Gonzalo
Topic Author
Posts: 1527
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:43 am

B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:20 pm

This is probably the 8th or 9th thread we start here talking about this issue. Probably the low chances for authorities to really punish this kind of behavior is an incentive for the owner of the sick brain and the laser, who think that it's "funny" trying to incapacitate a pilot in charge of landing a jet full of people.

This time was Jetblue 657, a E190 jet from Syracuse to JFK. Fortunately the injuries for the pilot´s eye were minor apparently and should not affect his career.

More info :

http://avherald.com/h?article=452c18ad&opt=0

Rgds.
G.
Gear Up!!: DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20-21 / B732 / B763 / B789
 
User avatar
DocLightning
Posts: 19821
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 8:51 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:22 pm

I know very little about optics, but is there some way to design a coating for cockpit windows that would specifically block highly collimated beams of light without altering the view too much?
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
Gonzalo
Topic Author
Posts: 1527
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:43 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:35 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 1):
I know very little about optics, but is there some way to design a coating for cockpit windows that would specifically block highly collimated beams of light without altering the view too much?

I don't have an answer to your question, but I guess, if possible, will be expensive and slow. I think that creating some database for registration of the people who buys high energy laser beams could help, but probably will create some privacy issues. The laser beam required for this "joke" is not the small pointer for the classroom, probably are higher energy devices used in other fields. AFAIK today anyone can buy one of this and use this things without any kind or restriction or control.

Rgds.
G.
Gear Up!!: DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20-21 / B732 / B763 / B789
 
cmf
Posts: 3120
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:22 pm

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:53 pm

Quoting Gonzalo (Thread starter):
the low chances for authorities to really punish this kind of behavior is an incentive for the owner of the sick brain and the laser, who think that it's "funny" trying to incapacitate a pilot in charge of landing a jet full of people

Assuming that is the reason. I expect that many times there is nothing malicious behind it. Just trying to find if the laser can reach all the way to the plane. No-one reads warning labels.
Don’t repeat earlier generations mistakes. Learn history for a better future.
 
falkerker
Posts: 163
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:53 pm

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:01 pm

Quoting cmf (Reply 3):
Just trying to find if the laser can reach all the way to the plane

I think if they´re trying to see that then they have pin-point accuracy on getting the laser directly to the pilot's eye. Then again I don't think someone would knowingly direct a laser at a pilot on approach but one never knows.

On the scientific part, AFAIK (I'm a practicing physician though not ophthalmologist), laser beams damage the retina depending on the exposure time not the potency of the beam itself so as long as the pilot moves his/her head slightly, no problem, I would worry more about the distraction rather than the risk of sequealae. After all, nowadays many ophthalmologic procedures are done using different types of laser (argon, CO2, Erbium, YAG) without any consequence to the retina or posterior chamber structures (lens).
 
B6JFKH81
Posts: 1970
Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:35 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:19 pm

Well, unfortunately, we all saw this coming at some point considering the number of laser reports lately. Luckily the pilot is okay although I wonder if there is possible damage to his vision.

I doubt they will ever find the idiot that did this (unless he/she is dumb enough to do it again in the same area), but if they do I really do hope they don't go easy on him/her.
"If you do not learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it"
 
Gonzalo
Topic Author
Posts: 1527
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:43 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:20 pm

Quoting cmf (Reply 3):
Just trying to find if the laser can reach all the way to the plane. No-one reads warning labels.

Well, then we have a case of extreme stupidity instead of evilness. If I have a device and I want to see how powerful it is, the "reasonable" way to find an answer is to point the thing to structures ( like a tall building roof or antenna or similar ) where you can actually measure ( or calculate with Google Earth or other similar tool ) the distances you can reach from your position. Pointing out the thing to a plane that you can't find how far is from your position is useless, and not knowing that the device you are using can cause damages to others makes that person an absolute moron, sorry. Even in the case that a kid was doing it, then, the parents of the kid are absolute morons, since the kid could end being blind or seriously injured. The excuse of the people not reading the Warning labels is not enough.
Sorry, but here we can have only two options, or is it a criminal with bad intentions, or a brainless moron that is unable to measure the consequences of his/her actions. One way or the other, it is a threat to society.

