... a few drones, a Hellfire missile or two with "home on laser" capability...
While laser pointers are very useful for presentations and distracting cats, the FBI is fed up with idiots using them to try to blind airline pilots, and is offering $10,000 to anyone who provides information leading to an arrest. Laser blinding aircraft pilot Blinded by the light "Aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft is …
Raise the stakes, lift the 60-day limit - and people will start building drones with an IR cam to track the suspect from laser beam detection until reaching proximity, and a regular flash-equipped cam to take the the bastards' picture. And these would obviously fly below 200', and well clear of runway extended centerline.
"...and people will start building drones with an IR cam to track the suspect from laser beam detection until reaching proximity..."
Just wondering, what happens when you shine a laser pointer at a drone? Anything much? Because if you will be flying them at people armed with laser pointers, you should probably make sure they can cope.
Just wondering, what happens when you shine a laser pointer at a drone?
If you're lucky it goes out of control and flies into the dumb pricks face and blinds him/her... instant "punishment fitting crime". In fact maybe someone should write the code to make it possible and open source it.
it doesn't have to be redesigned, they just need an old one. 20 years ago, my girlfriend's unit had a pilot drop on the GLD instead of the target...a month of her unit being confined to quarters ended with a determination of pilot error.
"there are sunglasses, there can be windows that reflect laser beams"
Not likely. The 20% transmission ratio of laboratory laser eyewear would probably have disastrous effects on a cockpit crew who must read instruments while flying at night.... The optical quality of such systems also becomes a factor because slight amounts of distortion or haze which may be of no concern in the laboratory may be a major concern to pilots flying at low altitudes and high speed. Also, there may be a variety of laser wavelengths/colors that may need to be defended against. If all wavelengths are protected, the goggles essentially are opaque.
windows, not sunglasses.. there are loads of different type of glass for windows which block UV rays, and skyscraper glass which wont smash with a plane impact..
adding some kind of gel to the window for cockpits can no doubt relect or remove the glare from a direct laser beam
then replace the glass in all cockpits with laser beam proof glass
"gel it what makes windows double glazing and strong, gel is inside all double and triple glazed windows"
Yes, the 'gel' between the panes of glass in a double glazed window is normally a very light substance consisting of a mix of around 79% Nitrogen and 20% oxygen. I hear that the aerospace industry is familiar with that substance and indeed relies on it utterly already. There is probably a thick layer of it protecting the cockpit glass, and it doesn't seem to help.
i originally said it would be more convienient and cheaper in the long run to just make laser beam proof glass with some new kind of gel
americans are always crying about planes and lasers when no other country cares, they will bring in the national gaurd and raid festivals which have lasers on stage and tell everyone to go home because american pilots are sissies
I know there are ancient goggles that may be that bad, but for less than $500 you can buy multi-band goggles with good optics and 75% transmission. Laser lines are very narrow and good filter design can remove essentially all commercially available laser wavelengths without much visible issues. I have long wondered why not more pilots wear those.
Cue a rush of none-too-brights egging their more pliant mates into practising their laser marksmanship at the local airport ("it'll be a larf innit"), then shopping them for the reward, failing to get their ducks correctly in a convincing row before picking up the phone, and ending up doing a bit of bird themselves. Judging by my local rag, there'd be a plentiful supply if they tried it in the UK.
Perhaps the inclusion of a mandatory mercury switch that would cut out the power when tipped more than 30 or so degrees about level would solve a large percentage of abuse? The people doing this brain dead activity probably couldn't figure out how to defect such a simple cheap device. People who had a legitimate above horizontal need/use could buy a more restricted or registered version
I've looked into laser pointers and it's been no more blinding than looking into a desk lamp. Plus, how many miles away from an airliner do you have to be to have line into the cockpit^h^h^h^h^h^h^h flight deck? From that distance you can blind a pilot? When I point one of these things at a PowerPoint screen from 5 metres away the little dot is all over the place - how does anyone keep it on the aeroplane windscreen long enough to cause anything other than a millisecond's flash?
