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Laser Injures Delta Pilot's Eye

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the scary-thought dept.

Security 772

stormfish writes "The Washington Times is reporting that laser light from an unknown source injured a pilot's eye as he was flying a Boeing 737 from Dallas to Salt Lake City. A 5 milliwatt laser pointer is strong enough to damage a person's eye, and stronger laser's are not that hard to come by. Unfortunately, having pilots wear colored laser safety glasses would be impractical as that would make it impossible to interpret the colored symbols on paper maps and cockpit displays."

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First Post? (-1, Offtopic)

MrPink2U (633607) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384017)

Maybe for once...

Re:First Post? (-1, Offtopic)

micromoog (206608) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384080)

Nice work. You beat the GNAA.

LastMeasure hits the 100000 watermark (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10384019)

LastMeasure hits the 100000 watermark
Zeikfried - Reuters, Nigeria

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LastMeasure is licensed under the BSD Version 2 License.


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Quick (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10384020)

Get that bucket of popcorn over here!

Quick Poll Quiz (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10384027)

What would it taste like to lick the dick of a typical healthy dog?

Review the choices below and click the one that you think best answers the question. The correct answer will appear once you click on your answer. If you have no first-hand experience, make an educated guess.

Your choices are:
Sour, like dried urine [calcgames.org]
Funky, like human B.O. [calcgames.org]
Pungent, like smegma, toejam, or the guck that's behind your ears [calcgames.org]
Clean, like licking your fingers after a shower [calcgames.org]
Dusty, like the taste of dirt or sand [calcgames.org]
Kind of off-flavored, like mild doggy breath [calcgames.org]

first post? (1)

Neotrantor (597070) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384028)

in the eye?

Easy to get these lasers... (4, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384031)

It's extremely easy to get Class IIIa (potential eye damage, especially if viewed through optical instruments) and Class IIIb (potential instantaneous eye damage, even from reflected beam) lasers, even in handheld pointer form:

Class IIIa (>5mW) 532nm green laser pointer [thinkgeek.com] (ThinkGeek)

Class IIIb (>15mW) 532nm green laser pointer [megalaser.com] (MegaLaser)

Class IIIb 200mW handheld green laser [amazing1.com] (Information Unlimited)

It's even possible to get small, portable Class IV (potential instant severe eye damage, even from diffuse or reflected beams; this is the class of laser which also includes burning and cutting beams) lasers:

Various Class IV portable lasers [amazing1.com] , including a small battery powered 2W diode laser (Information Unlimited)

The front windows of a commercial aircraft and objects in the cockpit could easily reflect and refract a beam from the ground in ways that would be at a minimum very distracting and unsafe, and potentially damaging to eyesight.

Information [stanford.edu] about [nih.gov] laser [bnl.gov] classes [fda.gov] .

Re:Easy to get these lasers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10384078)

Lets declare laser pointers as WMD and invade the other countries who has them. No?

Re:Easy to get these lasers... (5, Funny)

hhlost (757118) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384152)

Hell, we could invade all the countries who might be trying to obtain them. But let's start with the ones that have oil.

Re:Easy to get these lasers... (5, Informative)

mirko (198274) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384098)

All of these handhelds laser have had their public sales suspended in France where there had been to many complaints from both victims and their optometrists.
It's still possible to buy some but in a very restricted context.

Re:Easy to get these lasers... (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384194)

The why aren't that that many complaints in lawyer happy America?

Re:Easy to get these lasers... (5, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384115)

Though not easily portable I have a 15W CO2 laser, which could be rigged up in a pickup bed quite simply. Put a camper shell over it and it'd be quite hard to figure out where the beam came from. Setup time would be roughly 1/2 hour from when the vehicle quits moving. There is no teardown time so you could shoot and run. I was able to pick up nearly everything for under $200 surplus. I've got to figure even larger rigs are easily acquired.
-nB

Re:Easy to get these lasers... (5, Funny)

Mr Guy (547690) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384126)

I hearby declare the parent post to be a threat to National Security! You can't just go around posting links to dangerous things on the web! Think of the chaos! Think of the humanity! What about the CHILDREN! [opticalres.com]

Laser pointers not a risk to aircraft (5, Informative)

Phronesis (175966) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384277)

Laser pointers would be almost impossible to use against aircraft because the beam diverges so quickly. At 10 feet you might damage someone's retina, but at 1000 feet, the beam will have spread significantly: typical laser pointers have beam divergences of several milliradians, so at 1000 feet the beam will be several feet in diameter and the intensity will be insufficient to damage someone's eye.

