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Another laser-vs-aircraft incident 08/14/07

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I wonder if this guy built his laser from a torn apart DVD burner...

kfoxtv.com/news/13903480/detail.html

Y'all be careful out there, ya' hear?


p.s. - and why can't I post web links to the forum?
 

AJ_Dual

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You have to have 20 posts apparently. (good rule, prevents spambots...)

What a moron.

The media is over-playing it a bit, as is the prosecutor, but that's standard. (Notice they said "The air-crews (merely) SAW, the laser" not that they were incapacitated/blinded etc... However, I'll be the first to say their hyperbole does not change the fact that what he did is illegal as all hell, and with good reason.

There is a line where these stunts do pose a real risk, and I see no point in waiting until we get to that line before we stop slapping wrists, and start getting serious. It ought to be simple enough for anyone of normal intelligence to "NOT DO THE THING THAT'S ILLEGAL" (duh), so I don't feel bad for the guy one bit, even if the aircraft weren't really in danger.

I noticed the laser appears to be of the FDA compliant kind, with shutter, timer delay, key-lock and dead-man switch/dongle interlock. I can't decide if that's good or bad. Good, because it draws attention away from the non-compliant lasers most of us can actually afford, and bad, because now the fed.gov is looking at an example of a legal laser being abused.

Question though, they didn't point out the beam color, (despite using a cheap laser level as a visual) are any red's coming in that PGL-III type package? I'm assuming it's green just because even with good divergance, the red just wouldn't have been as noticable, and the beam wouldn't be as visible from the side for him to be pin-pointed on the ground for him to have been caught...
 

styropyro

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Notice how it said it had a range of over 1000 miles, yet it was only a Class IIIB.
 

Frosty

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styropyro said:
Notice how it said it had a range of over 1000 miles, yet it was only a Class IIIB.
Yea this sounds strange to me also, how can something have a 1000 mile visability? that would be like me standing on top of pikes peak here in colorado and shinning a laser down and someone in phoenix AZ looks up and sees it. there is simply no way that is possible.
 

steve001

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Frosty said:
[quote author=styropyro link=1187292974/0#2 date=1187296246]Notice how it said it had a range of over 1000 miles, yet it was only a Class IIIB.
Yea this sounds strange to me also, how can something have a 1000 mile visability? that would be like me standing on top of pikes peak here in colorado and shinning a laser down and someone in phoenix AZ looks up and sees it. there is simply no way that is possible.
[/quote]


Seems plausible. Remember the atmosphere becomes thinner with altitude. I once did an experiment with a 26.3 mw laser that had a customized low diverging beam. I was able to illuminate a white surface 5 miles away. Look at the photos within this site using only a 5mw maximum laser. More photos on the main page link at bottom of the page http://www.lasercomms.org.uk/france.htm
 

AJ_Dual

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I agree, but even at a couple hundred milliwatts it was probably just a bright red or green star on the ground, providing no noticeable illumination inside the cockpits of those two planes at altitude.

The plane on final approach was more serious, but still probably far from debilitating.

I don't doubt he was intentionally aiming at planes, and I don't think the fact that there probably wasn't any real danger, once you strip away the media and prosecutor's exaggerations, shouldn't count for anything when charging him. Someday some yahoo might have an even more powerful device, be at just the right spot, during inclement weather, or unknowingly target a plane battling mechanical failure, and people could well die. The only way I know how to deter that is to throw the book at the futzes who aren't really a danger, but indeed did violate the letter of the law.

What bothers me is that a component of the crime seems to be being simply noticeable to an air crew. That's what worries me a bit. :-/

OTOH, an "honest mistake" while star-pointing or experimenting probably would only happen once, and be very brief. AFAIK, everybody caught to date lasing aircraft worked pretty hard to get caught. ::)
 

Frosty

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AJ_Dual said:
What bothers me is that a component of the crime seems to be being simply noticeable to an air crew. That's what worries me a bit.  :-/

OTOH, an "honest mistake" while star-pointing or experimenting probably would only happen once, and be very brief. AFAIK, everybody caught to date lasing aircraft worked pretty hard to get caught.  ::)
I know this has been bugging me too, but from everything i read so far, each person caught has aimed at a vehicle, multipule times. I take this to mean that while yes, every laser spotted is reported, nothing would be done as long as the laser stays the heck away from the plane. And I am certain there have been accidents of a aircraft at cruising altitude beeing shined on by people who had no idea they were there. But at altitude I doubt the plane did either. Theres a large differance in shining a laser upward at stars and hittign a plane that is coming in for a landing. Lets hope the pilots realise that as well. I was pointing out some stuff the other night, but the second I saw an aircraft, they were wayyyyyyyyy far away, I put the laser up. Mainly because I was afraid they would see the beam, not because I thought I might accidently lase them.
 

nes_ds

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Good thing there is no company name on it, if there was, you can be assured they're in for a phone call, or perhaps worse. ;D
 

Daedal

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The FBI said it does not believe that Pinckert has any terrorist ties.
What the flux does this have to do with anything?? Whoever wore this, reported, and informed must be a total goof!

