 11-21-2008, 02:44 PM #58
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Default Re: Aircrafts

Quote:
Originally Posted by wannaburn
And how would one recover from a true threat such as a 60W YAG? Or even 5W for that matter? I just dont see the solution where there is serious intent.
Assume that someone evil is using a very high power laser with the ability to track and stay on the cockpit window. Also assume the exposure characteristics are not enough to damage the fovea. (This is a reasonable assumption. It is pretty hard to cause serious total-blindness eye damage in a scenario like this.). So the main problem here is a very bright light continuously blocking the view, plus temporary vision-blocking afterimage from the initial exposure.

Many aircraft can be flown in low or zero visibility such as fog. In this case, the "fog" has come up unexpectedly. The pilots would execute a missed approach relying on their instruments, also calling in an emergency to the tower who would get other planes out of the way. They then could work on an ILS landing at the airport, or divert to the next closest airport.

Prior training for a laser illumination will help. Pilots need to know to not panic, to avoid looking at the light, to work as a team, etc.

All this is hypothetical, of course. A private plane with a single pilot and no instrument landing equipment would be at greater risk. And as I have said before, aircraft accidents usually consist of a series of unlikely events, each individually recoverable, that add up to tragedy. So I am definitely not minimizing the threat.

What I am saying is that compared to other threats against aircraft, a deliberate laser attack has a pretty low chance of success. There is an even lower chance of success if pilots have had previous training on laser recognition and recovery.

Cautionary note: Despite the relatively low risk, there is absolutely no reason to ever aim a laser pointer at an aircraft. Pilots should NEVER have to be put in such a situation.

Quote:
BTW any stats in AU since the ban?
That is an excellent question. I have not seen anything conclusive. Anecdotally, I have not seen as many incident reports in the press since the ban. I will ask around to see if Australian officials have an opinion or have done any studies.
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Old 11-21-2008, 04:18 PM #59
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Default Re: Aircrafts

Quote:
I don't think pilots need or could effectively use emergency goggles.
Not Emergency Goggles... Safety Googles....

They already do a similar operation.... every time it is really sunny....
they put on Sunglasses... And without fumbling around in the cockpit... :
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Old 11-21-2008, 06:19 PM #60
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Default Re: Aircrafts

The question is not whether pilots have the ability to don goggles without endangering the aircraft. Of course they can put them on. The question (or one of them) is whether once donned, will the inevitable color-restricting qualities of the the bandpass filters interfere with pilots' ability to see colors on cockpit instruments, CRT/LCD screens, and outside-the-window landing and indicator lights. In addition, given that a filter gives fixed OD at a fixed wavelength, can this protect from expected scenarios? For example, will the OD be either too dense to see vital indicator lights, or too weak to provide protection from a strong hit?

I mentioned "Emergency Goggles" because there could be conditions when it would be smart to have goggles in a cockpit, ready to go, in case of a deliberate or sustained attack. I am not advocating this based on the current incident reports. Certainly there would be many questions about how well this concept might work, and whether it would be cost-effective.

I am getting a bit tired of the goggle discussions. Sometimes a person focuses on one aspect ("pilots can put them on", "they can have multiple bandpasses&quot without seeing the big real-world picture. Simply put, there is no way that pilots, airlines and regulators are going to willingly wear goggles for night operations, in order that laser pointers users can continue to be essentially unregulated.

Now, anyone who really thinks goggles are a better solution than a laser pointer ban, should stop talking about it and take some action. For example, set up a website called "PilotsMustWearGoggles.com" to explain why this is a viable option. Try to work with the SAE G-10T, various pilot associations, the FAA, Congress and others to advocate required goggle-wearing. (You are welcome to attend the February 2009 SAE G-10T meeting in Melbourne FL to make a presentation. I will be there to introduce you to the group.) If you can succeed in this effort, that's great.

However, I don't think such an effort will have much success. One reason is past experience. In countries such as Australia and the U.K., bans and restrictions are always the first major action taken to try to reduce incidents.

The only realistic hope (and it is a thin one!) to keep laser pointers freely available is to get the word out to enthusiasts and casual users to NEVER aim at aircraft. The number of incidents need to drop off, and fast. Fortunately, responsible users and laser pointer manufacturers/distributors can help. Some actions are listed at the LaserPointerSafety.com website.
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Old 11-21-2008, 07:32 PM #61
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Default Re: Aircrafts

I agree with ildadirect.
Requiring pilots to use safety goggles is not a viable solution. Placing filters on cockpit windows is even more impractical.