A multi-watt laser with a decently large aperture and a TEM 00 spatial mode would be a different story.

Well.. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10384033)

... at least we know the laser wasn't fired by GI-JOE or COBRA.

Re:Well.. (1)

malfunction54 (261656) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384291)

Elite fighting force...
can't hit the broad side of a barn.

my eye! (0)

LazyPhoenix (773952) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384034)

My precious antique eye!

Sharks (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10384035)

Did anyone think to check the frickin' sharks in the Great Salt Lake?

just blindfold them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10384036)

make them fly by voice recognition

Re:just blindfold them (1)

strictfoo (805322) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384167)

Just as long as the system doesn't require the pilots to think in Russian [imdb.com] .

aliens (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10384039)

Aliens FP

Should have flown on Ninnle Airlines! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10384043)

Fly the friendly Ninnle!

Oh the irony (5, Funny)

BabyDave (575083) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384045)

Nothing for you to see here.

Sigh...another reference to terrorism (5, Insightful)

MoxCamel (20484) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384046)

He noted that incidents of lasers being directed at commercial airliners during takeoff and landings have raised fears that "this in fact may be a new form of terrorism."

"Lasers are easily obtainable and can be self-manufactured weapons in the terrorist arsenal, which essentially can effect a soft-kill solution and leave virtually no detectable evidence," he said.

I'm a private pilot, so I certainly won't make light of this problem. But please...is every new way to hurt somebody going to be another weapon in the terrorist arsenal? Are we going to assume that everytime something happens to someone, a terrorist is behind it? I for one am tired of our leaders trying to make us afraid.

And yeah, this is a rant. Mod me down if you will, before I strike again.

Re:Sigh...another reference to terrorism (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384107)

is every new way to hurt somebody going to be another weapon in the terrorist arsenal? Are we going to assume that everytime something happens to someone, a terrorist is behind it? I for one am tired of our leaders trying to make us afraid.

Of course. Someone must be blamed and the "terrorists" are easy targets. It's like the God fallacy... Because we have nothing to explain it a single "supreme being" must have done it.

What I want to know is can they install laser protective windshields instead of handing out the glasses? I mean, how often in this day and age do they have to tell colors from the cockpit window on the ground? Wouldn't that be an effective countermeasure or is it more beneficial just to ignore the problem because it happens so infrequently?

Re:Sigh...another reference to terrorism (4, Funny)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384261)

How are they going to make a 'laser protective windshield"? You can't just filter one frequency out and call it safe. Lasers do come in more than one wavelength. If they spend the money, they can shine whatever wavelength they want at you. What are you expecting? The captain to order the crew to 'modulate the shield frequency', and if that doesn't work, 'reverse the polarity'?

You won't make LIGHT of the problem? (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384131)

Make light? Get it?

Light?

Thank you folks, thank you very much.

Tip your waitresses.

Seriously, though, all this shows is that almost any object can be used in potentially dangerous ways. Could it be a "tool of terrorists"? Sure. So could almost anything.

Re:You won't make LIGHT of the problem? (0, Troll)

MoxCamel (20484) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384195)

D'oh, I didn't even realize the pun.

Hey lookit me, I'm a comedian and didn't even know it. Do you hear that Jon Stewart? I'm coming after your job! [thedailyshow.com]

Re:Sigh...another reference to terrorism (1)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384135)

I certainly won't make light of this problem.

Sorry - couldn't resist...

Ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10384161)

Other poster beat ya. :-)

Re:Sigh...another reference to terrorism (3, Interesting)

JVert (578547) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384173)

Doesn't even need to be originating from terrorists. If there is any novel concept of causing damage, people will fear the terrorists will use it.
I dont think planes are dangerous anymore. You will have to kill/injure everyone on the plane. Nobody is going to let you fly it like they used to. Honstly all we really need is anti air missiles. The damage is no worse then a couple of public bussess or a subway station. We are spending far too many resources just trying to look like we are doing something when we are just spinning our tires. There are a million different ways to kill alot of people. Focusing on one is pretty damn political.

