Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re:Just use filters (Score 1) 114

by mbeckman (#48652429) Attached to: Finland Announces an Anti-Laser Campaign For Air Traffic
1. While fixed-frequency laser pens are popular now, tunable dye lasers can operate at any wavelength. They're widely available on the surplus market from medical devices, and you can readily buy larger laser modules of hundreds of miliwatts. And even pen lasers now operate in shades of yellow, purple, blue and orange, in addition to green and red. Filters must be tuned to a small wavelength range, and each color range would require several filter layers. Blocking all would result in opacity.

Filtering is not an option. If we don't want to see wholesale banning of laser sales, we'd better get started with education.

2. Eyes of both pilots and drivers have been damaged many times. Laser exposure to the rest of the public is already part of the problem.

Comment: Re:What the problem? (Score 1) 114

by mbeckman (#48650383) Attached to: Finland Announces an Anti-Laser Campaign For Air Traffic
Naval Lt. Cmdr. Jack Daly and Canadian helicopter pilot Capt. Pat Barnes suffered eye injuries hours after an aerial surveillance mission to photograph a Russian merchant ship that had been shadowing the ballistic-missile submarine USS Ohio in Washington state’s Strait of Juan de Fuca. The Navy recently turned down an appeal from the Defense Department inspector general to award Cmdr. Daly a Purple Heart for the incident. Cmdr. Daly, who retired from the service last year, continues to suffer eye pain and deteriorating vision.

Comment: Re:convex lens (Score 1) 114

by mbeckman (#48649021) Attached to: Finland Announces an Anti-Laser Campaign For Air Traffic
Immerman and kyosuke: Yes, the beam is already diverged owing to imperfections of the laser collimating optics. That's not the same thing as adding deliberately diverging optics. As I noted elsewhere, divergence makes the problem worse for pilots, because the beam is still very bright but at distance becomes 6' or more in diameter, making it very easy to target aircraft.

Comment: Re:convex lens (Score 1) 114

by mbeckman (#48649001) Attached to: Finland Announces an Anti-Laser Campaign For Air Traffic
ShanghaiBill: you misunderstand the problem. The beam is already diverged owing to imperfections of the laser collimating optics. That makes the problem worse for pilots, because the beam is still very bright but at distance becomes 6' or more in diameter, making it very easy to target aircraft. It's the temporary blinding effect that is so dangerous, where pilots are unable to read their instruments for a critical period during takeoff or landing. It's happened to me, and is like having a bright searchlight suddenly flood the cockpit, destroying night vision and rendering instruments unreadable. You can find youtube videos illustrating the effect.

Comment: Re:I'm sick of this (Score 3, Informative) 114

by mbeckman (#48648895) Attached to: Finland Announces an Anti-Laser Campaign For Air Traffic
Dear sick: you are dumb and don't know what you're talking about. The risk is not pilot eye damage. It's pilot distraction or temporary blinding during a critical phase of flight. As a helicopter pilot, I can tell you that every phase of flight in a helo is critical, as we typically fly at 500' AGL by law and are constantly looking for obstacles to avoid. A laser that makes me not see and avoid the power lines ahead will kill me just as effectively as if it had been a photon torpedo fired from the USS Enterprise.

When an airliner is landing, this is also a critical phase of flight. Blinding the pilot then will make it impossible to read instruments, possibly if not probably resulting in the aircraft departing from the glide slope and runway centerline and into a collision with airport surroundings.

You're right that no aircraft in the US has been shot down yet by a laser, although some pilots have suffered permanent eye damage. This is where the part about you being dumb comes in. See, intelligent people try to be pro-active about foreseeable disasters and take action before anyone, even a dumb person, dies. So we're just looking out for you. Pity you're too dumb to realize that.

Comment: Re:but they ARE toys (Score 1) 114

by mbeckman (#48648819) Attached to: Finland Announces an Anti-Laser Campaign For Air Traffic
Swell: try this experiment. Get on a busy freeway during nighttime rush hour. Now point two high-intensity flashlights directly to into your retinas for thirty seconds. Then try driving.

It's not eye damage we're worried about. It's collision damage from the aircraft careening into a parking structure during final approach, killing everyone on board.

Comment: Re:Just use filters (Score 3, Insightful) 114

by mbeckman (#48648315) Attached to: Finland Announces an Anti-Laser Campaign For Air Traffic
Googles won't work, and neither will a filtering windshield. They'll just obscure vision. The wavelengths are all over the spectrum. The only thing that would filter them all is a piece of steel. Tough to land that way.

Even if you could protect pilots, what about the rest of the public? As with any dangerous product, the answer is not to make the general public armor themselves, but to simply demand responsibility from the product owners. Your idea is like requiring police to wear bullet-proof helmets so that children can have unfettered use of guns.

As with firearms and drones, people too stupid to use lasers responsibly should not be allowed to use them at all. But also as with guns and drones, the answer is not prohibition. It's education. You should be required to demonstrate safe lasing knowledge before buying, just as you must to buy a handgun most places.

"The identical is equal to itself, since it is different." -- Franco Spisani

Working...