This report notes that nationally in the USA, the numbers of reported incidents in or around major and GA airports have doubled in recent years to over 2,500 in 2009. Last week there were at least 7 such incidents reported on aircraft using the northern approach to EWR. The fear is that someday a pilot could be so blinded or distracted out of fear of being blinded, that a major crash could occur. Over the last several years, some pilots have had eye damage, has to use evasive maneuvers, have another cockpit crew member take over. Most of the time these are from idiots using professional 'laser pointers' being misused. Over the years, a few of these idiots have been arrested, but most of the time, no one is caught. These attacks could and perhaps be seen as a form of terror attack.
So what can be done? Could special coatings be put on cockpit windows? Could pilots be required to wear special glasses on landing approaches? Should the penalties of those convicted of the use of these laser devices be increased? Perhaps a ban on any new devices being manufactured and sold?
bueb0g From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2010, 547 posts, RR: 0 Reply 1, posted (2 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1393 times:
Happens in the UK, too. In 2009 there were 737 reported cases. It's abseloutely disgraceful. As for measures against it, spotters at Manchester have been urged recently to report any activity like that, but apart from Police actually chasing everyone near airports away (which they don't do at all at Manchester, and I hope they never have to,) there isn't a huge amount that can be done. Special coatings on the windows may be an option, but it will have to stop lasers penetrating, while being transparent from the inside.
The glasses idea sounds easier - and cheaper - to impliment. I wouldn't be surprised if pilots are advised to wear such devices if the situation gets much worse.
And of course, the penalties must be increased - these people are essentially attempting to cause an accident, and I would count that as attempted murder.
jmc757 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2000, 1296 posts, RR: 8 Reply 2, posted (2 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1380 times:
I think education is the problem. Granted, some people do it maliciously. However, how many people do not know the implications of what they are doing? Think about it, people have a shiny new laser pen, and playing with it at night. Naturally they want to shine it at stuff, and what better than something moving through the sky? Will it reach that far? Can i get it on target?
Like I said, there are the people who are deliberately doing it. But I think if anyone ever did any research, the amount of cases where people didn't realise the implications of their actions would be surprising?
bueb0g From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2010, 547 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (2 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 1341 times:
Quoting jmc757 (Reply 2): Think about it, people have a shiny new laser pen, and playing with it at night. Naturally they want to shine it at stuff, and what better than something moving through the sky?
Actually, that's a good point. Although my impression of most of these incidents is someone standing on the approach path, deliberately shining a pen into the flighdeck windows.
I'll go and see if I can find more info, and see how many incidents are like the ones you give examples of, and how many are deliberate.