I for one am happy that "things are getting better" and "the country is safer". Cause I see a lot more reason for people to be pissed at us then they were 3 years ago. And if I didn't know any better... But this is not a political message, cause I dont vote.

Re:Sigh...another reference to terrorism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10384243)

In cases like this I prefer the description "moron" to "terrorist".

Re:Sigh...another reference to terrorism (1)

haggar (72771) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384271)

If you don't like the word "terrorism", don't use it. But that has NOTHING to do with whether you should be afraid or not!

How about this: some sicko puts poison in the fruits in the grocery store. This way, he kills dozens. Is he a terrorist? Who gives a shit.

Re:Sigh...another reference to terrorism (1)

TheKubrix (585297) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384282)

Dude, stop terrorizing slashdot.

But, seriously, you're right, its not only getting out of hand, its almost comical.

Heres a great emerging site that has a good essay about "terrorism":
http://www.gentlemanjim.net/ [gentlemanjim.net]

coat cockpit windows instead (4, Insightful)

bluelip (123578) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384047)

Can the cockpit windows have a safety coating applied instead of the pilot wearing glasses. Would tint the look of the world outside the plane, but wouldn't hinder looking at the interior all that much.

Re:coat cockpit windows instead (5, Informative)

dnaboy (569188) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384162)

Main problem is there are lasers across the visual spectrum. As you start layering filters to cover the major chemical laser wavelengths, then start looking at commercially available solid state lasers and even tunable lasers, and all of the sudden you're looking at a situation where no light is getting in to the cockpit anyway.

I would propose that actually physically seeing out of the window is less and less neccessary. At the same time oLED and plasma displays keep getting better. Why not recreate environment using cameras and flat displays? Sure it wouldn't look normal at first, but keep in mind, pilots all get certified on simulators.

Plus, it opens the door to all sorts of useful heads up display possibilities (porn).

Re:coat cockpit windows instead (2, Informative)

provolt (54870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384297)

I know some folks workin' on it.

Here was one demo. [rockwellcollins.com]

Here's a picture. [rockwellcollins.com]

Re:coat cockpit windows instead (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384172)

How would you see the things on the map that are the color of the filtered out light?

I'm sure that you could see them by interior lamps at night, but they'd be drowned out by day.

-Peter

Re:coat cockpit windows instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10384284)

I don't know about you, but i don't think airline pilots flying at 30,000 feet have been flying by visual navigation for quit some time.

Re:coat cockpit windows instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10384188)

hrm... i could be wrong but if wearing laser safety goggles would hinder interpreting colored symbols inside the cockpit would coating the windshield with a layer of laser safety tint also hinder the ability to differentiate colors outside the cockpit? specifically, would it interfere with landing lights or other important signals?

Re:coat cockpit windows instead (1)

cecille (583022) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384226)

Not that I mean to downplay the injury the pilot suffered in this case, but this seems (to me anyway) to be a fairly random event that isn't likely to happen too often. It seems like it would be more detrimental to put something on the windshield that might potentially obstruct the pilots view on every flight than it would be to leave yourself open to fairly infrequent and random lazer attacks. You can't account for every possibility, and it seems like these redundant safety systems for seemingly random events might cause more problems than they solve.

Re:coat cockpit windows instead (5, Insightful)

hazee (728152) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384232)

How about some sort of fast-acting photochromic coating instead? So that it's transparent most of the time, but darkens when hit by laser (or any very bright) light.

Re:coat cockpit windows instead (1)

caulfield (39545) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384283)

Would polarizing the window glass help? It would prevent the glass from being discoloured.

Re:coat cockpit windows instead (1)

nolife (233813) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384296)

Substitute laser for rifle and same thing..
Of course might be a little harder to get a direct hit.

Frickin Lasers! (1)

Anath (472249) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384048)

God-damned terrorists!!

now we need to ban lasers! for the children!

