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Old 01-25-2011, 01:20 PM #49
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Default Re: FAA: Laser incidents soar, threaten planes

Look, I think there is a lot to talk about here. Forum members -rep people for just talking about it -- that is stupid. Another says don't argue semantics. Yet another says there is no conspiracy, but then goes on to say that anything we say here will be twisted against the hobby. However, people have questions, and this group is the best group to answer them. Don't tell them the standard parental "I said no, end of discussion."

Let's be clear on intent here. We don't condone the use of lasers on ANYONE, especially on aircraft. We don't encourage it. We don't suggest it is a "not bad" idea.

What we are doing in this and the other thread is asking what the truth is, and that that truth be what is said. Any time you base an argument on false facts, there will be people who misuse the false facts to justify their dumb actions.

Fine -- like I said before, don't justify it with numbers, you tell it like it is -- ANY external light is going to distract or hurt night vision, etc. Does not matter if it is my 15Mcandlepower spotlight or your 5mW laser. The FAA says 5mW is indistinguishable from other land-lights at 11,700' -- I still would not point a laser at a plane at 12,000+ feet, but someone will use the FAA's own statement as their justification. Guess what? Like some said elsewhere, it is still illegal since the law does not note the distance of the plane -- pointing at that plan is a felony whether it is 5' away or 5 lightyears away. DON'T DO IT.

However, don't sit there and show me a video claiming the spot of a <5mW laser at 11,700' is brighter than the recorded & proven spot of a 1,000mW at 9,000' shown in the YouTube video.

I don't believe the FAA will ever allow corrections of its power allowances to be posted -- it is not in their best interest to allow any laser light to paint planes (an interest I agree with since I do fly from time to time), so they post extremely high requirements. That is not the same as showing that the visual of that light would be not what it is.

Telling people that "you just can't talk about it, that in itself is wrong" is not going to solve anything. Your detractors will still twist facts, and the curious will still ask questions. DON"T BE AFRAID OF QUESTIONS. Answer them logically.

For example, NOHD is the distance ANSI Z136.1 uses to discuss eye damage -- it has nothing to do with distraction or even detection. NOHD would be the same for IR lasers as it is a function of power and divergence. Answer the person's question with that. DOES NOT APPLY TO PILOT IMPACT. Simple, factual, end of story.


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Old 01-25-2011, 02:46 PM #50
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Default Re: FAA: Laser incidents soar, threaten planes

Now that is an explanation I can get behind.
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Old 01-25-2011, 02:52 PM #51
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Default Re: FAA: Laser incidents soar, threaten planes

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Originally Posted by LSRFAQ View Post
The world war II cliche "Loose lips sink ships" comes to mind.


Steve
....And sinking ships starts world war III.....

Lets see if anyone gets that.
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Old 01-25-2011, 03:31 PM #52
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Default Re: FAA: Laser incidents soar, threaten planes

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Originally Posted by Bobby View Post
I still would not point a laser at a plane at 12,000+ feet, but someone will use the FAA's own statement as their justification. Guess what? Like some said elsewhere, it is still illegal since the law does not note the distance of the plane -- pointing at that plan is a felony whether it is 5' away or 5 lightyears away. DON'T DO IT.
I'd surely recommend against lasering airplanes, especially when it is illegal (not everyone on this forum lives in the US). But there should be a reason for something to be illegal (this is the basic principle for legislation), and that reason would in this case be endangerment.

The odd thing is that endangering an aircraft is already a crime, the law does not have to list every possible method to do so. In fact, it does not have to list any at all.

I know that this forum is pretty US centric, but shining a laser at an aircraft is not illegal everywhere. There was a recent case in the netherlands of a man that was annoying awacs plains with a laser, who was absolved of comitting any crime (source: FOK.nl / Nieuws / Vrijspraak voor beschijnen Awacs met laser / FOK!frontpage - in dutch). In this case the power and other specifications where for some reason not known, but it states it was a homebrew device. The judge argued that it could not be proven that there was any actual danger.


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What we are doing in this and the other thread is asking what the truth is, and that that truth be what is said.
That is the only reason i participate in these discussions... I want to know the facts. Clear numbers on chances of causing a crash are important: If they show it is actually dangerous to shine a laser at an airplane, i hope that will help convince people not to do so.

Just making something illegal doesn't stop people from doing it, as long as they think its actually not that bad. Think about things like speeding, not wearing seatbelts, running stop signs or red lights... people do it all the time. And yes, taking a pen from your office home is also a felony, so you do it too
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:53 PM #53
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Default Re: FAA: Laser incidents soar, threaten planes

Drop it.

I'm not going to work the math examples for you. I'm not going to link the news reports of past incidents where things worse then flashing have happened.