"to date 35 pilots have required medical treatment after being hit" WHAAAAAT? Those weren't laser pointers, they were weapons-grade, mains-powered, floor-mounted and with a sighting system. I call bullshit on this...
I'm not for one second advocating going out and giving it a whirl, but I do believe that pilots that get their knickers all in a knot over laser pointer "incidents" are being just the teensiest bit over-dramatic.
You're quite mistaken. Battery-powered lasers the size of a small flashlight are readily available for a few hundred dollars that put out 1W and even 2W -- that's 2000mW, probably about 1000 times the power of the laser pointer you looked into. I've read that shining one onto a wall and looking at the spot for a few seconds can cause permanent retina damage.
I agree that they're weapons-grade, but floor-mounted and mains-powered? Absolutely not. And why do you need a sighting system when you can see the beam clearly?
I don't understand either how they manage to hit such a small target so far away (it obviously wouldn't work from straight below), when normally you can't even see the beam (or even if you could - which would by the way mean so could anyone else, following it straight down to you). I can't imagine randomly waving it in a plane's general direction would register a hit long enough to matter in any possible way. So what gives?
You've actually touched on one of my biggest complaints with science-fiction movies where lasers/rayguns are used -- You DON'T need sights for a projected-energy weapon. Sights on a firearm evolved because the things tend to be heavy and cumbersome and have a tendency to wobble, and (on rifles, particularly) to help the shooter adjust for wind deflection or projectile-drop at distance, neither of which should be much of a problem with an energy beam.
The easiest way to point a laser-pointer with good precision is to tape it to an outstretched index finger. With a larger/heavier one you may need to tape it to finger, hand and arm. Either way, pointing with arm extended at the object you want to hit should do for most purposes. If I wanted to hit and hold on a moving object, that's how I'D do it, at least.
If you MUST have a "gun-shaped" hand-weapon in your movie for dramatic and/or recognition purposes, you design it such that the index finger lies in a groove parallel to the beam-emitter, with the other three fingers wrapped around the grip and, possibly, a thumb-stub as the firing button.
Point-and-shoot -- We've all been doing it since childhood; no sights required.
I watched a program on this once and, if memory serves, the beam diffuses by the time it reaches the aircraft i.e. it's not like trying to aim a dot through a windscreen, it's like trying to light it up with a torch.
From inside, the whole cabin was lit up (and you can see the beginnings of this in the article photo) - it means the pilots can't see out and wrecks their night vision. Obviously the power in some of the lasers is pretty high if 30-odd pilots have needed hospital treatment.
Applying economic forces to this problem might have some success, but does this sound a bit desperate to anyone else? If this program principally communicates that it's almost impossible to catch people who do this, then it could backfire.
I also have to wonder who does this (11 x day)? If these are terrorists, then I have to say that I'm thrilled at their ineffectiveness, but I wonder how many arrests will result. It's not like terrorists go to the pub after a hard day's jihad and complain to the bartender.
At a guess I'd say that most of these people are morons and even if they got a bunch of moron convictions, I don't know how many morons that will dissuade because... they're morons. I'll bet their money would be better spent exchanging laser pointers for $10 McDonald's coupons.
"I'll bet their money would be better spent exchanging laser pointers for $10 McDonald's coupons."
Great, so they'll buy a cheap laser pointer for a buck or two and swap it for a coupon that's worth five times the value and then buy another pointer...
I just looked up a 40 watt system:
The one I was thinking about from a previous search a few months ago was about the size of a very large hand torch. And far more powerful.
It wouldn't take much ingenuity to rig one of these things up in a van or a car boot, firing it through a hole or a car lamp. Since that is what a some snipers are or were already doing in Iraq and Afghanistan, just using ordinary rifles, I wonder why there are only 11 a day being used successfully. And only on aircraft.
We introduced an offence of shining a laser at an aircraft which doesn't have the option of a custodial sentence ! So prosecutors are apparently reverting to charges of "endangering an aircraft" which does have a custodial option - and judges are using it.