Rgds.

G.
Gear Up!!: DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20-21 / B732 / B763 / B789
 
Gonzalo
Topic Author
Posts: 1527
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:43 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:23 pm

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the fact that the big majority of this attacks ( that's what it is, an attack ) were against jets has prevented worse consequences. A ( turboprop ) commuter plane usually needs lower speeds on approach, and is more vulnerable to a sustained attack from ground with this devices.... in a worst case scenario, the outcome could be much more tragic.

Rgds.
G.
Gear Up!!: DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20-21 / B732 / B763 / B789
 
traindoc
Posts: 274
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:35 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:40 am

It would be nice to prevent this type of criminal idiocy, as one day maybe there will be a crash on approach. The problem with prevention is this: In designing a "fool proof" system it is easy to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools!      
 
N766UA
Posts: 7843
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 1999 3:50 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:47 am

Quoting B6JFKH81 (Reply 5):
but if they do I really do hope they don't go easy on him/her.

I wouldn't mind if they called it an "act of terror" and shipped them off to Gitmo. That's just me, though.
This Website Censors Me
 
MaverickM11
Posts: 15324
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2000 1:59 pm

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:51 am

Quoting Gonzalo (Reply 6):

Well, then we have a case of extreme stupidity instead of evilness.

That's what I would assume but I don't know zip about this. How does a laser from the ground even get into the cockpit? Seems like trying to hit the backside of a wall with a tennis ball. Do most laser incidents arrests involve people that knew what they were doing?
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
traindoc
Posts: 274
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:35 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:23 am

To Maverick

Unfortunately, most all of these incidents are deliberate. Several years ago the Fed's arrested someone from northern NJ who had deliberately pointed a high power laser at a plane enroute/departing EWR. They tracked him down by back tracking from the point of attack on the plane, if I recall the event correctly. I believe the perp tried to say it was not intentional, but no one bought that story.
 
NASBWI
Posts: 922
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 1:12 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 4:50 am

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 10):
Do most laser incidents arrests involve people that knew what they were doing?

In the age of information, during a time where these incidents are happening more frequently, crying "ignorance" is more than likely going to fall on deaf ears. These incidents are reported on the news, and also posted on popular sites for the amateur videographer (youtube anyone?). So for someone to take a powerful light source, and direct it at the flight deck of an airplane, then claim they didn't know what could happen sounds more than a "little" suspect. To the average person reading this (for the umpteenth time), it can only be hoped-for that the culprits be caught, brought to justice, and taught to learn a little respect for the term 'consequence'.
Fierce, Fabulous, and Flawless ;)
 
User avatar
DocLightning
Posts: 19821
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 8:51 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:17 am

Quoting falkerker (Reply 4):
On the scientific part, AFAIK (I'm a practicing physician though not ophthalmologist), laser beams damage the retina depending on the exposure time not the potency of the beam itself so as long as the pilot moves his/her head slightly, no problem, I would worry more about the distraction rather than the risk of sequealae. After all, nowadays many ophthalmologic procedures are done using different types of laser (argon, CO2, Erbium, YAG) without any consequence to the retina or posterior chamber structures (lens).

I, too, am a practicing physician and also not an ophthalmologist.

Damage to the retina and other structures in the eye depends on both energy, time of exposure, and the frequency of the light. The ophthalmologic lasers are specifically tuned to interact with certain structures (blood vessels, retina, vitreous) based on wavelength.

A low-power laser will cause no damage, but above a certain threshold, damage will occur assuming that the frequency in use interacts with a structure in the eye. It's a matter of how long the laser is pointed in the eye. If it's a very powerful laser, then the eye is toast even with a brief exposure. Fortunately, such lasers do not exist in handheld devices. However, less powerful lasers can cause damage depending on time of exposure.

