Old 09-04-2016, 09:39 PM #1
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Default Pilot struck by laser and gets medical attention

Edmonton Journal: WestJet pilot seeks medical attention after laser strike. WestJet pilot seeks medical attention after laser strike | Edmonton Journal

This is not good news for any of us and it brings bad reputation to all hobbyist laser users.

Whoever it was had been in the middle of the woods when shining a green laser, in what seems to be Alaska. I guess it could've been accidental just gotta remember to check the skies when shining your lasers up!


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Old 09-04-2016, 10:49 PM #2
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Default Re: Pilot struck by laser and gets medical attention

Seems like all of my hobbies suffer the consequences of others actions. Other peoples children...
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:12 AM #3
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Default Re: Pilot struck by laser and gets medical attention

From the article:

Quote:
The Boeing 737-6CT flight from Toronto, Ont., reported green laser activity at a height of approximately 3,5000 feet, says the CADORS report.
Note the odd comma there: is that 3,5000 as in 35000 or perhaps it should have read 3,500 as in 3500 and the extra zero is a typo?

The difference is quite important. 35000 is a fairly normal cruise altitude for this aircraft, but also very far away from a laser pointer. It's over 10 km straight up, but to be at angle visible from the flight deck it'd have to be 15 to 20 km. I'm not sure what laser system could actually cause eye damage 15 km away, but i'm sure it is not some simple laser pointer - perhaps something with a telescope for a beam expander.

If it was at 3500 feet it would be a bit more feasible.

Jets don't usually fly that low unless landing or departing though, so in that case it must have been close to an airport (a significant one with long tarmac runways to land an 737).

They don't report the actual injury for 'privacy reasons' so how are we to know there actually was one, apart from the pilot -thinking- there could be one and seeking medical care just in case?

Furthermore the article seems inaccurate throughout, there is no '737-6CT' aircraft. Westjet does operate the 737-600 which i presume was the plane in question, but there is to convertible (cargo to pax) version of this jet.
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Old 09-05-2016, 03:23 AM #4
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Default Re: Pilot struck by laser and gets medical attention

I have great doubts when I see this kind of report, seems that seeking medical attention over seeing a laser beam from that far away is overblown and meant to seek attention and or make an annoyance become a big story.
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Old 09-05-2016, 03:57 AM #5
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Default Re: Pilot struck by laser and gets medical attention

I mean the story may be inaccurate as you guys are saying but we would need the facts to debunk their story. You are correct at 35,000ft a "green" laser let's say its 532nm would need some serious power and expansion to cause eye damage that far away!

Let's say it is 520nm; At 35,000ft could you imagine the rectangle you would have IF you could actually see it! With a monster BE you still wouldn't see that rectangle obviously as it's quite a distance away; i would be really interested of the pilots account of this story.

I just hope the story doesn't gain any traction and go somewhere we don't need it to. Should write up a debunk to the author LOL.
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Old 09-05-2016, 05:12 AM #6
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Default Re: Pilot struck by laser and gets medical attention

I believe pilots are miffed at the jerks who point their puny little lasers at them because they are a distraction, but have decided to pump up any occurrence as far worse than it actually is. They probably want these devices made illegal to own, or the idiots who point them at them thrown in jail for 10 years, made examples of. So every time they see something it's OMG a laser strike! There was a guy who had one of the low power christmas lasers pointed at their house split into hundreds of dots, probably .01 mw each, at most, and reported a laser strike when they saw it flash at them due to being positioned at too high of an angle and some of the dots overshot the house.
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Old 09-05-2016, 03:28 PM #7
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Default Re: Pilot struck by laser and gets medical attention

I don't buy this story. Bad info, no word on whether the pilot even got eye damage, unclear what altitude the plane was flying at etc. It's no secret that some pilots simply want our hobby banned. I'll bet he was just flashed with a laser, or saw one and decided to go seeking attention "Omg I need to get my eyes checked because I saw a green light from miles away". To actually cause damage at such distances you'd need a crazy powerful laser with a quality beam expander.
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Old 09-05-2016, 05:54 PM #8
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Default Re: Pilot struck by laser and gets medical attention

People are often overreacting.

How can a pilot be even hit by a laser if the plane is flying? He isn't looking down, and cockpit windows are on the upper part of the cockpit.
Except when landing/taking off.
And even if they are hit the power required to do any damage is huge.

On the other hand they are often annoyed or distracted by them, which can be pretty serious.
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Old 09-05-2016, 06:40 PM #9
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Default Re: Pilot struck by laser and gets medical attention

What is the chances of a military test being done in the middle of the woods or from another plane in the sky? Conspiracy theorists anywhere?

Maybe the guy had a green led on his panel and called it a laser strike. I'm still very confused as to how these guys are even affected by lasers. I could see maybe a helicopter with some nightvision flying stealth with no lights on, having a green laser causing a huge green blur from the IR emission and making them blind, and maybe some helicopters have clear panels down low for them to see the ground, but it would still be hard to hit those guys.

