Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Extreme Lazers

from CNN:
Official: No laser, terrorism link
Latest aircraft lasering Sunday

"There's not any evidence that these lasers are being used by terrorists," said Asa Hutchinson, undersecretary of border and transportation security. "The FBI certainly continues to investigate and look at these fact scenarios. It's also a safety issue that the Department of Transportation would certainly want to look at."


The FBI is investigating eight incidents since Christmas involving lasers -- or lights believed to be lasers -- directed at various aircraft across the nation, including incidents in the District of Columbia, Ohio, Colorado and New Jersey. All of the pilots were able to land without incident.


There were incidents last year when laser beams were directed into plane cockpits, including one on September 22 in which a Delta Air Lines pilot reported damage to his retina from a laser beam during a landing in Salt Lake City.

But Wait! It gets better!

On November 22, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security alerted police agencies that terrorist groups have shown an interest in using laser beams to try to bring down flights.

"In certain circumstances, if laser weapons adversely affect the eyesight of both pilot and co-pilot during a non-instrument approach, there is a risk of airliner crash," the bulletin said.

Yes, America! Our keen and enlightend bureaucrats have assured us that the dreaded "terrorists" are not currently firing lazers into the eyes of aircraft pilots.

Nonetheless, lazer beams are now being fired into aircraft cockpits despite the WARNING on November 22 that the dreaded "terrorists groups" have shown an interest in using laser beams to try to bring down flights.

And "they" said Kerry flip flopped...

So, great, the current outbreak of lazers in aircraft cockpits isn't linked to "terrorism". So who's doing it?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

New Navy Invention: Laser Detector Protects Pilots' Eyes
Story Number: NNS041210-03
Release Date: 12/10/2004 12:18:00 PM

By James Darcy, Naval Air Station Patuxent River Public Affairs

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (NNS) -- The Vision Laboratory in Naval Air Systems Command's (NAVAIR) Human Systems Division won an Aviation Week and Space Technology Magazine "Product Breakthrough” award in late November for its Laser Event Recorder (LER), a device that gives aviators instant warning about laser radiation potentially hazardous to their eyesight.

The LER is a green box which “tells” flyers if they are being targeted by a laser, and whether that laser can damage their eyes. A green light on the box means the system is functioning and everything is normal; yellow means a laser is pointed at them but is not an eye hazard; and red means they are being targeted by a laser that threatens their vision.

"There are anti-personnel systems out there that are designed to make it very hard to do your mission, while even something as seemingly innocuous as a casino's laser light show or laser pointer can temporarily blind air crew and pose a hazard to aircraft many miles distant," said Jim Sheehy, Ph.D., chief scientist and chief technology officer for Human Systems.

Though other laser detectors are in use by the fleet and other services, Sheehy said the units do not provide "real-time, medically relevant" information to the crews as they are flying their missions. Sensors currently in use can't cover the complete range of laser threats, nor can they let aviators know whether or not a laser pointed in their direction is dangerous to their eyes.

With its sensors and integrated global positioning system, the tiny LER not only encodes information about the type of laser that was encountered, but also records a digital picture, which allows analysts to see from where the laser emanated. Air crews on subsequent missions can avoid the threat or target it for elimination, as necessary. In the meantime, medical personnel can use the recorded data to better assess the extent of damage that may have been done to a pilot's vision and inform them of treatment options.

The LER not only gives simple feedback to the crew at the time of a laser event, but also records detailed information onto a compact flash card for later analysis by intelligence officers, medical staff or other air crews, said Jerri Tribble, Ph.D., research physicist and technical lead for the Navy team developing the laser event recorder.

Designing laser eye protection for the fleet is one of the Vision Laboratory's top priorities, Sheehy added. The challenge lies in taking out the right frequencies and intensities to protect against a probable laser threat, without compromising a pilot's ability to see cockpit displays, lighting and other important visual cues.

"We're always balancing where and how to provide protection," Sheehy added.

For related news, visit the Naval Medicine Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/mednews.

8:50 AM  
Blogger sourmonkey said...

Wow! thanks to whoever posted that.

So, the plot thickens...

12:42 AM  

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