In this case, I agree with you that it is unlikely that there would be any sequelae from a handheld laser at a distance like this. The time and intensity would be too low. That said, it could temporarily blind the pilot, even for a few seconds, which is enough to cause an accident (or at least a deviation) under the right (or wrong) circumstances.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
comorin
Posts: 3857
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 5:52 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:50 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 13):

Doc, I am a practicing polymath and also not an opthalmolo..whatever.

My educated guess:

There is no way you can aim a handheld laser beam at a human eye a mile away moving at 200 mph. Since the beam is small and collimated the lit area will move at relative transverse velocity of the target. If you happen to be in the flight path perhaps you could score a hit, as the target would be moving directly at you.

My guess is that the attacker lined up the pilot with a telescopic sight - still no small feat at a target moving that fast.

Cheers!

Comorin
 
Mir
Posts: 19107
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 3:55 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:03 am

Quoting comorin (Reply 14):
My guess is that the attacker lined up the pilot with a telescopic sight - still no small feat at a target moving that fast.

At 7,000 feet, it should be pretty easy to keep a track on an airliner, especially when you have a long time to see how it's moving.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
comorin
Posts: 3857
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 5:52 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:21 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 15):
Quoting comorin (Reply 14):
My guess is that the attacker lined up the pilot with a telescopic sight - still no small feat at a target moving that fast.

At 7,000 feet, it should be pretty easy to keep a track on an airliner, especially when you have a long time to see how it's moving.

-Mir

Would that not depend on the radius of the beam? Parallel beam = no inverse square law?
 
traindoc
Posts: 274
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:35 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:32 pm

I happen to have a high power laser, it comes from an early professional grade laser printer. (Gift from a brother in law.) Clearly, I don't point it at people, cars, planes, etc. If I point the beam at my hand you can definitely feel heat on your skin. Lasers maintain their energy over long distances, which is why the US military is developing them as weapons. This is also why they can cause eye damage over quite a distance.

I am also a physician and I can say unequivocally that YOU CANNOT CURE STUPID!
 
User avatar
longhauler
Posts: 4981
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2004 12:00 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:42 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 15):
At 7,000 feet, it should be pretty easy to keep a track on an airliner, especially when you have a long time to see how it's moving.

Or, in the majority of cases, the "attack" was when the aircraft was on approach to an airport. In that instance, every 90 seconds or so, an aircraft will be in the exact same place, at exactly the specified time. Not hard to adjust your aim, until you are dead-nuts on.

There was a recurring case in YYZ. The "attacker" was eventually found, as he did it often, and as local pilots know the area, they could direct police ... and the young lad was still "attacking" when caught.

He was/is charged with attempted murder, and even though less than 18 years old, he will spend a lot of time in confinement. The general consensus was that this gentleman should be dealt with in the same way as kids that drop rocks off of bridges onto cars .... "just to see what happens".
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
mcoatc
Posts: 134
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 2:23 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:53 pm

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/...0120327_1_laser-airtran-flight-oia

This should answer questions as to how "accidental" these occurrences are, and whether or not it is possible to hit a cockpit moving at 200 + knots. I can't say I know how they do it, but obviously it can be easily done.

We worked with the feds for several months to get this guy, who ironically lives on the same block as a couple other MCO controllers. This was shortly after a teenager was arrested for the exact same thing. Just as an example of sharp these useless members of society are, the kid actually lasered the police helicopter circling overhead looking for him.
 
Flighty
Posts: 7717
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:07 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:13 pm

There should be a special federal death penalty for this crime. Other thought, there might be a sensor able to localize the origin of such a beam. Then the anti-laser strike force could go to the persons involved and take care of them. JMO.
 
MaverickM11
Posts: 15324
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2000 1:59 pm

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:31 pm

Quoting NASBWI (Reply 12):
In the age of information, during a time where these incidents are happening more frequently, crying "ignorance" is more than likely going to fall on deaf ears.
Quoting traindoc (Reply 11):
I believe the perp tried to say it was not intentional, but no one bought that story.

I think you're overestimating the intelligence of the general population. I could see just a few kids/stoners sitting around thinking about what to point their laser at, without thinking about the consequences.

