Southampton recently became the first airport in the UK to use the Bird Control Group’s handheld Aerolaser to disturb and repel birds from runways. The laser technology simulates a physical danger to the birds, provoking them to fly away to protect themselves. The laser is calibrated for use in daylight and incorporates a safety feature to prevent its shining at aircraft or the control tower.
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), in collaboration with the FBI and the FAA, on February 11 launched a 12-city public awareness campaign about the safety issues surrounding laser attacks on aircraft cockpits. Reports of aircraft laser illuminations in the U.S. have increased sharply over the past few years–to 3,960 last year from 2,836 in 2010.
PGA Electronic, a specialist in cabin equipment, brought some new technology to the NBAA show and is exhibiting optical fibers for mood lighting, a new reading light and super-thin flat screens.
Night vision solutions provider Night Flight Concepts has released an infographic to teach pilots how to properly prepare for and defend against laser strikes. “As the annual number of laser strikes on aircraft increases, the topic of laser strike readiness [for aircrew] is becoming more pressing,” the company said. Night Flight’s infographic helps arm pilot with the tools they need to “identify, prepare for and recover from laser strikes.”
Night Flight Concepts (NFC) is offering laser defense training online. The one-hour course is available to law enforcement and other first responders for $95 and to other students for $125 through the company’s website: www.nightflightconcepts.com. Upon finishing the course, students take an online quiz and can print a certificate of completion.
The FAA has directed its investigators and staff to pursue stiffer penalties for people who purposefully point laser devices at aircraft. Shining a laser at an airplane can temporarily blind the pilots, resulting in a safety issue. The number of reported laser incidents nationwide rose to 3,592 last year from 2,836 in 2010.
So often in the course of covering events, journalists hear statements that never make it into published accounts. Space is limited, time is limited, or the comment is peripheral to the rigid formula of news reportage—who, what, where, when and possibly, why.
The FAA launched a new website today where pilots and others can report incidents of lasers being shined at aircraft. It includes links for reporting laser incidents, laser statistics and FAA research on the dangers lasers can pose to pilots.
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.
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.
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