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Laser-pen louts

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 4:42 pm
by brian livesey
Some of us find that using a low power laser-pen on our 'scopes is a quick and convienent way of locking onto targets in the sky; especially if we have a back problem that necessitates twisting and turning into awkward positions with an optical finder.
Unfortunately, there are some non-astronomical people who take pleasure in pointing high powered laser-pens at aircraft to the detriment of pilots. According to the CAA ( Civil Aviation Authority ), there were 1,440 aircraft laser incidents last year at Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Bradford, Gatwick and Glasgow.
A British Airways co-pilot had his retina burnt by a "military strength" laser and hasn't worked since. According to a CAA report in the national press: 'The sale of powerful lasers is restricted in the UK, but can be bought online ... A green 125mW laser-pointer pen could cause temporary blindness at a distance of 1,300 feet, dazzle a pilot's eyes at 1.1 miles and cause a "distraction" from as far away as 11 miles." THE TIMES, November 24.

Re: Laser-pen louts

Posted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 6:23 am
by PaulB
There's only one word to describe these people.

I am not a snob, but I don't care very much for today's modern society. There is no respect for your fellow human, these days.

Re: Laser-pen louts

Posted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 11:20 am
by M54
Sorry, but why is this here?
This concerns people that will go and cause a problem if at all possible and has nothing to do with astromony or the astro community.
Also has anyone tried getting to within 1300 ft of an aircraft?
If it is above you then the aircraft body is in the way, to shine at the cabin means you're in front of the aircraft and last time I was at anything resembling a major airport it was sort of more then a little difficult to stand on the runway in front of an incoming plane.

I live between 2 much used airports, one thing I have never yet read in 15+ years is anyone using a laser pointer at any of them.

Re: Laser-pen louts

Posted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 3:38 pm
by David Frydman
There are very frequent reports from pilots being lit by lasers.
The police are immediately informed and they sometimes find the culprits fast.
These individuals are prosecuted.
We are talking of daily incidents. Sometimes several a day.

These individuals are shining lasers from their gardens or hiding places miles from airports at aircraft perhaps thousands of feet away.

In my opinion lasers capable of harm at 100m or more should be banned, despite what squealing astronomers might say.

I also think that drones should be banned unless flown by someone with a pilot's licence,

The problem is that nothing happens until tragedy strikes, and governments are spineless until the voting public demand action.

Regards, David

Re: Laser-pen louts

Posted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 4:02 pm
by brian livesey
Contrary to M54 saying that the laser-pen issue has nothing to do with astronomy, it could mean further legislation that would inhibit the use of attaching the pens on our telescopes.

Re: Laser-pen louts

Posted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 5:04 pm
by LeoLion
With reference to data for frequency of incidents near airports (UK official data) the frequency is logged here and reported on a quarterly basis ... incidents/.Several incidents around Stanstead.
I do have a green laser pointer and only used it once (and under a low clouded sky).The distances over which some form of hazard can be caused is quite large (up to miles).Distraction probably being the hazard at distance for the flight crew.
My own skies see Manchester ,Liverpool and Leeds Bradford approaches plus overflying by international flights at up to 34,000 feet.
There is a piece on the Farnham AS website identifying current legislation that covers some of the risks and potential consequences.

Re: Laser-pen louts

Posted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:20 pm
by Brian
Quotes re lasers from todays (18 Dec) Mirror:

"Half of all pilots have experienced a laser attack in the past 12 months" (source BALPA)

"Laser pens have been used to distract pilots flying over the UK more than 7000 times in the last 4 years"

"A BA pilot landing at Heathrow suffered retinal burns after a military-strength laser was shone at him"

A worrying scenario,

Re: Laser-pen louts

Posted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:52 pm
by David Frydman
One of the BA pilots has not been able to fly for a year, and may never fly again.

I think that lasers are banned from warfare. However, I don't suppose that prevents their use.

Many military binoculars have laser filters, but modern lasers can switch wavelengths.

I have personally heard several attacks being reported.

Regards, David