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Old 06-26-2010, 04:52 AM #1
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Default Pointing lasers FROM airplanes...

Well, i took my laser on a flight a couple months ago, and had fun shining it out the window. I wonder if there are any laws against that?

No, it wasn't on near any runways.

I will always wonder what the people on the ground were thinking.



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Old 06-26-2010, 05:09 AM #2
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Default Re: Pointing lasers FROM airplanes...

What laser did you use? mW?
Bet it would be an odd sight, presuming the visible beam didn't reach the ground.

I'm sure they could arrest you if they really wanted to. They find a law that doesn't actually apply in the least & just nail you up with it anyway.
Lasers also make (dim) people scared that the plane is being targeted by terrorists. It could look like that with the beam originating from the plane as well. Anything that even smells like a terrorist can land you in jail.

Off-topic: I'm guessing your fond of uranium. Have you seen this Ring Oscillator Pendant using UV leds & a uranium marble at its core?
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Old 06-26-2010, 05:31 AM #3
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Default Re: Pointing lasers FROM airplanes...

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaloBlu View Post
What laser did you use? mW?
Bet it would be an odd sight, presuming the visible beam didn't reach the ground.

I'm sure they could arrest you if they really wanted to. They find a law that doesn't actually apply in the least & just nail you up with it anyway.
Lasers also make (dim) people scared that the plane is being targeted by terrorists. It could look like that with the beam originating from the plane as well. Anything that even smells like a terrorist can land you in jail.

Off-topic: I'm guessing your fond of uranium. Have you seen this Ring Oscillator Pendant using UV leds & a uranium marble at its core?
250mw, and the divergence would make it look like it's coming from the plane. Too bad the window absorbed nearly 75% of the beam.

Nah, i'm just fond of radioactivity. The day i find a 100 microcurie source of radium, thorium, or uranium will be my birthday 20x over. Uranium marbles are weak as far as radiation goes. I was building an x-ray machine, but i decided to quit the project, i simply lost interest. The parts are in the sale forum if you want to buy or trade them.

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Old 06-26-2010, 06:02 AM #4
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Default Re: Pointing lasers FROM airplanes...

Shining a laser out of a plane falls under the same rules as "public display" of a laser, meaning, no more than 5mW without a variance.

Checked with the FAA on this one because I wanted to do this with a set-up shot. Basically "technically" if you could keep the entirety of the situation on your property (including to which degree you owned the air above your property, which by technicalities and depending on the population is ~500ft), it'd be OK; but even if it's your plane (which it was going to be in my case) - you hit the rules and laws against "public" laser emissions, as you're emitting in public airspace.

So doing it from FL350 to a shopping mall is not kosher. At least not in the US.
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Old 06-26-2010, 06:16 AM #5
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Default Re: Pointing lasers FROM airplanes...

I would not think shining a laser out of a plane window could be considered anything but a bad idea! I am surprised you got it past screening.
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Old 06-26-2010, 10:58 AM #6
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Default Re: Pointing lasers FROM airplanes...

Quote:
I am surprised you got it past screening.
"ops dat waz a flashlight."

Customs don't get paid enough to care in the US, unlike over here.
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Old 06-26-2010, 04:12 PM #7
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Default Re: Pointing lasers FROM airplanes...

I have a friend with a handheld laser he takes on the plane all the time. He tells a stewardess (oh yeah, "flight attendant") what he's going to do so if anyone freaks out, they know who's doing what. He uses complex diffractive optics and does the disco ball effect in the cabin. Everybody loves it! No problems to date.

Don't expect that to last. Handheld lasers over 5mW are directed energy weapons. Sooner or later they WILL be required to ride in the belly.
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Old 06-29-2010, 11:45 PM #8
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Default Re: Pointing lasers FROM airplanes...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eidetic View Post
I have a friend with a handheld laser he takes on the plane all the time. He tells a stewardess (oh yeah, "flight attendant") what he's going to do so if anyone freaks out, they know who's doing what. He uses complex diffractive optics and does the disco ball effect in the cabin. Everybody loves it! No problems to date.
Wow. When I go on an airplane, I wouldn't even dare to let other people know that I have a laser.
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Old 06-30-2010, 12:09 AM #9
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Default Re: Pointing lasers FROM airplanes...

Regardless of legal factors, i'd be very careful pulling stunts like these.