I'm not giving the media another story, the government another excuse, or the bad guys ideas. I've lost too many rights in the past five years. Most of them due to paranoia by the uneducated media getting blown out of proportion in the name of making "ratings" for advertising money.

There is a new law coming onto the books regarding pointers in airspace. Its quite tolerant, in that it is not a total ban. Let some folks get made examples of, so education can happen. Just do not let it be you who gets five years of education. Its probably a last chance for one more freedom. Let it do its job of education the hard way.

Google " state / regional data fusion center" and decide if you want to continue down this path of inquiry. Folks get paid quite a lot to surf the net, and probably bonuses for every person they "fuse" into the data bank.

Let me temper this a bit,

Lots of "cookbook" "how tos" appear on the internet, (kip*kay for example) but I'm not so sure that the needed discretion, background theory, and the moral compass is always transmitted with the "how to" data.

In short, do your own careful backyard analysis if you want to know for sure, but you'll have to be the detection device. Ouch,if your wrong on your sums or powers of ten, or do not have a good miliiwatt meter, the laser jumps up in power, or the last guy who edited the WIKI slipped a zero some place, or faked a equation. In other words, once you do it, you might have a idea that one needs to be really, really responsible when one does things like this.

That means, if you want to know for sure, you really, really, need to go to school and learn the math, does it not?


Steve

Last edited by LSRFAQ; 01-25-2011 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:59 PM #54
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Default Re: FAA: Laser incidents soar, threaten planes

I don't think he is asking for the purpsoe of testing your numbers (I sure hope not). I think he is asking a known knowledgeable person (a group he considers 'experts') an honest question. Of course he can go get a Phd in optics and generate his own expert opinion -- any of us could do that, and it is really not the point and not-so-subtle misdirection. By the same token, he could go ask an Optics professor, or do more Googling of his own. The fact is, he went to the source he trusted to give him the start of an answer.

It is really sad when an informed and intelligent society that supposedly values "free speech" is so concerned with CYA from DHS data collection that they cannot give an open and honest answer to a straight question.

I guess that'll be my last post on this topic, so you win this one.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:19 PM #55
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Default Re: FAA: Laser incidents soar, threaten planes

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Old 01-25-2011, 11:38 PM #56
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Default Re: FAA: Laser incidents soar, threaten planes

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Originally Posted by LSRFAQ View Post
Drop it.
I'm not going to work the math examples for you.
I'm not asking you to, unless you can do things that go beyond calculating if the exposure would be within MPE and such. This stuff i can calculate myself just fine, and if the results come back that there actually is eye exposure over a mW, i'm find with accepting that this is truly dangerous (to the health of the pilots eyes, that is).

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What i am interested in is the actual danger of exposures that are well below MPE but still distracting.
Now that is unfortunate. I would like to see documented cases of these 'incidents'... what harm they have caused, numbers of casualties, property damage, the whole lot.

Apparently no-one, including the faa is willing to share such data if it even exists. If a plane had to do an actual go-around, i'm pretty sure that would make an interesting news story, especially for the laser community. Yet, i have never heard of anything like that happening.

So far, i can only conculde that either:

- no laser related incidents resulting in casualty, loss of property or life have occurred with airplanes*
- these incidents have been carefully covered up and kept from the media

* i mean fixed-wing aircraft here, not helicopters. The story for a helicopter is very different as it can fly very low, very slowly, and usually has windows looking more or less straight down.

Last edited by Benm; 01-25-2011 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 01-25-2011, 11:43 PM #57
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Default Re: FAA: Laser incidents soar, threaten planes

Bobby,

Its NOT a win for me. That was intended as a mild warning, I just watched a PBS special last night on internet monitoring and how much is spent and what is done with the data. I hate the Big Brother concept as much as the next guy.

Steve

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Old 01-26-2011, 01:56 AM #58
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Default Re: FAA: Laser incidents soar, threaten planes

I don't follow really.

If we were to obtain objective data on the dangers that lasers pose, or do not pose, to aircraft, wouldn't that data aid in forming an objective opinion on legislation?
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Old 01-26-2011, 01:59 AM #59
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Default Re: FAA: Laser incidents soar, threaten planes

You Sir are Arguing for the sake of Arguing.....Give it a rest.
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Old 01-26-2011, 03:50 AM #60
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Default Re: FAA: Laser incidents soar, threaten planes

I do rather like the name of the actual piece of new legislation:

"Securing Aircraft Cockpits Against Lasers Act of 2010"

Just rolls off the tounge

-Sal
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Old 01-26-2011, 06:00 PM #61
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Default Re: FAA: Laser incidents soar, threaten planes

Hi all. I haven't been on here in a while, but I received some distressing news yesterday.

Some background first: I am an airline pilot. I love lasers.

The news I received yesterday was from my union - ALPA (Airline Pilots Association) - in the form of a regular newsletter email.

