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Old 03-23-2009, 02:44 PM #33
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Default Re: Just want to rant...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dr-ebert
I feel like playing advocatus diaboli at this point. *8-)

Let's see, just WHY is pointing a laser at a plane dangerous?

A typical laser beam has a divergence of 1mrad, i.e. 1:1000 aperture. In one km distance, the beam has a diameter of 1 Meter. That means that even from a 250mW laser, less than 10 uW (Microwatt!) will hit the eye (I assume it's dark). That makes it clearly visible but not blinding. Maybe someone can do a test?

In a distance of 100 Meters, you would get 100 times the intensity - about 1mW into a dark-adapted eye. Definitely blindingly bright - loosely speaking; it's not actually damaging, and the pupil contraction would quickly reduce the intensity by a factor of 10. Beam diameter at that point: 10 cm. You could just barely hit both eyes at the same time, if you aim well.

However, try pointing a laser at a fastmoving target and keep it pointed correctly, to within 1 mrad. Not possible! All the pilot sees is a short flash - blink, gone. The closer the plane, the higher the intensity but the shorter the flash. At 180 km/h, you'd be travelling at 50m/s, so in one km distance the duration would be on the order of a few dozen Milliseconds. Unless, of course, the plane is coming directly at you... in which case the laser should be the least of your worries.

So, pointing even a high-power laser ("burner&quot at someone hundreds of meters distant is a nuisance but definitely not dangerous. The real problem is that authorities and judges have a vague feeling of "Lasers? That's star wars weapons! They use them to shoot down rockets! Horribly dangerous! Let's put him in the can before he goes on a rampage and vaporizes people!!" and they will eye you (yes, you!) with the same suspicion, no matter how nice you promise to be.

If you feel like I'm advocating shining lasers at planes, you haven't understood my intention. Anyway I'm curious what responses there are *
So my friends/coworkers here are lying when they have said that their cockpits have been illuminated by lasers? Granted it is not a continuous light. More like three to five seconds worth, definitely enough to cause serious problems.


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Old 03-23-2009, 02:59 PM #34
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Default Re: Just want to rant...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dr-ebert
Hm, we don't have speed limits just because there is a curve. Only if there is e.g. a sharp curve after a hump, so that not even a good driver can see it in time.

Yes, people should be educated about the dangers. I had hoped more for a discussion of what exactly is a danger? Read about a pilot's view here.

EDIT: yes, I put in those other points after a bit (while you were writing your post probably), I didn't want to trick you, in case it looks that way.

EDIT2: Your edit is rather difficult to parse semantically, and I'm not sure it says what I think it says. If it does, then we certainly have different views.

OK so you quoted me from another thread. That thread was about getting lasers through security. Nobody will have any problem with that.

My professional opinion: Shining a laser at me while on approach and landing is dangerous and distracting. Not only will I shine my laser back, I will turn you in to the FBI and you will go to prison. Interfering with a flight crew is a federal offense, and the critical phase of approach/landing is deemed so important it is against the law for airline crews to even talk to each other about anything except safety of flight items (checklists et.al.). The FAA has deemed that having any distractions that are not directly related to the safety of flight below an altitude of 10,000' to be so important that there is a federal law against causing those distractions. Shining a laser at me on approach and landing = distracting. Very much so. If it will affect my ability to land safely I will abort the landing and try later after I have recovered. Would the individual shining the laser want to be mailed a bill for the fuel used to perform the go-around? One go-around on a passenger plane = $thousands$.
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:16 PM #35
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Default Re: Just want to rant...

Lol, sorry....I had to ;D

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