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What it looks like to point a laser at an aircraft

1Nick

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Today, i discovered this. It shows what a pilot sees when a green laser hits the cockpit of an aircraft. Now i see why this is a felony. This is just a heads up to everyone here to be careful when youre messing around with lasers, for these are not toys.
 

Kodiak450

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IDK why some people would even think about pointing a laser at any air craft. Pilots have more then enough on their plates when it comes to flying and safety. Not only would it endanger the pilot and all the passengers, but if that plane came crashing down because of someones stupidity, the causilty rate could go really high if the plane crashed into a highly populated area.
 

Bobby

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I do not want to appear argumentative, but I do wonder how objective this simulation is. I am not sure I believe that a 5mW laser would still cause distraction out to 11,000+ ft ... [edit: for those who do not understand -- this is not meant to suggest it is EVER ok to point a laser at a plane, just questioning how visible a <5mW laser is at distance! NEVER EVER point at a plane at any distance!]

Not knowing the computed divergence, etc., I cannot say for sure what the expected dot size and mW/cm^2 would be, nor what it would look like, but my gut tells me that it would not be as bad as these simulations in real life.
 
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Kodiak450

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The pictures look as if they were shining the laser into the cockpit while the plane is on the ground at the runway. I've came across other pictures of lasers neing shined in a cockpit online and it shows the pilots face all green from the laser. Google "shining a laser in an aircraft" and some pictures for educational purposes should show up.

I believe a 5mw laser would not be that much as a threat as say a 100mw laser or higher at 11,000'. But as with any laser, one should use caution when shining it up into the nights sky.
 

qumefox

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I don't see why people still argue that 'it can't be that bad'... Lasing an aircraft is a moronic thing to do.. period... at any power.

I'm honestly beginning to get into the mindset of giving anyone that even remotely indicates it should be allowed or argues that it's not a bad thing an immediate -rep..

Sure nothing bad has happened.... yet... But it will only take ONE crash because of it to totally screw all of us and this hobby in the US... And it wouldn't surprise me any if the event didn't get us all labeled as terrorists as well..

And Kodiak.. try reading.... those pics were taken in a FAA flight simulator.
 

Bobby

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I don't see why people still argue that 'it can't be that bad'... Lasing an aircraft is a moronic thing to do.. period... at any power..
qumefox - I am not saying that it is GOOD, neutral, or even "not bad" to shine a laser at any aircraft. Never did, never will. What I am saying is that for their results to be credible, they need to show realistic effects at actual distances for measured power. The impact they showed does not seem appropriate for a <5mW laser at subjective 1,000s of feet.

I'm honestly beginning to get into the mindset of giving anyone that even remotely indicates it should be allowed or argues that it's not a bad thing an immediate -rep...
Before you do that, I'd hope you read what was actually said, and not read into it things that were not said.

Sure nothing bad has happened.... yet... But it will only take ONE crash because of it to totally screw all of us and this hobby in the US... And it wouldn't surprise me any if the event didn't get us all labeled as terrorists as well.. .
Totally agree -- and totally think that anyone who shines at a plane or copter should get the book thrown at them. However, perpetuating incorrect impact is not the right way to accomplish it. Facts are facts. Fact #1: you don't need any distractions when hundreds of people's lives rely on your ability to see clearly. Don't care whether the distraction was from a 1W laser, 5mW laser, or 5W spotlight. However, misrepresenting the visual impact of a <5mW laser at 11,000' is not the way to do that.
 

aryntha

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I need to underline this. When we are flying at night, we have our instruments turned down to near undetectable levels.

Dark adjustment is EXTREMELY important when landing at night: it takes an hour to get there and seconds to "reset" it. Your height above the runway appears much different than in the day as you're depending on the runway markings themselves and don't have a horizon reference.

Let me underline this one more way: Lighting a match in a night-adjusted cockpit could screw up a pilot's dark adaptation.

So I will say this first hand: Coming in to a night landing, being on glide slope and getting even a diverged 5mW into the cockpit, yes, could even force an aborted landing.

Want to get an idea of it? Go out to a park, or a mountainside at night. Have your friend carry a 5mW green. Sit and look at the stars for a good 30 minutes. Call your friend on the cel phone, and have him shine the 5mW green in your direction.

You'll be surprised at the intensity.

I can understand Qumefox's frustration, as every month or so a new thread opens up about lasers+aviation and every month we go through this same "coatings/windows on the top/divergence/unsteady hands/10000 ft" noise.

No accidents have been caused yet, that's right. But the fact that there are some people around who basically *need* an accident to occur for them to be convinced, is a bit sick.

This isn't the kind of thing where you say "show me the money".

Nobody should be illuminating person-containing vehicles of any sort with lasers of any sort.

Should following that rule really chap anyone's ass that badly? Really?
 

millirad

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^ I agree, and what is worse is that there are empty-headed owners of pointers who are trying to impact the pilots vision on purpose. Somewhat like an arsonist intentionally doing damage.
 

DrSid

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Now post something which made you think it should not be felony. To me it was clear from day one.

Btw. strange it's not problem on highways too.
 

Bobby

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Should following that rule really chap anyone's ass that badly? Really?
I keep missing where someone is actually saying "really, it shouldn't be a problem for them" or whatever ... who is actually saying that?