New kind of terrorism? (0)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384049)

Not to be alarmist, but if they can't ge on the planes they could try to blind the crew.

I know the planes are fully (almost) automated. . . just thinking out loud.
-nB

Caution! (5, Funny)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384051)

Do not look at laser with remaining eye.

How many times do we need to tell people that

Re:Caution! (1)

WhiplashII (542766) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384203)

Well, presumably you can only tell them that once...

Ha... (3, Funny)

c0dedude (587568) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384054)

Thinkgeek [thinkgeek.com] wanted for questioning.

Hmm... (5, Funny)

Raagshinnah (670749) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384058)

I, for one, welcome our new flying shark overlords

*cringes in terror*

Friggin' lasers attached to their heads! (2, Interesting)

smari (257143) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384061)

How can they be sure it's a laser? Can't directional intense light come from a number of places... like, for example, the sun? (Yeah yeah, the sun is anything but directional, but you get my point..)

Re:Friggin' lasers attached to their heads! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10384140)

I think the pilot would know if he was being blinded by the sun.

Re:Friggin' lasers attached to their heads! (2, Informative)

BenjiTheGreat98 (707903) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384189)

They said that they saw a laser beam in the cockpit. A short time after that the pilot felt a burning sensation in his eye. Did you bother to read the article?

Re:Friggin' lasers attached to their heads! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10384190)

like, for example, the sun?

The Department of Homeland Security has just released a warning of a potential new tactic that is possibly being used by terrorists. This tactic involves pointing at the sun and yelling "Oh My! What is THAT?!". Anyone in the visinity who looks will be bombarded with "sun beams" which could cause blindness, serious injury or even death.

Re:Friggin' lasers attached to their heads! (4, Insightful)

smari (257143) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384193)

Uhh ohh, I'm replying to myself again...

Okay, I read the article. It may well have been a laser? Intentional... I doubt it. Have you ever tried pointing a laser at a specific letter on a whiteboard? Try hitting somebody's eye through the window of a jet that's up in the sky, and furthermore moving, presumably right in your general direction. Takes a skill. These evil terrorists are so skilled these days!

can of spinach (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10384064)

do his buddys call him popeye?! 1st post!

Probably going to only increase (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384065)

Is there any way to make glass opaque to coherent light while still passing visible light? Or are pilots going to have to fly by instruments and video screens to protect themselves? (Can a readily available laser damage a CCD?)

Re:Probably going to only increase (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384127)

(Can a readily available laser damage a CCD?)

A laser can blind a camera, but only while it is pointed at the camera. The blinding can be mitigated by postprocessing if you filter out colors correspond to the laser. Of course, that mitigation could be mitigated by using multiple lasers at different frequencies, or perhaps by frequency cycling.

Re:Probably going to only increase (4, Funny)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384187)

> using multiple lasers at different frequencies, or perhaps by frequency cycling.

Wasn't this a line from an episode of Star Trek?

Re:Probably going to only increase (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384151)

"(Can a readily available laser damage a CCD?)"

Oh yeah. All can at least blind them for a period of time. Many can burn out the sensing elements.
-nB

Re:Probably going to only increase (1)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384253)

Or are pilots going to have to fly by instruments and video screens to protect themselves?

Hell no. I don't want to flying when a pilot realizes that he can put the plane on auto and check out some Seinfeld reruns on the video screen.

Re:Probably going to only increase (2, Insightful)

merlin_jim (302773) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384262)

Is there any way to make glass opaque to coherent light while still passing visible light? Or are pilots going to have to fly by instruments and video screens to protect themselves? (Can a readily available laser damage a CCD?)

Unfortunately, anything you do to affect visibility of coherent light is going to affect the visibility of diffuse light. But you can do smart things with polarization and embedded diffraction filters; you'll get some amount of distortion, but you can probably tune the distortion only to the frequencies that matter to you (off the top of my head, 532, 635, 650... maybe a few of the argon lines)

Even a 5mw red pointer can damage a CCD; it's focused by the lens to a spot small enough to cause intense heating.

And there are handheld laser diodes and DPSS lasers that are far more powerful than that.

