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.
As the aircraft fleet ages and the number of in-flight material fatigue incidents climbs, a professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia says he has found a new and reliable method of identifying potentially dangerous cracks in aging aircraft.
Two new developments from BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre promise to markedly enhance performance of aircraft through the innovative use of new-age sensor technologies.
Elbit’s El-Op division has developed a laser radar system capable of detecting obstacles. Called LORD (laser obstacle ranging and display), the system is capable of detecting such obstacles as electrical wires and antennas, thus providing real-time alerts to pilots flying low level in adverse weather conditions. El-Op has built up considerable experience in the development of eyesafe lasers based on optical fibers.
CMC Electronics is here at the Paris Air Show with a compact satcom antenna, an integrated glass cockpit for helicopters, a second-generation electronic flight bag (EFB) and a new line of opto-electronic components.
EADS and DRS Technologies have agreed to collaborate on production and marketing of the Hellas laser-based obstacle warning system in the U.S. Hellas is said to offer “unprecedented protection” for helicopters against difficult-to-detect obstacles such as power lines.
The FAA and general aviation organizations have stepped up efforts to inform pilots flying in the airspace around the Washington and Baltimore areas about a new laser light system the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) is using to warn unauthorized aircraft they have violated the national capital region air defense identification zone (ADIZ) and/or the smaller flight restricted zone (FRZ) within it.
The Senate at press time was considering a bill that imposes a $250,000 fine and a possible prison term of up to five years for people who point lasers at aircraft. The legislation is an outgrowth of a number of recent incidents. Laser beams can temporarily blind pilots and, in some reported cases, cause permanent eye damage. The bill passed in the House last month.
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