Night Flight Concepts (Booth No. 3428) has announced an online course to educate flight crews about the growing threat from laser strikes. According to the FAA, the number of laser strikes directed at aircraft cockpits continues to increase, causing loss of situational awareness, flash blindness and retinal damage.
A Lakeland, Fla. man faces 20 years in prison after aiming his laser pointer at a Polk County sheriffπs helicopter conducting a search-and-rescue mission. The laser caused the flight crew to become disoriented and abort the mission.
Since almost one third of helicopter accidents with fatal casualties are caused by impact with obstacles and cables, developing and improving anti-collision systems against low-visibility obstacles is clearly a key objective for avionics specialists. Finmeccanica’s Selex Communications has had success with various military users of its laser obstacle avoidance and monitoring (LOAM) system since introducing it in 2000.
Announced last week was the first successful test of the 250-kilogram laser-guided version of Sagem’s AASM modular weapon. The laser AASM was launched from a Rafale and hit a target at the Biscarrosse range 25 kilometers away. AASM versions already qualified are the basic inertial/GPS guided bomb, and a version that adds imaging infrared.
Naaco’s ‘Mercury Mod’ Turns 15
Naasco, the starter-generator MRO specialist, is celebrating the 15th anniversary of “Mercury Mod,” its improvement program for starter-generators.
A new Article 222 of UK Air Navigation Order 2009 makes it illegal “to shine any light at any aircraft in flight so as to dazzle or distract the pilot of the aircraft.” The country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) hopes the article, coupled with new technology used by police air support units, will increase conviction rates.
Italy’s Elettronica has entered the last phase of development of its directional infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) system for the anti-missile protection market, and is due to complete ground tests and flight trials by the end of 2009. The project was launched in 2007 to create a system that would protect aircraft from infrared-guided (“heat-seeking”) surface-to-air missiles, and in particular, man-portable air defense systems.
In response to numerous reports of lasers being pointed at aircraft, the FAA last month issued advisory circular (AC) 70-2 requesting all aircrews to report immediately incidents of unauthorized laser illumination to the appropriate ATC facility. The AC also requires air traffic controllers to notify pilots immediately about laser events.
Germany’s Federal Border Police (FBP) EC 135s and EC 155s will be equipped with the EADS Defence Electronics Hellas obstacle-warning laser radar. An order for 18 systems, announced at ILA in Berlin last month, will augment an earlier one for 25 systems.
The House of Representatives passed legislation that aims to punish anyone convicted of knowingly pointing a laser at an aircraft with a maximum of five years in prison. Introduced by Rep. Ric Keller (R-Fla.), the bill stems from a number of cases over the past few years where pilots have reported lasers being shone in the cockpit, causing temporary loss of vision. To date, no accidents have resulted from laser pointing.