Perhaps... (-1, Redundant)

Lord Jester (88423) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384067)

someone should think about a coating or a treatment of the windshields. Then there is no interference with things in the cabin.

BÖC (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10384075)

Blue Oyster Cult must have been touring Salt Lake City and just started Godzilla as they were landing.

So, what you're really saying is... (4, Funny)

freeze128 (544774) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384077)

The goggles do nothing!

"Colored laser safety glasses" (4, Interesting)

BobTheLawyer (692026) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384079)

Having pilots wear coloured safety glasses wouldn't be impractical, it would be impossible; the only colour that would block all laser frequencies is black.

Re:"Colored laser safety glasses" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10384197)

Having pilots wear coloured safety glasses wouldn't be impractical, it would be impossible; the only colour that would block all laser frequencies is black.

Finally, a use for my Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses!

Re:"Colored laser safety glasses" (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384250)

> Having pilots wear coloured safety glasses wouldn't be impractical, it would be impossible; the only colour that would block all laser frequencies is black.

Simple. Equip every pilot with a pair of Joo-Janta 2000 Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses, that turn totally black at the first indication of danger! Joo-Janta 2000 Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses: Another fine product of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation!

Glasses vs Windows (-1, Redundant)

hrieke (126185) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384087)

Unfortunately, having pilots wear colored laser safety glasses would be impractical as that would make it impossible to interpret the colored symbols on paper maps and cockpit displays.

Okay, so make the cockpit window able block lasers.

Sharks? (0, Redundant)

Solstice (11486) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384096)

I bet it was those sharks with friggen laser beams. Either that or ill-tempered sea bass. Everyone deserve a warm meal!

Hmm (1, Funny)

c0dedude (587568) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384116)

Well, if the Washington Times says it, it must be true!

Re:Hmm (1)

dat00ket (249468) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384244)

" Well, if the Washington Times says it, it must be true!"

Are you questioning a newspaper founded by the messiah [washingtonpost.com] ? Blasphemer!

Maps? (0, Offtopic)

trailerparkcassanova (469342) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384125)

Pilot don't use maps, they use charts.

Re:Maps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10384258)

Pilot don't use maps, they use charts.

chart P Pronunciation Key (chärt) n.

1. A map showing coastlines, water depths, or other information of use to navigators.

2. An outline map on which specific information, such as scientific data, can be plotted.

3. A sheet presenting information in the form of graphs or tables.

...

If X is a kind of Y, then when somebody uses an X, then by definition they are using a Y.

Related Links (-1, Offtopic)

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Ha, Tom Clancy (1)

anthonyclark (17109) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384160)

I think Al Qaeda must read Tom Clancy novels. He crashed a plane into the senate building in Debt of Honour, and in the same book used bright lights to blinds pilots during landings.

We should arrest Tom forthwith! (if only for his terrible characters :-)

Pre-emptive Response Listing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10384169)

  • It's an act of terrorism.
  • It's a harbinger of alien invasion.
  • It's NOT an act of terrorism.
  • It's NOT a harbinger of alien invasion.
  • It's time for gun... err... laser control.
  • It's the US army testing laser weapons.
  • It's just a rabid Slashdotter playing with his silly ThinkGeek toys.

Put on your tinfoil hats... (2, Interesting)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384176)

Couldn't a laser from that high up only be directed from some place in front of the plane or above it (ie satellite)??

Re:Put on your tinfoil hats... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10384228)

Couldn't a laser from that high up only be directed from some place in front of the plane or above it (ie satellite)??

or even worse...

They track the trajectory of the reflected laser and discover that...
the laser came from INSIDE THE PLANE!!!!
GET OUT OF THE PLANE, HURRRY!!!!
THE LASER POINTER IS IN THE PLANE!!!

Re:Put on your tinfoil hats... (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384251)

Can't wait for them to start fricking people in airports for laser pointers as well. :)

alarmist story. (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384177)

First off the laser needs to be of significant power to do that from a distance.

Secondly it needs to be mounted to a telescope for aiming.

