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Imagine executing a complex night approach to a major airport in highly congested airspace — lots of step-downs and a steep final segment — when suddenly an intensively bright light blasts the cockpit.
The windshield instantly turns opaquely green — but worse, you are temporarily blinded, as if a camera had been strobed too close to your face, and your eyes are burning. And the effect doesn’t immediately dissipate. You’re still descending to the ground, and you can’t see.
Now, if you are flying single-pilot, you’re in big trouble. You’ll have to break off the approach, somehow keep the wings level while initiating a climb (if you can find and manipulate the autopilot controls by touch alone), and report your situation to ATC, hoping they can get everyone else in the airspace out of the way until your vision clears. If you’re in a crewed flight deck and the other pilot’s vision isn’t so corrupted, the approach and landing can continue safely — assuming the light doesn’t strike again.
Once on the ground, the “afterimaging” will likely slowly diminish, but retinal damage could keep you grounded until the healing is complete. Longer exposure can end a career.
You are the victim of a laser light attack, and you’re not alone.
originally posted by: DupontDeux
I always wonder how people are able to hit the planes at all with their lasers.
- I have a hard time pointing at the right thing 12 feet away when doing a presentation!
Reports have come in from pilots as high as 30,000 feet claiming a laser strike.
Yep, with a claimed range of 85 miles (137 km), the top-end model Krypton can apparently shoot its 1-watt beam through the earth's atmosphere and into outer space. It puts out 86 million lux, which reportedly makes its projected dot appear 8,000 times brighter than the Sun. The laser does at least come with safety goggles, plus it has a coding feature that keeps unauthorized users from being able to turn it on.
It is also said to be the first laser to incorporate an internal thermopile detector. This lowers the operating current to stabilize the device's temperature, when excess heat is detected.