Quoting traindoc (Reply 17):

I happen to have a high power laser, it comes from an early professional grade laser printer.

How does this get into the cockpit? Wouldn't it have to go around the fuselage then back into the cockpit?
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
spiritair97
Posts: 1191
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:28 pm

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:44 pm

Where this happened wa right near my hone and Ican tell you that he was NOT at 7000 feet. Planes in the Deer Park VOR are between 2500-4000 feet. Either way, not that hard to hit with a laser light. What makes it dangerous though is that at this point the aircraft is still moving st about 280 knots, which can be difficult to handle if you lose vision in one (or god-forbid) both eyes.
 
Gonzalo
Topic Author
Posts: 1527
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:43 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:44 pm

Quoting longhauler (Reply 18):
There was a recurring case in YYZ. The "attacker" was eventually found, as he did it often, and as local pilots know the area, they could direct police ... and the young lad was still "attacking" when caught.

He was/is charged with attempted murder, and even though less than 18 years old, he will spend a lot of time in confinement. The general consensus was that this gentleman should be dealt with in the same way as kids that drop rocks off of bridges onto cars .... "just to see what happens".

Sadly sometimes the law is on the side of the attacker and not with the victims. Here in Chile we had a couple of cases with DEAD people as result of this "game" of rock vs. car in the highway, and the "little kids" ( usually 14 or 15 y.o. ) are "punished" with a couple of days in a special facility and after that they return with the parents, because they can't be prosecuted at that age. When I suggest to my friends that this kind of behavior should be punished sending them a couple of years to a farm in a remote island in the Magellan Strait, to teach them about the hard conditions that life can have and give them some education, I am frequently called an "extremist", so in conclusion, the whole society is protecting this idiots.

The day we have a bus with 40 or 30 people crashing and leaving a path of death and destruction because "the kids were playing", maybe the laws will be modified.

I hope we never see a plane crashing into a populated area as a result of one attack like this and others, but considering that the aggression is usually during a critical phase of flight, with relatively low speeds and altitudes, I'm afraid that the chances exist ( remote, very remote, but exist ).

Rgds.
G.
Gear Up!!: DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20-21 / B732 / B763 / B789
 
corinthians
Posts: 292
Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 5:54 pm

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:51 pm

Stupid question, but I know lots of pilots wear sunglasses, especially on approach. Do sunglasses mitigate the effects for the laser beam? Or is the thing powerful enough that it goes right through?
 
Gonzalo
Topic Author
Posts: 1527
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:43 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

Quoting Corinthians (Reply 24):
but I know lots of pilots wear sunglasses, especially on approach. Do sunglasses mitigate the effects for the laser beam? Or is the thing powerful enough that it goes right through?

I'm not sure, but my guess is yes. But, the big majority of this attacks occurs during dark hours, I don't even know if the attacker could see where is shooting in daylight conditions. For this specific flight, the E.T.A. in JFK according flight-aware is 9:15 P.M., so I guess is not a time for wearing the RayBan.

Rgds.

G.
Gear Up!!: DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20-21 / B732 / B763 / B789
 
northstardc4m
Posts: 2724
Joined: Fri Apr 28, 2000 11:23 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

The question is how powerful and what wavelength was the laser.
A typical >5mW red or green office pointer cannot do damage unless you look straight as it for 30-45 seconds.
However a 50+mW green or blue laser can cause permanent vision loss with as little as 5 seconds exposure at night. And they are unfortunately available quite easily online and from speciality stores, in most places without any kind of checks done on the purchaser.

It is possible to get a 100mW green astronomy club laser for under $50USD online through amazon. They are easy to point and are fairly small (think large flashlight).

Quoting longhauler (Reply 18):
There was a recurring case in YYZ. The "attacker" was eventually found, as he did it often, and as local pilots know the area, they could direct police ... and the young lad was still "attacking" when caught.

He was/is charged with attempted murder, and even though less than 18 years old, he will spend a lot of time in confinement. The general consensus was that this gentleman should be dealt with in the same way as kids that drop rocks off of bridges onto cars .... "just to see what happens".