The articel does not mention any laser facts but uses the word "laser" in an ominous way as to induce fear in the readers.

to cause that kind of damage to an eye, it either needs to be high enough power to cause damage and hit directly, if it's indirect, then it needs to be significantly higher power.

no your laser pointer will not blind a pilot from 5 miles away after it's power was reduced from the beam splitting effects of the windshield.

How does NASA do it? (1)

amichalo (132545) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384183)

With talk of Commercial Space Flight [foxnews.com] soon being a reality, I would think this issue will soon be solved.

Let's look to the US Space Program for an answer. Does NASA not solve the issue of intense light by tinting the glass in space vehicles?

Of course, there is the question of the source of the light, but that is for conspiracy theorists to imagine, er, solve.

Weapons of Mass Distraction (0, Troll)

Cryofan (194126) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384209)

The boogeyman gonna getcha unless you re-elect Bush. If kerry is president, there gonna be all kinda terraists running round with lasers blinding people.

BOO!

Some info on the washington times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10384217)

Its owned by one Sun Myung Moon [wikipedia.org] , who fancies himself the new messiah.

I suggest everyone read the wiki entry on The Washington Times [wikipedia.org]

-----------------------

Sun Myung Moon (born January 6, 1920) is the founder of the Unification Church (established on May 1, 1954, in Seoul, South Korea). With his wife Hak Ja Han, he is co-leader of the Unification Movement.

Moon's followers see him as a new Messiah, the second coming of Christ, commissioned by Jesus Christ to complete the divine mission of establishing the Kingdom of God on earth. In 2004, members of Congress crowned him the "King of Peace" in ceremonies on Capitol Hill. But when he first came to the United States, Rev. Moon met with enormous opposition, not the least from a Congressional probe accusing him of ties to the 1976 "Koreagate" influence-peddling scandal. Unable to convict him of political malfeasance, the probe landed him in court on charges of tax fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Moon's defenders describe the ensuing 18 months in federal prison as an act of bigotry.

Today Moon's Unification Church International controls industries all over the world, ranging from a third of the U.S. fishing industry to $300 million in cultural and political enterprises in the Washington, D.C. area alone, as the Washington Post has reported.

What about laser safe glass? (0, Redundant)

Digital_Quartz (75366) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384224)

Unfortunately, having pilots wear colored laser safety glasses would be impractical as that would make it impossible to interpret the colored symbols on paper maps and cockpit displays.



Why not make the glass of the cockpit windows out of laser safety glass? Or, have a "laser safety shield" that rolls down in front of the glass for landings?



This isn't much of a security threat. Most commercial airliners are quite capable of landing themselves without pilot intervention. Pilots are handy to have around when things go wrong (ILS is deflected, some kind of serious software problem, etc...) but otherwise the plane can land itself safely, and autopilot is frequently used to land planes today.



Really, if someone is pointing lasers at planes as they land, they're just being a bit of a jerk.


Right out of a Clancy Book... (5, Funny)

maybeHere (804258) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384225)

I think it was "Debt of Honour" where CIA operatives near the airport use lasers to blind japanese (don't ask) AWACS pilots, making them crash their planes. Coincidentally, that book ends with a airliner being crashed into the White House. Soo, what does this mean? It's obvious - Tom Clancy is providing The Terrorists (tm) with ideas and needs to be put in jail ASAP!

Not impossible. (2, Informative)

Cyphoid (759039) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384231)

It would not be impractical for the pilot to wear safty glasses during the takoff and landing phases of flight, and have the copilot dictate to the pilot important information and peform tasks (ie. airspeed, gear down, flaps out). This is how it is done to a certain extent already. And after takeoff, the pilot could remove his safty glasses. In fact, this is how the C-130 crews do it when landing in the arctic. The snow is so bright that the pilot must look outside the whole time while the copilot reads things off the instruments.

In theory, one can locate the source... (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384236)

It's not obvious how to protect pilots directly from this, but it would seem to be fairly feasible to protect them indirectly by building a device that could track down the sources of the laser exposure.

It would be some kind of recording device to place in a plane that views the ground through a wide-angle lens and constantly records the view, together with GPS coordinates and altitude. Assuming that the laser is located on the ground, it would seem as if it would be fairly easy to detect laser exposures and determine the ground location of the laser.