On that latter one, if you are up before Tudor Owen for such a charge then you definitely can't expect any leniency.
Of course, it helps the arrest and conviction when the idiots are stupid enough to consider targeting the Police helicopter - hence the "slap face" icon.
"...if you are up before Tudor Owen for such a charge then you definitely can't expect any leniency."
Tudor Owen is well known on the PPrune forum as "the Flying Lawyer", although he no longer posts on aviation law, his former specialisation as a barrister - he had the CAA on the ropes more than once. He also holds a helicopter licence, so I guess he has an especially fine appreciation of why the muppet in question deserved some time in chokey.
The UK inevitably has good and bad judges, but he's always struck me as one of the few with a genuinely solid grasp of what's in front of him.
The problem is this is in a country where in some states / counties it appears that shooting passing trucks or road / vendor signs is a perfectly acceptable pastime. Wielding a cheap-ish laser and pointing it at a plane is just as stupid but fits the same pattern.
Because this has to be done at a relatively short distance (while you can see the dot, having a hand steady enough to hit a relatively fast moving target is not going to be easy especially while doubtless half cut on local bootleg), it really shouldn't be hard for an auto-targeting camera system to take quite a good shot of the idiot and to maintain tracking the source while the plane flies overhead for even better shots. Next step could be a few targetted lasers pinpointing the target in response, although given this is the United States of Litigation sending murderous idiots to hospital with retina damage would have the lawyers rubbing their hands in anticipation.
If there really has been a case of a "temporarily blinded" pilot I strongly suspect (without a shred of evidence) that what we are talking about is *not* your average pen-sized and smaller laser but the slightly larger machines used as sighting devices for firearms. They are inexpensive and easily obtained from Amazon and a damn sight more fit-for-purpose than a pointer device (no pun intended).
No, I didn't want to shine one at an aeroplane, I wanted to use one in a Maker project.
I call bullshit on the supposed danger and think it has been massively exaggerated.
Ok so the cockpit has a flash of light. Lightning would cause a similar effect (ok, not monochromatic). If it really had catostrophic consequences then one woupd expect 3000+ yarr to have done something.
Also here in hk every night at 8pm many buildings put on a laser show, presumably with something more powerful than a 10mW laser pointer. They don't, stop the planes flying every night.
So no i dont think its endangering the flight, a nuisance and stupid thing to do, yes. But lets
not get irrational.
A laser deliberately targeted at an aircraft cockpit is most definitely a hazard and it does blind you temporarily (or for longer, depending on the power output and distance).
Your arguments about laser shows are mostly irrelevant, I too have seen the HK one and the Singapore one, they are scheduled, limited with short exposure to the sky, and it's obvious to any pilot flying in the area that it's happening. It's not the same as having a pointer targeted at you for a sustained amount of time by any stretch of the imagination.
A pilot has absolutely no way of knowing the strength of the beam, it may be a fairly harmless 1mW one which will dazzle you for a couple of seconds, or it might be a class IV blu-ray cut from a player and modified for sustained use (freely available on ebay) which will burn your retinas and do irreversible damage. The range on even the smallest of pointers can be several miles, and it does spread out light a torch, so it is perfectly possible to illuminate the entire cockpit from a mile away. Cockpits don't have curtains or blinds - you can't prevent the light entering, and it is very distracting usually at the point where you require most concentration - i.e. low level take off or landing, where the very last thing you need is a distraction that you can't mentally block.
If you want an example you might relate to, imagine you're on a dark A road at night, approaching an unlit roundabout or intersection at 50mph, when all of a sudden you are lit up by something akin to football stadium lights directly in your path, or hit by the full beams of some other motorist who keeps them on you for more than 10 seconds. That is the kind of distraction and danger that it presents, only in the plane situation you can't slam on the brakes. If you're telling me that is only a nuisance when you're piloting 300 people, and not endangerment, then I'm going to strongly disagree.
People really don't understand just how dangerous it is, and their huge availibility leads to a blasé attitude to laser use - if it were down to me I'd have them as restricted as say, lab chemicals.
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