They dropped the attempted murder charges AFAIK. He went for psychological "therapy" instead. And there have been 3 more like that in the past couple years near YYZ. I would love to buy a green laser for work tours but im scared to death that because I live under the 6 approach paths I would keep having to talk to the police when one of these incidents occur.
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
 
gulfstream650
Posts: 201
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:58 pm

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:29 pm

Full ATC audio for this is at liveatc.net
I don't proclaim to be the best pilot in the world but I'm safe
 
comorin
Posts: 3857
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 5:52 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 4:03 pm

I found this interesting site that explains safety issues of lasers quite well.

http://www.optique-ingenieur.org/en/...02/co/Grain_OPI_ang_M01_C02_1.html

Interesting to note that laser beams do diverge, even tough just s bit, that instantaneous power is in the order of giga- or peta- Watts, and that the can dazzle you at ten time the intensity of the sun. Also, its the green lasers that are the really bad guys.

I still remain confused about how a 2mm spot can be kept aimed at a body moving at aircraft approach speeds, unless its a millisecond flash that intersects the flight path.
 
User avatar
hOMSaR
Posts: 1414
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:47 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:08 pm

Quoting comorin (Reply 28):
I still remain confused about how a 2mm spot can be kept aimed at a body moving at aircraft approach speeds, unless its a millisecond flash that intersects the flight path.

That's what I'm wondering.

Some folks on here are talking about hand-held stuff that can cause minor damage, but how can someone holding it in their hand actually even keep it steady enough to aim it accurately? I have a hard enough time taking night photos without a tripod in still air.

Now, if they had some more heavy-duty setup (including the telescopic sight mentioned earlier), then I could see it being a bit more realistic.
The plural of Airbus is Airbuses. Airbii is not a word, and doesn't even make sense.
There is no 787-800, nor 787-900 or 747-800. It's 787-8, 787-9, and 747-8.
A321neoLR is also unnecessary. It's simply A321LR.
 
northstardc4m
Posts: 2724
Joined: Fri Apr 28, 2000 11:23 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:48 pm

Over distance Lasers do "spread" some, and holding the laser on the flight deck of an aircraft coming more or less along a straight line is doable.

Also the times I posted are for PERMANENT damage to the retina.

Temporary blindness and cornea damage can happen in some situations much more quickly, especially at night when pilots would be looking out into a dark field of view.

[Edited 2012-07-17 11:50:22]
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
 
User avatar
DocLightning
Posts: 19821
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 8:51 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:00 pm

Quoting comorin (Reply 14):
There is no way you can aim a handheld laser beam at a human eye a mile away moving at 200 mph. Since the beam is small and collimated the lit area will move at relative transverse velocity of the target. If you happen to be in the flight path perhaps you could score a hit, as the target would be moving directly at you.

It does't take great aim. In fact, I'm not even sure if a military-grade computer guidance system could score quite that direct of a hit. It takes great luck.

First of all, the laser beam does diverge significantly over distance. It diverges much less than a multifrequency lightsource would, yes, but it does diverge.

What probably happened in this case is that the laser was aimed at the aircraft. While the chance of scoring a direct hit on the cockpit is very low for a given instant in time, if you simply keep the laser pointed at the aircraft over some time, the movement of the aircraft combined with the natural tremor of the human hand will sweep the beam across the aircraft many times and the chance of hitting the cockpit becomes non-trivial. In fact, even if you are just trying to illuminate the tail, you will probably hit the cockpit by accident at some point under those conditions. To the pilot, the beam would appear as a brilliant (blindingly bright) point of green light lasting only a fraction of a second.

For a number of complex neurological reasons (and I'm sorry, but the explanation is a good three hours of medical school neuroscience lecture), the perceived result would be a temporary partial blindness in the affected eye. It might be several minutes until the vision returns to normal. It is unlikely that any hand-held laser from that distance could actually damage the retina, though.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
ZKSUJ
Posts: 6812
Joined: Tue May 18, 2004 5:15 pm

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:48 pm

Quoting Corinthians (Reply 24):
Stupid question, but I know lots of pilots wear sunglasses, especially on approach. Do sunglasses mitigate the effects for the laser beam? Or is the thing powerful enough that it goes right through?

