Pilots Want Laser Protection (Really)
Better Notification, Training Urged
Some airline pilots say there should be some kind of system to inform them of recent laser attacks and some fresh thought put into what can be done to guard against them in light of a rash of incidents over the past couple of weeks. "Pilots want a generalized warning and training," Denis Breslin, vice president of the Allied Pilots Association, told The Associated Press. "I think that's not too much to ask." At least eight flight crews have reported being lased in recent weeks. Although there have been hundreds of lasing incidents reported over the years, the most recent ones follow warnings from the Transportation Security Administration and FBI that terrorists might be planning to use lasers against airliners. Terrorists ... as opposed to the non-terrorists that seem to be doing it now. The FAA says it's now working on a set of recommendations. Breslin said different lasers have differing properties and pilots need to know what they are so they can protect themselves. So far, the only advice they have is to shield their eyes if they see a bright green or yellow light. The FAA has actually studied the effects of lasers on cockpit crews and found that most pilots reported only brief distraction from the sudden bright light. The pilots were given tasks to perform in a simulator and then hit with lasers of varying power. All the pilots were able to complete the assigned maneuver in the simulator and lasers have never been the cause of an accident in the real world.