Aside from cool concert effects and entertaining cats, we’re not quite sure why anyone needs a laser pointer, but they exist and are available to consumers at the click of a button. Like the Fidget Spinners, maybe laser pointers are just a cool toy to have. What’s not cool is how some misuse these laser pointers that can cause catastrophic consequences. As a premier digital media company specializing in business aviation technology and news, Offland Media believes that it is our responsibility to provide you with precautionary information needed to keep air traffic safe.
It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Arrested
Who would think that a simple tool like a laser pointer could cause an arrest and a possible police record? It’s true. You can get arrested if you are obstructing air traffic with your laser pointer.
Lasers Travel as Fast as the Speed of Light
When it comes to policing air traffic control, the law takes it very seriously. Laser pointers are quite dangerous when they are pointed toward the sky. There are hundreds of aircraft trafficking in the sky at different altitudes—some so high that you might mistake them for stars. At any rate, your laser pointer can travel that far! It may not look like the beam has that type of reach, especially when looking at it with the naked eye. When it comes to light travel, looks can be deceiving. Light travels fast and far, and even though it looks like your laser beam can only extend a few yards, it’s a scientific fact that your beam is traveling much further than that.
Once your beam actually hits an object—a flying aircraft to be specific, it causes a dangerous distraction to pilots. While the millimeter-sized red dot doesn’t seem all that intimidating, it actually has a larger impact on surfaces at longer distances, causing flash-blinding distractions for pilots.
In this video, you will see the effects that a laser beam from a concert has on a flying helicopter.
This is an increasing problem that all business aviator pilots are dealing with and sadly enough, not everyone realizes that it’s an issue! Many have found out the hard way, like this California man who was arrested for pointing a laser at an aircraft while he, his wife and two kids were spending family time together at an Orange County playground. It took no time for the pilot to phone in the man’s coordinates to the authorities who arrested him soon after and is facing serious charges.
In this video, you’ll see another demonstration of how blinding a laser pointer can have on a pilot.
According to the Orange County Register, several people who have been arrested for such an offense. In March of 2015, a man was sentenced to spend 14 years in prison because he pointed his laser at a Fresno police helicopter.
Type of Distractions Laser Pointers Cause Aircrafts
Laser pointers causes serious distractions, as demonstrated in these videos, it can cause flash-blindness, rendering the pilot inactive momentarily. All it takes is a moment for something to go wrong when piloting an aircraft. The absolute worst-case scenario is having a distracted pilot crash. One loss of life is one too many, but if that aircraft happens to crash in a highly-populated area, then something that started out as play, could turn into manslaughter charges. Also, laser pointers can cause harm to the eye resulting in retina damage and headaches.
Other Hazards to Consider about Laser Pointers
Something else that should be considered is what you’re seeing in these videos are pretty mild compared to what the human eye sees. While the camera serves as an accurate representation of the occurrence, it’s also a good filter. The distraction you see in the video is much worse for the pilot. Also, while you think that something like this can be avoided—as right as you might be about that in terms of aiming it correctly or using a tripod—all it really takes is one bad aim and you could be apprehended by the your local authorities. The misuse of laser pointers not only distracts pilots, but also law enforcement who must take their attention away from routine police work to deal with such situations.
The most obvious hazard is laser pointers being mistaken for weapons. This can be particularly disturbing for armed aircraft. If a pilot navigating an armed aircraft gets shined with a laser pointer, he or she might think the aircraft is under attack, which could result in fatal consequences.
We hope you have a better understanding about how dangerous laser pointers are for air traffic. Distracting pilots with a laser pointer is a serious offense that can result in fines, prison time, and a police record that will stay with you forever. It’s just best to avoid them altogether or just keep them inside when you’re playing with your Tabby Cat!
What else should you know about the business aviation industry? Look to Offland Media to get the information you need at 1-800-604-5193 or contact us online today!