The majority happens at night so we don't really wear sunglasses. However, the sunglasses we wear are not allowed to be polarised so I don't know if it will do a whole lot of protecting
 
GSPSPOT
Posts: 2246
Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2003 1:44 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:52 pm

Punishment (should the culprits be found) should be swift & severe. As with murder, ignorance of the law is no excuse. If someone acquires one of these devices and fails to read (or care about) and heed the warnings, they're still just as guilty of the crime as someone who set out to do harm, IMO.

[Edited 2012-07-17 15:55:06]
Finally made it to an airline mecca!
 
spacecadet
Posts: 2807
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2001 3:36 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:56 pm

Quoting GSPSPOT (Reply 33):
As with murder, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Well, as with any law. Civilization couldn't exist if people could break laws just because they don't know about them. Otherwise you could willfully choose not to learn anything about any laws, break as many of them as you wanted and claim blanket immunity. And everyone else could do the same.

Ignorance of the law is never an excuse for breaking it, whether it's changing lanes without signaling, murdering somebody or shining a laser into a cockpit.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
User avatar
Tugger
Posts: 6085
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:38 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:27 am

Quoting Flighty (Reply 20):
Other thought, there might be a sensor able to localize the origin of such a beam. Then the anti-laser strike force could go to the persons involved and take care of them. JMO.

This could be stopped easily by simply encoding a unique identification number into the laser beam itself. It would be very easy to do. A law would likely need to be passed (otherwise some would just not do it) and the manufacturers would just add the "feature" into the hardware/firmware of the laser. Then a simple detector can be on aircraft and you will know what laser is being used.

Yes, it could be circumvented and used lasers might be an issue but I suspect the problem would disappear fast. The key thing is if it is a big enough problem for someone to lobby for it and I don't think the problem is that big at this point.

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
 
BlueLine
Posts: 106
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:48 pm

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:58 am

While having a laser damage a pilot's vision is a major concern, to me, the bigger factor is the distraction it causes. I've had some jackasses shine a green laser at me while I was driving, and it was difficult to stay focused on the road with a dot moving around the dashboard and reflecting off the mirrors. This was on a short trip to the store, not on final approach to JFK. The workload and concentration required is far greater while trying to land an airliner in congested airspace when compared to driving in a straight line at 35 mph. Anyone stupid enough to do this in any situation deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
 
georgewall42
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:46 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:24 am

At over 1 mile distant, this incident does not seem like it was caused by one of those 5mW green lasers you see for home astronomy use; there would be too much dispersal of the beam power over that distance. There are more powerful lasers available, however, and it's hard to believe that such an incident is purely accidental.
 
art
Posts: 2680
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 11:46 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:14 am

Quoting spacecadet (Reply 34):
Ignorance of the law is never an excuse for breaking it, whether it's changing lanes without signaling, murdering somebody or shining a laser into a cockpit.

True but people pointing lasers at aircraft are likely to know that they are doing something they should not be doing ie mens rea. The gravity of the offence is of a different order IMO if one is aware that what one is doing is wrong.

It would be interesting to know what proportion of laser users are aware that pointing one at an aircraft could affect the performance of the pilot flying it. My guess is that most would be aware of this.
 
comorin
Posts: 3857
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 5:52 am

RE: B6 Pilot Injured By Laser Beam On Approach To JFK

Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:28 am

Quoting georgewall42 (Reply 37):
At over 1 mile distant, this incident does not seem like it was caused by one of those 5mW green lasers you see for home astronomy use; there would be too much dispersal of the beam power over that distance.

If a laser subtends its beam at 2 milliradians, that is equal to a lit area of about 2mx2m at 1000m. Even a 5mW laser produces very short pulses of gigawatt intensity, so that may explain eye damage even at those distances.