I agree that pointing lasers at planes is BAD... BAD, BAD, BAD. It's a first-class ticket to jail, not to mention the eyes of pilots and the lives at risk here. But, please! At least make the article worth reading... ;D

I really hope this stops soon. This is very bad for laserists world-wide and the more people who do it, the more the government is going to start cracking down on lasers. It's really disappointing how a few morons can ruin it for the rest of us! :( :'(

--DDL
 
P

Placebo

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Daedal, I'm with you 100%, but you know as well as I do that the feds and the media will never see things from an enthusiast's viewpoint. The fact is, many these devices have the potential to raise hell in a variety of ways, and there will be an inevitable crusade to criminalize the devices themselves. Regulating their sales is obviously not working, so stiff penalties for possession are right around the corner here in the States, mark my words!
 
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"What bothers me is that a component of the crime seems to be being simply noticeable to an air crew. That's what worries me a bit."

Same here. If a pilot looks out and sees a laser beam way off in the distance, pointing to some seemingly random location, is the laserist committing a crime? Because if you think about it, it seems virtually impossible for those planes at 38000 feet to have experienced a laser beam coming to the cockpit. First of all, the windows are on the top half of the plane, not the bottom half, so how do you get a straight beam of light into the cockpit from the ground anyway? And secondly, could you hit a 2-square-foot moving target (cockpit window) from 7 miles away with your laser? Doubtful. So it's only reasonable to assume that the pilots saw a beam somewhere that never actually entered the cockpit. Now, obviously if the beam appears directed at the craft consistently, then the laser user should be busted. But if you're out pointing at stars and a pilot reports you, WTF? Landing planes are a different story. Clearly it would be easy to shine a laser in the cockpit, and anyone even thinking of doing so should be punished.

You know, now that I think about it, I guess I'd have to admit that, in a way, I think any outdoor laser use should be illegal. And I say that having just ordered three 16x DVD diodes this week (and also having purchased my first 2 mw HeNe laser tubes 14 years ago.) But the problem is that laser use, even low power, can be extremely dangerous without great caution. And there are way too many irresponsible and careless yahoos around. In this case I would bet that the "bad apples" outnumber the serious, cautions hobbyists like those found in these forums. There's just too much out there to hit.

But to finish this diatribe, I'm going to slightly contradict what I just said and also say that I don't think outdoor laser use should be illegal. Because then what? It's the classic slippery slope. Is it going to be illegal to carry a flashlight next? Will you be labeled a terrorist for setting up a projector and watching Die Hard outdoors? In general, law enforcement needs to back away from the paranoid mindset and get back to reality.

Sorry for the rant, got carried away.
 
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h t t p : / / news.ninemsn.com.au/img/sport/afl/1408_johnsonlaser_sp.jpg

From an Australian Rules Football game last week. Two players were targeted with a green laser pointer. The league is putting plans in motion to fine people $5000-7000 AUD for using a laser at any future game.
 

JonHorde

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Targeting search and rescue planes for survival.
I'm a professional pilot looking to add the 2w Survival Laser to the emergency gear on my plane, (going to need a waterproof box). If a pilot was looking for me at a distance of say five miles and I flashed the light across the cockpit for an exposure of 2/10 sec or so, how could I determine if that would be a safe exposure? I'm searching for the method but can't find much.
 

InfinitusEquitas

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At five miles you would certainly get the pilot's attention and may blind him in the same manner as say the headlights on high, of an oncoming car.

You wouldn't do any harm though.

Bear in mind in close distance, since we're dealing with light, it doesn't really matter how long the exposure is... even a thousandths of a second will leave damage.

Here's what you're looking for:
Laser Pointer Safety - Different lasers' hazards compared

Specifically:
http://laserpointersafety.com/resources/2011-12-eye-and-viz-hazard-chart-1-mrad-top-only.gif

Targeting search and rescue planes for survival.
I'm a professional pilot looking to add the 2w Survival Laser to the emergency gear on my plane, (going to need a waterproof box). If a pilot was looking for me at a distance of say five miles and I flashed the light across the cockpit for an exposure of 2/10 sec or so, how could I determine if that would be a safe exposure? I'm searching for the method but can't find much.
Btw it's usually best not to bump a five year old thread, even if it is a good question:p
 
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Ash

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Wow. Nice Necrobump.!.!


No, really. This is a great question, and it is difficult to find the answer to as one has to know the properties of the 445nm multi-mode diodes and the perceived brightness of Dark Blue vs Bright Green. Many think that more power is always better, but for visibility, one has to consider apparent brightness and for distance, one should consider beam divergence.
You can calculate the NOHD (Nominal Ocular Hazard Distance) of a 2W 445nm laser using the info on the following page:
Laser safety - Section C : Nominal Ocular Hazard Distance (N.O.H.D.)

But, really with the high divergence of these 445nm diodes, they would make a relatively poor emergency laser.
You could signal further with a green laser of only 150mW.
Here is an already waterproof one.
 

InfinitusEquitas

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But, really with the high divergence of these 445nm diodes, they would make a relatively poor emergency laser.
You could signal further with a green laser of only 150mW.
Here is an already waterproof one.
You're 100% correct that a green laser with good divergence is a better option for visibility.

In this case though, you also have to take into account durability, considering the intended purpose.

I wouldn't trust a dpss laser to survive half as much damage as a diode laser would.
 




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