You might be right in a way.. If a laser has 1.5 mrad divergence, the laser dot would be about 10 m^2 in size after 800 feet, and thus reducing a 100mW laser to the point where only 0.0007 mW enters the eye which is about 0.7 mm^2.

However, no one should EVER aim a laser at a plane/heli anyways, there is always a risk..

You are right, the eye (pupil) is 7mm wide at night and 4mm wide during the day.

So a 100mw laser with a divergence of 1.5mrads =

800 ft = 243 Meters

divergence of 1.5mm per Meter * 243 Meters = Diameter of:

1.5mm + 1.5*243 = 367 mm diameter of the dot at 800 ft.

Area of dot in Meters = Pie * .367 ^2 = .423 square meters. I am not sure about your math, I think that this is the correct formula/answer for the area at 800ft.

The area of a fully dilated pupil is Pie * .007 M ^2 = .000154 M^2

so the percentage of 100mw entering each individual eye is .000154 / .423 = .036 PERCENT

.00036 * 100mw = .036 mw

That means that .036 mw is entering each eye at 800ft, through the cockpit, at a moving target. A worse case scenario of .05 seconds exposure is being severely generous and I would think overestimates the ability of a handheld laser to be kept on target at that distance. Its a lot worse then what Grix said (at .0007 mw,) but that sounds an awful lot like a night light to me.

I would consider this mathmatical proof that there is little to no danger from a theoretical $45 laser at the stated distances. It would most likely show up as a flashlight (.423 m^2 area) on the outside of the aircraft. Get a little closer like take off and landing and you have a totally different story. I think thats where the true teeth of the law belongs. Only someone with malicious intent (terrorist) would point a laser at a pilot focusing on the runway.

This was all assuming worse case scenario of an amazing 100mw 1.5rad laser. The article stated a range of 5 miles, does anyone know the standard mw of a 5 Mile laser?

P.S. I personally would still put this guy in jail, just not for 4 months. There is only so much soap you can drop before you become mal-adjusted for life.