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Thread: Laser pointer

  1. #1
    Scouter's Avatar
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    Laser pointer

    I was coming home on Sunday Night fairly late in the afternoon, it was getting pretty dark. I was quite a bit higher than I usually fly because of a great tailwind.
    I was about 4 miles from home, when I got lit up by someone on the ground with a hand held Laser blue in color. Unbelievably bright! I could see how it might be a issue for and airline pilot being blinded
    by one of these

    jim

  2. #2
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Be aware that some of these are not eye safe. This means they will cause blindness.

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    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.

  3. #3
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    This got me to wondering, so I did a quick Google search. This blue laser "pointer" is 50W! Advertised to be able to light a cigarette.

    https://www.laserpointerpro.com/ukin...term=G32000027
    Click image for larger version. 

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    In the US, it's illegal to call these laser pointers, which are limited to 5 mW.
    Pictures on the site promote aiming these into the sky.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The modern equivalent of the phrase "lions led by donkeys" is "innovation led by lawyers".

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    wireweinie's Avatar
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    There have been a few cases of boat crews and pilots being hit in the eyes with these, over the last few years. Some of the victims have permanent eye damage. I don't even like the actual laser pointers. There are only two ways to protect yourself from laser energy. Wear glasses that are rated for protecting you or not letting the laser hit your eyes. That's it.

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    Actually there have been hundreds of these cases. Worst part is that it is almost impossible to keep yourself from looking in the direction of the light when you are flying, the motion/light naturally gets your attention... and then you look at it


    Sent from my iPhone using SuperCub.Org

  6. #6
    RVBottomly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wireweinie View Post
    There are only two ways to protect yourself from laser energy. Wear glasses that are rated for protecting you or not letting the laser hit your eyes. That's it.

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    From what I understand, you also need the glasses to match the wavelength. So If you wear glasses that protect from red lasers, you may not have protection against blue or green.

    I wonder if there is something like auto-darken welding helmets tuned to these things. What a hassle!
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  7. #7
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RVBottomly View Post
    From what I understand, you also need the glasses to match the wavelength.
    That is correct.

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  8. #8
    Scouter's Avatar
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    It just really startled me that it was so unbelievably bright. It was a kid doing it, I know the lady who owns the house. He couldnt keep the beam right on me to steady since i was moving, but it flashed me several times. And your right, you cant but help looking for it.
    jim
    Last edited by Scouter; 11-12-2020 at 08:48 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scouter View Post
    It just really startled me that it was so unbelievably bright. It was a kid doing it, I know the lady who owns the house. He couldnt keep the beam right on me to steady since i was moving, but it flashed me several times. And you're right, you cant but help looking for it.
    jim
    You might want to point out to your neighbor that pointing a laser at an aircraft is a serious felony.

    18 USC § 39A. Aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft

    Whoever knowingly aims the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, or at the flight path of such an aircraft, shall be fined under this title [$250k max] or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
    The modern equivalent of the phrase "lions led by donkeys" is "innovation led by lawyers".
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  10. #10
    JP's Avatar
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    Good thing I wasn't flying wing on that mission. I would have rolled over for attack.
    JP Russell--The Cub Therapist
    1947 PA-11 Cub Special
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  11. #11
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Lol. I almost drew on a neighbor kid years ago. At night and a laser spot flashes on the ground next to me.

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  12. #12
    daedgerton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjohnson View Post
    You might want to point out to your neighbor that pointing a laser at an aircraft is a serious felony.
    The problem is that no one ever pays the price for it... I was lased at work 2 years ago and we apprehended the individual. It went to the court where it was dismissed via a jury trial. The defense was that the individual was "showing his son the helicopter"... I don't even bother calling in the laser hits anymore... I mention it to tower and then I leave the area. Probably been hit with the laser about 20 times in the last 10 years.

    And the blue ones are awful! My eyeglasses have a "blue light coating" on them to ease eye strain while looking at the computer. Wonder if that helps at all with the blue lasers...