I have not been "illuminated" by lasers, but have flown with individuals that have. It sounds like a rather unpleasant experience. One guy told me they almost had to do a go-around because of one. A go-around in a jet can cost thousands. Anyway here is the email. It does not sound too good for the future of "portable lasers":

ALPA today issued a regulatory, legislative, and public awareness action plan to safeguard the skies from deliberate laser illumination of aircraft and the risk it poses to aviation.

“We have reviewed the FAA’s data released last week and have compared it to our own data and pilot reports. ALPA’s conclusion is that the risk associated with laser illuminations is unacceptable,” said Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president, in a news release issued today. “Pointing lasers at aircraft in flight poses a serious safety risk to the traveling public, and we are calling on industry and government to take steps to safeguard the skies.”

ALPA is providing its members with a newly updated Jepp-sized information portfolio with guidance on responding to and reporting a laser incident. ALPA members with questions can contact ALPA’s Engineering Air Safety Department at eas@alpa.org or 800/424-2470

ALPA underscored that pilots are extremely concerned by the record number of laser illuminations of aircraft that occurred last year, many of which were near North America’s busiest airports. The alarming spike reported recently by the FAA puts a sharp, new focus on the safety threat and makes clear that decisive action is needed now from stakeholders across the airline industry.

On an industry level, ALPA urges implementing an immediate response:

· Congress must make intentionally aiming a laser at an aircraft a federal crime.

· The U.S. government must restrict the sale and use of portable lasers that are strong enough to cause injury.

· The FAA must increase the size of laser-free zones around airports and prohibit the use of all lasers in such zones.

· The FAA must develop and implement improved air traffic control and pilot operating procedures for responding to, and notifying pilots and re-routing aircraft around, threat areas when reports of illuminations are received.

· The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) must add deliberate laser illumination of all modes of transportation to its list of Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements.

On January 20, Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) introduced H.R. 386, the Securing Aircraft Cockpits Against Lasers Act of 2011, a bill to make shining a laser at an aircraft a federal crime. Capt. Moak sent a letter to Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) on January 19 expressing support for the goal of the laser legislation. The U.S. House Judiciary Committee is expected to mark up the bill on January 26. ALPA calls on Congress, the regulatory agencies, and the NTSB to take swift action.

“A threat this serious requires decisive action from every legislative and regulatory angle, but we also need the public to get engaged,” continued Capt. Moak in the news release. “Consumers across the country and around the globe have a role and responsibility in ensuring aviation safety by eliminating accidental laser strikes and by being watchful for those who would misuse lasers by shining them at aircraft.”

ALPA will continue to pursue the action that is needed from legislators, regulators, and other industry stakeholders, and we are asking for your assistance in reporting these incidents and helping to safeguard the skies for our members and pilots around the globe.


Translation:

They want to make shining a laser at an aircraft a really big crime. (That's good)

It sounds like they want to restrict/outlaw private individuals from being able to posses/use "portable" lasers. Not good. Bye Bye pointers.

I'll keep you updated when I hear any developments.
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Old 01-26-2011, 06:17 PM #62
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Default Re: FAA: Laser incidents soar, threaten planes

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I'm not asking you to, unless you can do things that go beyond calculating if the exposure would be within MPE and such. This stuff i can calculate myself just fine, and if the results come back that there actually is eye exposure over a mW, i'm find with accepting that this is truly dangerous (to the health of the pilots eyes, that is).



Now that is unfortunate. I would like to see documented cases of these 'incidents'... what harm they have caused, numbers of casualties, property damage, the whole lot.

Apparently no-one, including the faa is willing to share such data if it even exists. If a plane had to do an actual go-around, i'm pretty sure that would make an interesting news story, especially for the laser community. Yet, i have never heard of anything like that happening.
In order to preserve my night vision during an illumination event I would have to look away from the source. That would most likely mean eyes down inside the cockpit. Would you like me to do that when I am only a couple hundred feet off the ground traveling at 150+ mph concentrating on the runway environment, trying to safely land, with your family in the back?

If we did a go around because of an illumination event it would not make the news. I guarantee it.

Edit:

I'm asking my co-workers for stories about lasers and go-arounds performed as a direct result just so you can hear of something like that happening, because I guarantee it does.

Last edited by Joe; 01-26-2011 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 01-26-2011, 06:29 PM #63
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Default Re: FAA: Laser incidents soar, threaten planes

This is why we need a group of aviation-knowledgeable laser enthusiasts to help frame any legislation. We don't want to compromise safety, but the total regulation-into-nonexistence of personal laser ownership would be a pity.
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Old 01-26-2011, 06:54 PM #64
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Default Re: FAA: Laser incidents soar, threaten planes

As I said before We all agree this is a Bad idea and support a ban on shining a laser at any aircraft.

That said we do need to start gathering together other wise our rights will be striped.
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