There is no danger to the aircraft or people on the ground directly, but the green light might be mistaken by another aircraft to be something that actually belongs on the airplane. If you were to shine a green laser from the port side of the plain, it could be mistaken by another pilot to be a starboard wingtip marker.

If that happens, in the absolute worst case, the other pilot could make the mistake of thinking the aircraft is going away from him while its actually coming towards him. Given radar technology and TCAS i doubt this would cause a mid air crash between commercial airliners, but sometime just one mistake leads to a chain of events ending in malice.

So please be careful, especially at night. On daytime flights with good vis chances of mistake are much smaller, but there would be little to see from the laser either.
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Old 06-30-2010, 12:52 AM #10
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Default Re: Pointing lasers FROM airplanes...

I'd like to try that, but I'd be afraid to.. Especailly when the US is putting under cover federal cops on flights since 9/11... Anyone seen "Harold and Kumar Escape from GitMo"?lol.
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Old 06-30-2010, 12:58 AM #11
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Default Re: Pointing lasers FROM airplanes...

Quote:
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I'd like to try that, but I'd be afraid to.. Especailly when the US is putting under cover federal cops on flights since 9/11... Anyone seen "Harold and Kumar Escape from GitMo"?lol.
Didn't Kumar's bong have a 445nm-ish glow in that movie?
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Old 06-30-2010, 01:15 AM #12
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Default Re: Pointing lasers FROM airplanes...

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Originally Posted by aryntha View Post
Didn't Kumar's bong have a 445nm-ish glow in that movie?
Hahah, I recall it as more 488nm.. Maybe Mary Jane is the secret lase medium to achieve handheld 488nm??
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Old 06-30-2010, 01:43 AM #13
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Default Re: Pointing lasers FROM airplanes...

I'm sure there is some US law that will send you on a one-way trip to guantanamo - but that is somewhat besides the point.

As i tried to point out earlier, there is a very real danger when pointing green or red lasers from aircraft, especially if done so from the wrong side of the plane. At cruising altitude the danger would be quite limited, but near airfields and congested areas, it could actually endanger the plane, especially at night.

Commercial airliners have additional systems to avoid collisions, but smaller civilian planes don't have those in all cases. Imagine someone in his private cessna assuming he's following you in the landing queue, only to discover that your green marker light is actually on the wrong side, resulting in a head-on collision. Airplanes are not like busses vs cars in that respect either - and mid air collision between a huge plane like a 747 and a measly piper club could very well result in the loss of all passengers onboard both aircraft.
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Old 06-30-2010, 03:53 AM #14
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Default Re: Pointing lasers FROM airplanes...

Bad idea unless you wanna end up in Guantanamo enjoying a cockmeat sandwich.
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Old 06-30-2010, 05:10 AM #15
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Default Re: Pointing lasers FROM airplanes...

The FDA clearly states, Laser lights beamed at aircraft also have FDA concerned. Incidents associated with laser lights beamed at aircraft have tripled in a 4-year period since December 2004, when the Federal Aviation Administration began tracking reports. In 2008, pilots reported a total of 950 cases of laser light striking an aircraft or illuminating a cockpit.

Eye injuries and flash blindness from laser beams hitting aircraft are also on the rise, with more pilots self-reporting injuries in 2008 than in the previous 3 years combined. The distraction from flash blindness could cause a serious accident.

Law enforcement agencies have the authority to arrest individuals who threaten the safety of others from laser misuse, and several of these individuals have been prosecuted under federal law. I don't see how pointing a laser "FROM" an aircraft is illegal at all.
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Old 06-30-2010, 05:23 AM #16
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Default Re: Pointing lasers FROM airplanes...

It's illegal to turn it on in public, and send the beam across public space, whether inside an aircraft cabin or going out the window. My father's a pilot since the '30s and I grew up with aviation, small and large, and I think the idea that a laser shone briefly out a window, while not recommended, is certainly not going to be a threat to safety of any aircraft. C'mon ... how stupid do you think pilots are? The system is nowhere near that delicate.

My buddy's laser has a complex diffractive optic on its output end, sending hundreds of beams out of it, each a couple of milliWatts. Not a threat. Take the DOEs off and the 200mW green beam is a directed energy weapon that could be a huge threat against the crew or other captive passengers. Anyone taking a laser with over 5mW on a commercial aircraft better be willing to have it confiscated at best if they turn it on.
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