However, I do not see a very high chance of a multiwatt laser being directed at a plane or helicopter by someone with malicious intent. I do not think the possibility of this incident should be of great concern. Almost all Class IV lasers used by hobbyists are lab type lasers and are much less likely to be pointed at a plane. These, I do not think, are much of a concern. Also, the price of a >500mW laser is always more than $900. Nobody in their right mind would spend that much just to harass a helicopter pilot. Even $50 is a lot for a laser to most people.

When it comes to higher powered, larger portable lasers: Most of the kids buying lasers without knowledge of what irresponsible use entails will not find a >$200 laser -with all kinds of safety features and roughly the size, and many times the weight of, a large cordless phone appealing.
What appeals to these "idiots" is the small, pocketable, cheap lasers.

A possible solution would be to place a tax on the importation of complete Class IIIB portable laser devices that are not FDA approved (with proper safety features and and accession number).

This creates the price barrier again, but allows for untaxed, unhindered importation of lasers that only serious hobbyists and professionals would want (Aries, Hercules, RPL, lab type lasers, and the like).
The majority of these "attacks" would be done by those with 10-50mW pointers from places like dealextreme, because of the low cost and visible beam. Taxing Class IIIB pointers makes it so that 15 year old immature Jimmy can no longer buy a 50mW laser for just $50 with his dad's credit card.
The importation of Class IIIB lasers without FDA approval is already illegal, but it isn't enforced. It needs to be.

Imposing a (reasonable) tax is not too difficult to accomplish and will add authority to the already existing laser laws.





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Old 11-21-2008, 07:54 PM #62
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Default Re: Aircrafts

Importation of Class IIIB portables that are not FDA accessioned is already illegal. But as usual and as a mean of getting around an added tax barrier the manufacturers will continue to import using incorrect harmonized tariff codes to avoid FDA inspection (i.e. light pens, disco lights, flashlights, etc). The manufacturers already state the value of the item very low, like $10.00 to avoid import taxation to the purchaser as it is.

The fact of the matter is that the manufacturers are selling items in the US clearly in violation of customs regulations and users will keep purchasing even knowing their purchases are illegal. I see it on this site all the time. By the way ignorance of the law is no defense. I say just use the existing laws. They are there and they are steep. You get caught with an illegal IIIb pointer you get it confiscated and appear in court to find out your fine. You use a pointer or legal laser on an aircraft, you get tried in federal court and either go to jail, pay the $250,000, or both. It's that simple.
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Old 11-21-2008, 10:18 PM #63
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Default Re: Aircrafts

Quote:
Originally Posted by RA_pierce
I agree with ildadirect.
Requiring pilots to use safety goggles is not a viable solution. Placing filters on cockpit windows is even more impractical.

However, I do not see a very high chance of a multiwatt laser being directed at a plane or helicopter by someone with malicious intent. I do not think the possibility of this incident should be of great concern. Almost all Class IV lasers used by hobbyists are lab type lasers and are much less likely to be pointed at a plane. These, I do not think, are much of a concern. Also, the price of a >500mW laser is always more than $900. Nobody in their right mind would spend that much just to harass a helicopter pilot. Even $50 is a lot for a laser to most people.

When it comes to higher powered, larger portable lasers: Most of the kids buying lasers without knowledge of what irresponsible use entails will not find a >$200 laser -with all kinds of safety features and roughly the size, and many times the weight of, a large cordless phone appealing.
What appeals to these "idiots" is the small, pocketable, cheap lasers.

A possible solution would be to place a tax on the importation of complete Class IIIB portable laser devices that are not FDA approved (with proper safety features and and accession number).

This creates the price barrier again, but allows for untaxed, unhindered importation of lasers that only serious hobbyists and professionals would want (Aries, Hercules, RPL, lab type lasers, and the like).
The majority of these "attacks" would be done by those with 10-50mW pointers from places like dealextreme, because of the low cost and visible beam. Taxing Class IIIB pointers makes it so that 15 year old immature Jimmy can no longer buy a 50mW laser for just $50 with his dad's credit card.
The importation of Class IIIB lasers without FDA approval is already illegal, but it isn't enforced. It needs to be.