A year to develop? $100,000 each to manufacture?

Targeting the actual pilot? (2, Interesting)

mquires (817570) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384247)

I must be missing something here. Is it really feasible to hit a pilot in the eye a few thousand feet in the air in a moving plane? Even if you could get a lock on the plane, the pilot could always move a few inches to avoid the beam? I'm very confused here.

No more ecstacy for the pilots........ (4, Funny)

ARRRLovin (807926) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384249)

"The plane's two pilots reported that the Boeing 737 had been five miles from the airport when they saw a laser beam inside the cockpit, said officials familiar with government reports of the Sept. 22 incident."

Next thing you know, they're smearing vaporub on each other and are struggling to find words to describe how awesome their faces feel right now.

cornered (1)

mlush (620447) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384252)

Put a corner reflector mirror on the dash board, that will stop anyone trying to zap the cockpit :-)

Are they sure it came from the outside? (2, Interesting)

iansmith (444117) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384263)

The story said they saw a laser beam inside the cockpit. To do that from the ground would take some pretty quick targeting work.

Could a first class prankster have used a pointer through a small hole or something similar? Maybe the door was open?

Grasping at straws here.

Lights and pilots (2, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384264)

They used bright spotlights during WWII to blind and confuse Nazi pilots. It worked, many of them crashed, and none knew where to drop their bombs.

They also "hid" entire squadrons using smoke and mirrors.

If I could remember the name of the magician and his special squad of effects dude, I'd google for some links. Cool stuff though. David Copperfield-style illusions to fool the Nazis into seeing forces where there were none, and seeing nothing where the forces are, mostly in the desert theatre.

Some brat near the front? (1)

brownpau (639342) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384272)

Two questions: was the cockpit door open, and were there any unruly children or frat brats with laser pointers near the front of the plane?

I thought that was why pilots wear "ray-bans" (1)

dario_moreno (263767) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384276)


seriously, why not make sunglasses with a non-linear coating which becomes opaque (like a fuse) when light intensity is too strong ? Fighter pilots have such visors on their helmets in case of a nuclear flash. Some of them are even reversible (back to transparent after a while).

I've seen this too -- it happened to me. (5, Interesting)

yagu (721525) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384281)

On approach for landing in Seattle (I was just a passenger, not pilot) I was looking out the window into downtown Bellevue. From an area near the Bellevue main mall (hard to tell where exactly from 5000 feet, and 3 miles over) was some kind of laser light show, and the laser in describing its pattern for the show occasionally and momentarily came directly through the window, and directly in my eyes. Even this very brief exposure was painful, and my eyes had after-images for hours! The laser was green, so I assume an even higher energy than a red laser (don't know for sure).

Ever since that encounter I've always wondered if it was just an incredible fluke, or something that could happen easily again. Now I know.

Grammar Nazi (1)

josu (144992) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384287)

stronger laser's are not that hard to come by

Stronger laser's what?

The Washington Times is not a reliable news source (0, Troll)

Augusto (12068) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384298)

I'm surprised to see this article here, the Washington Times is about as reputable as the National Enquirer. I have no idea if the story is true or not, but I'm to the point with the "Times" that I just dismiss anything that was written by it's reporters.

And let's not forget who the bizarre owner of this "news source" is, isn't he claiming to be God incarnate?

On Correct Use of the Apostrophe (1, Offtopic)

arodland (127775) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384299)

We shall begin today by reviewing the correct use of the apostrophe, which is defined grammatically as ``the little thing that is hard to find when you put it inside quotation marks,'' as is shown in this example: ``'''.

Even top professional writers have trouble with apostrophes, as we see in this quotation from William Shakespeare:

``O Romeo, Romeo

``Your lookin' fine in them tight's.''

This is incorrect, of course: Shakespeare has used the word ``your'' as a participial infraction, which requires an apostrophe, as we see in this corrected version:

``O Romeo, Romeo

``You're buttock's are highly visible in them tight's.''

--Dave Barry

so what, easy solution (1)

colinleroy (592025) | more than 9 years ago | (#10384302)

What about peril-sensitive glasses?
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