It's nutty how they make it seem and you guys are right they want it banned or for people to be thrown in jail, this is why I am way to nervous to point any of my pointers up into the sky; I know there is Charlotte-Douglas within a 50 mile radius and i see those guys flying over a couple times a week... They would surely castrate me if they seen one.

Oh well, maybe someone should anonymously send an email to this Edmonton article to tell them they're obviously not getting their facts.
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Old 09-06-2016, 12:19 AM #10
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Default Re: Pilot struck by laser and gets medical attention

Quote:
Originally Posted by 94Z28 View Post
Whoever it was had been in the middle of the woods when shining a green laser, in what seems to be Alaska.
Damn Alaskan and his laser beacons!

Kidding of course, but I have to agree I have my doubts on stories like these. I without a doubt do in fact believe that these things happen, but not the way they display it as. Sure there will always be that one (actually many) idiot that sees "HIGH POWER LASER MOST POWERFUL LASER HANDHELD" on the internet, buys it, and then proceeds to point it at every plane in the sky. It's unavoidable, and that's what law enforcement was invented for. But honestly, "laser strike" is just a bit of an overreaction. It can't be that bad, the least it could be is a little green dot on the land and the most it could be is a flash in the cockpit (if the individual pointing it is capable of extreme accuracy from thousands of feet away with the target hardly in vision).
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Old 09-06-2016, 12:47 AM #11
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Default Re: Pilot struck by laser and gets medical attention

Well, as far as a pilot can look down: Due to the flight deck layout this is more than you might imagine. They certainly cannot look straight down, but something like 30 degrees is not uncommon if the plane is flying level.

So the laser being visible is not even that hard to imagine, even at cruise altitude with something like a 100 mW single mode 532.

The question is, however, if it could cause eye damage. The MPE limit for exposures in the order of a second or more are roughly 1 mW/cm2 for visible light. So if that 100 mW laser lights up a circle with radius 10 cm the exposure would already be under MPE, basically something you could legally and safely do with audience scanning.

Even at 3500 feet it would be hard to find a handheld green laser that exceeds MPE, and if you built one using a big beam expander it would be incredibly difficult to aim at basically a pilots face (not the hole plane, but right in the kisser) for more than a few milliseconds.

Adding it all up: the story is bunk. Hey may have seen a laser, but it could not have caused eye damage unless someone was shooting a high power laser through a telescope, using an automated system to track the planes flightpath exactly.
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Old 09-06-2016, 02:48 AM #12
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Default Re: Pilot struck by laser and gets medical attention

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benm View Post
Well, as far as a pilot can look down: Due to the flight deck layout this is more than you might imagine. They certainly cannot look straight down, but something like 30 degrees is not uncommon if the plane is flying level.

So the laser being visible is not even that hard to imagine, even at cruise altitude with something like a 100 mW single mode 532.

The question is, however, if it could cause eye damage. The MPE limit for exposures in the order of a second or more are roughly 1 mW/cm2 for visible light. So if that 100 mW laser lights up a circle with radius 10 cm the exposure would already be under MPE, basically something you could legally and safely do with audience scanning.

Even at 3500 feet it would be hard to find a handheld green laser that exceeds MPE, and if you built one using a big beam expander it would be incredibly difficult to aim at basically a pilots face (not the hole plane, but right in the kisser) for more than a few milliseconds.

Adding it all up: the story is bunk. Hey may have seen a laser, but it could not have caused eye damage unless someone was shooting a high power laser through a telescope, using an automated system to track the planes flightpath exactly.
Yup. Very likely to just be more anti-laser propaganda.
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Old 09-06-2016, 09:38 AM #13
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Default Re: Pilot struck by laser and gets medical attention

Hi,
Never mind what they say about laser strikes, What about the more serious issues with pilots being intoxicated before there flight and transporting 100's of people. And this is very common practice among many pilots.

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Old 09-06-2016, 10:15 AM #14
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Default Re: Pilot struck by laser and gets medical attention

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lifetime17 View Post
Hi,
Never mind what they say about laser strikes, What about the more serious issues with pilots being intoxicated before there flight and transporting 100's of people. And this is very common practice among many pilots.

Rich
Good point, and full rules apply as to a few drinks and a little buzzed flying pilots.
I'm sure there were more than 40 drinks taken by pilots than this airlines claim of 40 laser incidences since May.
I realize this is a whole other topic but still something to think of.
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Old 09-06-2016, 11:38 AM #15
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Default Re: Pilot struck by laser and gets medical attention

As far as I know most airlines have a very strict no drinking policy for both pilots and the rest of the crew. There needs to be 8 or 10 hours between the last drink and the start of the flight.

This might be different for smaller companies and private pilots, and depend on the country as well. Here in the netherlands the legal limit to fly is the same as to drive, though airlines are more strict than the law when it comes to that. If you want to have a (as in one) beer and then fly your own plane that's fine.
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