Want to get an idea of it? Go out to a park, or a mountainside at night. Have your friend carry a 5mW green. Sit and look at the stars for a good 30 minutes. Call your friend on the cel phone, and have him shine the 5mW green in your direction.

You'll be surprised at the intensity.
This is a really good idea, which I would hope to model myself some day.

I have seen the video of the two people trying to align a 1W 445 across 1.6 miles; while they did so, and it was brilliant when spot-on, it was still not the size of the bloom that the FAA similation showed, for a <5mW beam. Thus, I doubt their simulation's accuracy.

This does NOT mean that I suggest anyone ever point a laser at a driver, pilot, etc. All it means is that I'd like for them to be accurate and not inflammatory. This would be for truth's sake at least, and to forestall exactly what you are suggesting -- i.e., some people's need to say "it's not so bad as they claim, so it's OK". Make it EXACTLY what reality is, then add on to that the details of a low-light-condition cockpit, provide an analogy, etc.

I know people look for loopholes -- it is human nature. Take away the possibility for loopholes, and leave the overview as simple as possible, and you will have the most impact.

Rational people who can think 1/2 step ahead that they might be the passenger of that pilot's vehicle, as long as they are not sociopaths, would never point in the first place, no matter how big the dot is at 11,000'.

You will still have malicious kids (of any age) do it. Remember: to a certain degree youth are sociopaths until they have been taught different. Older people who have never been taught better are still sociopaths. There is no reasoning with them, but they will happily use any logic flaw they can see to prove to you why what they did was OK.
 
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Bobby

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Now post something which made you think it should not be felony. To me it was clear from day one.
Who said this? The OP said he sees why it is a felony.

Btw. strange it's not problem on highways too.
There were news reports a few years back that people were shining lasers from cars on the highway onto other cars. The fad seemed to go away on its own when the news reports stopped airing.

My theory is that one sociopath did it for jollies, and others copy-cat'd when the news media started reporting on it. Take the attention away, and the copy-cats have no reason to keep doing it. The original sociopath moved on long ago because when everyone else is doing it, it is no longer unique enough to give him jollies.
 
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Bobby

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He said 'now'. And generally lots of people see this as no problem.
I took the "now" to be in the "adverb-explanatory" sense, not in the "temporal as opposed to before viewing this video" sense. My apologies if that was incorrect.
 

aryntha

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Btw. strange it's not problem on highways too.
Two die as car flees police - National - NZ Herald News

Yes, the fatalities were caused during the 'chase', but thats (unfortunately) a distractor - it doesn't change the fact that they were illuminating motorists, and that it is a problem.

I keep missing where someone is actually saying "really, it shouldn't be a problem for them" or whatever ... who is actually saying that?
Seach for some of the numerous other threads. Something was said along the lines of "well if they were adequately skilled they should be able to avoid a laser / look away / put on goggles / look down at the instruments" etc.

Other threads contained some posts similar "flavors", people saying that it basically should be the pilot's problem, not the guy holding the laser.

I don't think the posters actually believed that. I do think that people tend to try to rationalize their actions with "well it wasn't that bad and besides..." though.

Look at the commentary all over the internet. One gem I found in five minutes was, "Police have caused more deaths than lasers shone at airplanes, should we ban police?" Oh yeah... That's a great excuse as to why it's OK to shine lasers at airplanes.

This is the 'internet reasoning' that I see thrown about... If someone reading this thinks that above statement is sound logic and a clever line of reasoning that somehow serves the laser enthusiasts' case, well, we've got a lot more to worry about.
 
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Bobby

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Seach for some of the numerous other threads.
Yeah, I've seen that -- I thought you meant someone in this thread ... I have not seen a recent post on LPF where someone tried to suggest it might be ok, no harm, the pilot's job to blink just right, etc. I did see one comment recently that said it might not be "that dangerous", be the post still did not suggest doing it.

Look at the commentary all over the internet. One gem I found in five minutes was, "Police have caused more deaths than lasers shone at airplanes, should we ban police?" Oh yeah... That's a great excuse as to why it's OK to shine lasers at airplanes.
Yeah, there are all kinds of idiots on the 'nets ... there is no IQ or educational minimum for posting.

This is the 'internet reasoning' that I see thrown about... If someone reading this thinks that above statement is sound logic and a clever line of reasoning that somehow serves the laser enthusiasts' case, well, we've got a lot more to worry about.
>shudder<

Say, why don't you pilots just make supraluminal navigation maneuvers so the laser light never gets to your eyes?

EDIT:
DOUBLE SHUDDER - as if I summoned it from beyond ... :(
 
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RA_pierce

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@ Bobby:
Well, call it nit-picking, but one does not have to be a sociopath to think it's fun to illuminate aircraft or any vehicle for that matter.
All it takes is the right combination of boredom, stupidity, and curiosity.

Also, "youth" technically cannot be considered "sociopaths." The DSM calls it "Conduct Disorder." Since personality is more flexible at a young age, personality disorders like Antisocial Personality Disorder cannot be diagnosed until the individual reaches adulthood.

Anyway, I agree that information should be factual and spin and rhetoric should be kept to a minimum, but the point remains whether the images are accurate or not (keep in mind that cameras do not "see" an image the same way your eyes and brain do)...
It is a very bad choice to shine a laser at anything that is dependent on eyesight.
 
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