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The recent rash of pilots getting "lasered" in the eyes while approaching U.S. airports is so bizarre. Is this being reported in Canada, too? I know these are commercial planes, but I was wondering if this has happened to any of you helicopter or fixed-wing pilots before? It's so weird; I can't imagine why anyone would do such a stupid thing!

 

Anyway, here's just one link from the recent stories:

http://cnn.netscape.cnn.com/news/default.jsp

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i remember hearing about canadian armed forces seaking driver who experienced tthat exact thing... i believe there was some permanent injury as a result... also, was there not an edmonton police pilot got it while flying their ec120?? in either case, a big :down: :down: to the perpetrators

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When I was stationed in West Germany in the late '80s, while on exercises and patrols near the East German border, we had orders not to train our optics (gun sights, field glasses, etc.) directly at East German border posts. Incidents occurred where laser range finders and target designators would be aimed at us. I never knew anyone who got hurt, but the scuttlebut was that some soldiers had suffered permanent loss of vision from these incidents.

 

Today, any idiot can buy a commercial grade laser on the Internet. All you need to add is a scope and voilà ! You have a weapon that can really hurt someone. If people are aiming low power low focus beams (like from those conference room pointers and small arms laser sights), at worse they're a nuisance, but the risk of injury is almost nil. The danger with lasers is that they rarely cause immediate loss of sight. It can take hours or even days before you feel the burn and lose your sight (just ask any welder who's suffered from flash burns).

 

IMHO the chances of a commercial airliner going down because of someone pointing a laser at the cockpit are quite low.

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Yet today, I heard of two more incidents in different U.S. cities. One pilot was flying a small commercial jet and another was a helicopter pilot. Heard it on NPR. Unfortunately, with the media attention it gets here, it gives the crazy copycat kooks out there ideas they were probably too dumb to come up with on their own. There's no proof that these are acts of terrorism, but more likely isolated, copycat incidents.

 

I imagine with what you say about commercial-grade lasers, Skidz, it could one day be used as an act of terrorism. We already know that terrorists have studied the use of lasers for this very purpose. But even these ridiculous, loser nuts with quick-and-easy access to the board-room laser pointers have one intent in mind: to cause harm. Either to a pilot's eyes or to the stability of the aircraft. It is, in its own right, a small-scale act of civil terrorism but not to be taken lightly. It only takes a few seconds for something really bad to happen...as you all know.

 

I hope it doesn't start in Canada or anywhere else. It takes an evil mind to mess around with stuff like that, even if they think "it's harmless." So don't be looking at no funky lights when you're coming in for landings!

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Yet today, I heard of two more incidents in different U.S. cities. One pilot was flying a small commercial jet and another was a helicopter pilot. Heard it on NPR. Unfortunately, with the media attention it gets here, it gives the crazy copycat kooks out there ideas they were probably too dumb to come up with on their own. There's no proof that these are acts of terrorism, but more likely isolated, copycat incidents.

 

You got that right TQN the more media attention the more copycat idiots will try for their 15 minutes of fame.

 

:down: :down: :elvis: :elvis:

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Here's the latest:

 

http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/01/12/planes.lasers/index.html

 

Mineta announces laser guidelines for pilots

 

Wednesday, January 12, 2005 Posted: 1:21 PM EST (1821 GMT)

 

 

(CNN) -- -- Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta announced new guidelines on Wednesday for pilots to report incidents in which laser beams are shone in their cockpits during flight, saying there have been 31 such incidents since December 31.

In his announcement in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Mineta said there is no "credible or specific intelligence that would indicate that these laser incidents are connected to terrorists."

 

He said the incidents seemed to be the work of pranksters.

 

"Lasers are not toys. Shining lasers into cockpits can put crews and passengers in harm's way," Mineta said. "Shining these lasers at an airplane is not a harmless prank, it is stupid and it is dangerous."

 

Mineta said beginning January 19, all pilots would be required to immediately report any laser sightings to air traffic controllers, who would then advise all pilots in the area and inform law enforcement officials.

 

"We will work with police to identify the source of the lasers," the secretary said. "We will do everything we can to make sure each case is aggressively prosecuted."

 

Mineta said the most recent incidents have not been concentrated in one area of the country but have been in several different cities from coast to coast.

 

The latest occurred Tuesday night in Phoenix, Arizona, he said. In that case, the pilot was able to determine that the laser was coming from a building on airport grounds.

 

Research shows that lasers could temporarily disorient or disable a pilot "during critical stages of flight such as landing or takeoff or cause permanent eye damage," Mineta said.

 

He said the only known injury so far is the first officer of one plane whose retinas were slightly burned by the laser.

 

The secretary also suggested better product labeling and consumer education about lasers, which are sold commercially as pen-type lasers.

 

Mineta said that about 400 laser incidents have been reported since 1990. He suggested the recent rash of incidents was the work of copycats.

 

Last week, a New Jersey man was released on $100,000 bail after federal authorities accused him of pointing a laser beam at two aircraft in December.

 

David Banach, 38, of Parsippany, New Jersey, surrendered on charges of interfering with the operation of a mass transit vehicle and making false statements to federal agents.

 

Prosecutors say Banach aimed laser pointers at aircraft in separate incidents on December 29 and December 31.

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