Imposing a (reasonable) tax is not too difficult to accomplish and will add authority to the already existing laser laws.




LOL, im not speaking of the 'idiot' gorup, but genuine threats. If a 3.3mW laser can be a threat in the hands of an 'idiot', whats to stop a terrorist sympathiser, who has a decent income, from supplying himself and his other symapthiser buddies with thousand $ lasers and going on a rampage? Think about this for a minute.

Sept. 11th is an example of madman determination. Consider the ammount of individuals who sympathise with these pieces of s***. Not to mention how they are willing to strap a charge and a button to themselves and take out as many innocent's as possible. Why would you assume that there are none of these crackpots ready to drop a whopping 1200.$ on a highly availible 6-700mW laser with serious intent for chaos? *Im not speaking of some d*ck who just wants to cause trouble here.

Thank God I dont live near the airport, is all I have to say. I am not so optomistic that the bad guys out there wont attempt and suceed at this. The reason I think that, has mostly to do with the exposure in the media. All it takes is one of these people to see that a 10mW laser is considered and classed as a weapon in AU. Now the same guy searches google and say lands here on LPF :-X

He now has the resource, and the knowledge, and for $1000.00 most certainly the ability. There was an incident in AU not too long ago where IIRC, *4-6 seperate madmen surrounded Sydney airport and lased an incoming jumbo. I dont think they were ever caught, but regardless, was it kids? *or was it something bigger?

If there are organised madmen out there, whats to stop them from obtaining one of these, and getting it into a North American city?

http://writingcompany.blogs.com/this...d_by_the_.html

If you follow the links on that page you will note something. Saddam when still alive and kicking (minus the rope), loved the laser weapon concept and probably invested into it heavily, what happened to his personal stash?. There is so much high tech equipment out there, added to the trend in the past few years, I honestly think its a matter of time. *The weapon in the pic has a 'blind you instantly' ability up to 2 miles and 3miles with additional optics. They are made in China and only weigh 73lbs. Im sure NORINCO would not ship it as a 'flashlight' :P but there is something called the black market.

Im sure that any organisation involved in the U.S as far as airline safety is concerned, have already accounted for all the possibilities mentioned in this thread. And even though this trend with little pointers is such a big issue for them, I still for the life of me cant figure why a decent response will most likely be post incident and not serious proactive measures. Trainning is essential, but I dont think 'duck and cover' is gonna work this time :-? And with 400-500 passengers in a loaded 747, it becomes very risky business.


I understand it hasnt happened 'yet', but what if the first sucessful attack is plotted around multiple airports, and with many participants? It would no longer be a scenario involving a single craft, and would most certainly be too late.
I wouldnt put anything past these animals, as they are determined and willing to sacrifice themselfs for their insane beliefs.
Im sure the leaders of these groups have an easier time convincing their followers of *spending time in jail or fines, opposed to certain death and 72 virgins or whatever it is. I think this entire subject is much bigger than pointers, and this problem will evolve in a way that is still unforeseen. I expect that the danger will continue to grow, so long as technology continues to grow.


What about goggles for the planes? :... joking
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Old 11-21-2008, 10:35 PM #64
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Default Re: Aircrafts

I would like to interject that while I agree that shining a laser pointer at an aircraft is a terrible idea, the odds of a low to medium powered beam hitting an airborne plane at just the right angle as to enter the cockpit windscreen and flash-blind the pilot enough to jeopardize the safety of the flight are fairly slim. And that's even taking into account divergence. There are airports out there where someone could get the positioning just right, but for the most part I think that the hazards are mildly overstated. Helicopters on the other hand are a whole different story, as are the effects of very high-powered lasers on aircraft pilots and passengers.

Also, throughout the history of mankind there has been a little thing i like to call the dipsh*t factor. No matter what we do as a society to make life safer, there will ALWAYS be some dipsh*t out there who will mess it up for the rest of us. Banning things has never changed this since the minute you ban something, these retards find a new way of accomplishing whatever task they are attempting. For example, if guns are banned, you'll likely see a large spike in the number of stabbing deaths. The dipsh*t factor is a fact of life just like Newton's laws, Murphy's law and a whole bunch of other laws i could name...

edited..
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