The Effects of Laser Illumination

April 26, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Posted in Lasers | Leave a comment

It seems as if the effects of Laser Illuminiation on aircraft is once again hitting the headlines, we recently posted an article from IFALPA on this subject on our social media site.

This does make for fascinating reading as the “man on the street” does not know the effects that laser illumination has on pilots during flight and what a safety hazard it is.

The following article from the ALPA-SA website is fascinating reading.

Laser Incidents:

The Air Line Pilots’ Association South Africa would like to express its concern with the increased projection of laser light into the air in particular the lasers used in the vicinity of aerodromes can seriously affect the visual performance of pilots. Members of the Association are reporting increased incidents of sudden and intense bursts of light, sometimes even being deliberately shone at aircraft in the airspace in and around aerodromes.  The public should be informed and made aware that they can be arrested when engaging in such unlawful activities   The use of lasers for outdoor entertainment is increasing and it is becoming apparent that certain flight hazards are associated with temporary vision loss during critical phases of flight. When such laser displays are projected into airspace and intercept aircraft, unplanned exposure may cause pilot distractions or create temporary vision impairments.  These effects may pose significant flight safety risks in particular during approach and landing operations.
The danger of light emitted by lasers is the fact that the light is focused by the lens of the eye onto a very small spot on the retina.  It is this focusing of the laser beam that makes the eye more sensitive to laser radiation and in the USA, shortly after take-off a pilot on a commercial flight was hit in the eye by a laser beam.  He was completely flash-blinded in his right eye and suffered impaired vision in his left eye. He was unable to see for 30 seconds and for another two minutes was unable to interpret any of his flight instruments.   Such an event has obvious safety implications in imperiling the lives of aircrew, passengers and those living in the vicinity of aerodromes.

Source: ALPA-SA

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