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From WKMG- Florida:

 

Laser Light Blinds Sheriff's Helicopter Pilot

 

POSTED: 1:36 pm EDT May 4, 2006

UPDATED: 1:43 pm EDT May 4, 2006

 

NAPLES, Fla. -- A sheriff's pilot was temporarily blinded when someone aimed a green laser into his helicopter's cockpit, authorities said.

 

Two Collier County sheriff's pilots were searching for a loud party in Naples last Friday when the laser beam was directed into their cockpit, sheriff's Lt. Mark Cherney said.

 

One of the pilots was wearing night vision goggles, which amplified the beam and temporarily blinded him.

 

The pilot suffered severe headaches and it remains unclear if the laser caused lasting damage to his eyes, Cherney said. The other pilot was not injured by the beam.

 

It is a felony to point a laser at an aircraft. No one has been charged in the attack.

 

"We have some leads," Cherney said. "We're looking for more."

 

-WATCH FOR THE WIRES...AND LASERS TOO-

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Wow, I didn't realize it was a felony, or that it could have such dramatic effect with Night Gogs.

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I can't do a night flight without getting blasted with a handheld spotlight......seriously. I fly nights on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only, so that probably has something to do with it. But, every flight I get "lit up" at least once, usually twice by some idiot redneck here in Jefferson County. I wouldn't say that its "blinding", but it's definitaly an attention get'r.

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I can't do a night flight without getting blasted with a handheld spotlight......seriously. I fly nights on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only, so that probably has something to do with it. But, every flight I get "lit up" at least once, usually twice by some idiot redneck here in Jefferson County. I wouldn't say that its "blinding", but it's definitaly an attention get'r.

 

Can't you "shoot" back?! (With your own light, I mean!)

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Yeah, I could show them my bigger "equipment" with the NightScanner, but I think that it would just encourage their behavior. Besides, you don't want anyone around here thinking that you could be the po po, otherwise you'll get shot at with more than just spot lights--these meth cookers go nuts in the head with paranoia. As seen on 60 minutes and the Discovery Channel, Franklin & Jefferson county in Missouri are the number meth producing areas in the US.

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Guest pokey
I have paced cars on the freeway before, and then turned on my landinglight. It'll give you a giggle to see everyone start driving all nice like . (At night of course.)

 

 

I used to like doing track and balance work over the NJ parkway near the jersey shore in the 206's, after i would get my data & jotted it down, i would point the strobex at the cars, (not flashing tho) & you would be amazed how many would immediately start obeying the speed limit ! :P

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We had lots of places in the AO at FT. Rucker that were known for spotlighters. We had no-fly zones marked on the hazards map where helicopters had been shot at or spotlighted. That was before lasers were a dime-a-dozen so I'm sure they have a similar problem with them now.

 

On the funny side, I'll relate a story told to me by a Sgt. who was in my AO class. He was flying left-seat in an OH-58 with the Guard in California at the time. The mission was NOE at night under NVG's and as they rounded a curve in the route they were on, they came upon a couple parked at the end of a lover's lane. The female was on the hood and the male was standing in front of the car's grill. Needless to say, they were in flagrante delecto. The pilot lit them up with the IR searchlight (which, of course, they couldn't see). Even though they could obviously hear the helicopter and possibly feel the rotor wash, they didn't miss a beat!

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One of the pilots was wearing night vision goggles, which amplified the beam and temporarily blinded him.

 

The pilot suffered severe headaches and it remains unclear if the laser caused lasting damage to his eyes, Cherney said. The other pilot was not injured by the beam.

I seem to remember reading or heard somewhere after the last spate of "laser pointing at aircraft" that these lasers don't really blind the pilots. Something about how over a long distance, the beam scatters because of dust and water particals in the air. Because of this, the energy from the beam is severly reduced. Generally, the beam looses "coherance" from scatter at about a quarter mile or less.

 

Also, here's a story from that period:http://www.wusatv9.com/News/news_article.aspx?storyid=36189

 

Exerpts:

 

The maker of the powerful laser devices behind aircraft beamings around the country says "there’s no way they can down a plane."

 

"It’s kind a misnomer that they blind pilots," said Noah Acres, marketing director for Bigha, an Oregon-based outdoors company that makes the small but powerful laser pointers. "It doesn’t melt their eyeballs or anything."

 

Bigha, just one maker of the lasers, is selling 1,000 to 2,000 devices each month at a price of $129, Acres said.

 

The green beam from the new era of lasers is the same intensity of as the familiar red laser pointers around for years. But to the human eye, the color green appears 50 times brighter, Acres said.

 

The "Jasper" pointer sold by Bigha is s a cigar-shaped, handheld device with a beam that can travel up to 25,000 feet.

 

The device is used by astronomy buffs who want to point out stars, construction workers who use them as alignment tools and outdoorsmen who use them for rifle sighting.

 

The company’s website and instructions that come with each Jasper laser warn users not to point the beam at aircraft, vehicles or in the eyes of animals or people.

 

"People are knowingly neglecting our warning," Acres said. "There’s always somebody out there who is going to mistake the word do for don’t."

 

 

 

Even the military is considering using lasers as a warning device for stray aircraft:http://www.atsnn.com/story/111719.html

 

 

I wouldn't think the laser would have caused lasting damage when viewed through NVG's. The laser light didn't hit the eyes but the NVG's, which only amplified the light. I bet the pilot saw the equivalent of a camera flash at most.

 

Later

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not to get off the topic of the lasers and all ,but on the subject of being safe...I was on my way to meet with a guy this morning to talk about flight training and on my way there i was buzzed over by a R44 no more than 150 to 200 ft ... never mind the fact that we had very heavy fog and almost no visibility, hence the reason for being so low. As i was taken by suprise i turned aroound to see where he was going i got ahead of him and stoped at a gas station to take a pic and a few minutes later he showed up and landed in the entrance to a boat dealership on the hiway he was following. when they got into the gas station I talked to him for a min and said it wasnt very good weather to be flying in he said yeah these things suck in the fog and kinda laughed about it and went on.I had to get going so dont know if they waited out the fog or not,just seemed to me pretty dangerous given the conditions ...Ill post the pics as soon as i get them loaded from camera

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Guest pokey
came upon a couple parked at the end of a lover's lane. The female was on the hood and the male was standing in front of the car's grill. Needless to say, they were in flagrante delecto. The pilot lit them up with the IR searchlight (which, of course, they couldn't see). Even though they could obviously hear the helicopter and possibly feel the rotor wash, they didn't miss a beat!

 

 

son of a !! :blink: that was YOU in that oh-58?! :P

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