    One thing that always get me are the new XMas decorations that light up the front of the houses with a laser pattern. I'll be on an orbit and see a green laser, then look out and realize I am on the back side of one of these houses with the decorations!
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  13. #13
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    Spraying at night I have been lased several times. I guess the cockpit is a tough target, so I almost alway see it hitting the wing or cowl before they finally get to the windscreen or canopy. There is usually enough oil or dirt on a sprayer's windscreen to create a nasty kaleidoscope effect Our working environment is tough enough at low level that it really doesn't need the added distraction, but so far it has always been someone that is just plain short sighted, as opposed to truly malicious.

    Inevitably they will somehow forget that the thing is not too hard to pin point from the air, and when I send ground personnel there to tell them to knock it off, they will deny it until we point that out. Called the local PD on one and he was hot to press charges. I told him I really didn't care, and would rather it be a learning experience than a pay back. Sent the Sheriff to another, Sherrif was convinced that there was no law prohibiting this which was more annoying than getting lased. Had one deny (as usual) and then offer that the only laser he owned was gun mounted. really uneasy feeling on that one .

    In the end, I doubt we'll see a drop in laser or drone incidents as more and more affordable units are developed. making examples might slow it down, but keeping your cool and mitigation from the cockpit is ultimately going to be your (as a pilot) best immediate defense in keeping upright.

    Take care, Rob

  14. #14
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    I texted the mom and told her little jeffery should knock it off lighting up airplanes or the next guy might call in the cops. As a side note for JP, Ill tell you her story sometime, it involves a work release inmate who worked for her, a haymound, and a husband who came home from work early. Now her kid lighting up airplanes with a laser.

    Jim
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  15. #15
    algonquin's Avatar
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    A friend of mine at the last airline I flew for got hit in the eye’s and it went thru his bi-focal and permanently blinded him in one eye. That was after several tours in RSVN some scumbags got him right here. Also he wasn’t flying just at a museum.

  16. #16

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    My survival gear still includes a laser that's intended to point at airplanes. It's engineered to be effective, not malicious. I keep one in my snowmachine, too. You can get somebody's attention from a long way away with one of these. Not all lasers are bad. https://www.greatlandlaser.com/
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  17. #17
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    Not all lasers are bad.
    Lasers, like guns, hammers, dining forks, and Ted Kennedy's car, are all capable of doing great harm. However, the item itself is neither good or bad. That rests with the operator of each.

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  18. #18
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    I was out checking traps one night wearing a headlight. Two A-10's on patrol saw the light bouncing around then did a low level flyover in case I was in trouble and signaling. Tipped on a wing and singing like a bee that was quite a hello there. Of course I looked at them which focused my light in their direction. I called the AFB when I got back to camp and explained what the deal was plus thanked them for their service. I can see the utility of safe lasers and a SOS signal.

    Gary
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
    Spraying at night I have been lased several times. I guess the cockpit is a tough target, so I almost alway see it hitting the wing or cowl before they finally get to the windscreen or canopy. There is usually enough oil or dirt on a sprayer's windscreen to create a nasty kaleidoscope effect Our working environment is tough enough at low level that it really doesn't need the added distraction, but so far it has always been someone that is just plain short sighted, as opposed to truly malicious.

    Inevitably they will somehow forget that the thing is not too hard to pin point from the air, and when I send ground personnel there to tell them to knock it off, they will deny it until we point that out. Called the local PD on one and he was hot to press charges. I told him I really didn't care, and would rather it be a learning experience than a pay back. Sent the Sheriff to another, Sherrif was convinced that there was no law prohibiting this which was more annoying than getting lased. Had one deny (as usual) and then offer that the only laser he owned was gun mounted. really uneasy feeling on that one .

    In the end, I doubt we'll see a drop in laser or drone incidents as more and more affordable units are developed. making examples might slow it down, but keeping your cool and mitigation from the cockpit is ultimately going to be your (as a pilot) best immediate defense in keeping upright.

    Take care, Rob
    Just spray those vermin.
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