Lasers illuminate airline cockpits on approach

Six incidents in four days

Thursday, December 30, 2004 Posted: 12:48 AM EST (0548 GMT)

Air Transportation
Department of Homeland Security
Continental Airlines Incorporated
Delta Air Lines Incorporated

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Six commercial airliners in the past four days have had their cockpits illuminated by laser beams while attempting to land, a government official told CNN Wednesday.

The incidents have happened "all over the place" and in "kind of odd places," the official said without elaborating.

None of the flights was affected.

The government official, who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity, said it was unclear whether this week's incidents were the result of "kids who got a laser light for Christmas" or whether there is "some deliberate attempt to target aircraft."

The cockpit of a Continental Airlines 737 was illuminated by a laser Monday as it approached Cleveland, authorities said.

FBI spokesman Bob Hawk said the light, which shined into the cockpit at around 8 p.m., came from a suburb about 15 miles from the airport.

The FBI said no harm was done and the light did not affect the plane's landing.

On November 22, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security sent an intelligence bulletin to police agencies to alert them that terrorist groups have shown an interest in using laser beams to try to bring down airliners.

"Terrorist groups overseas have expressed interest in using these devices against human sight," the bulletin said. "The U.S. intelligence community has no specific or credible evidence that terrorists intend to use lasers to target pilots in the homeland."

The bulletin said lasers were not a proven method of attacking aircraft but that they could lead to a crash.

"In certain circumstances, if laser weapons adversely affect the eyesight of both pilot and co-pilot during a non-instrument approach, there is a risk of airliner crash," the bulletin said.

It is against federal law to intentionally shine a laser beam at a commercial airline flight.

In September, a Delta Air Lines pilot reported damage to his retina from a laser beam during a landing in Salt Lake City, Utah.

A report for the FAA in June 2004 examined the effect of laser beams on pilots. Of 34 pilots who were exposed to lasers during simulated flights, 67 percent experienced adverse visual effects at even the lowest level of laser exposure. Two high exposure levels resulted in significantly greater performance difficulties and nine aborted landings.

"The potential for an aviation accident definitely exists," said the report.

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Unfortunately, we have decided
to STOP selling these lasers. 
Too many people have been doing
stupid things with lasers recently.  I
can't sleep at night thinking that
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wrong hands and hurt people.  It's
unfortunate that that the actions of a
few idiots have ruined it for many
responsible people who want to use
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I'm leaving the site up in case people
are interested in reading it.  Am I
doing the right thing by halting sales? 
I would love to hear your opinion,
so please email me with it.

>100mW Green-Beam
532nm Handheld Laser

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(if the images on this site look bad, it's because I've compressed them to extreme levels
in order to save bandwidth.  This was necessary since the site was mentioned on several
popular blogs, as well as

Don't miss the new video below of this laser's beam
blasting a hole through a plastic cup in just seconds!

Due to the popularity of this website, I have reduced the price.  There have also been some changes to this laser.  If you have seen this site before, please keep these changes in mind:

- The power output is no longer adjustable.  It is now full power all the time.

- The power has been INCREASED.  It is now guaranteed to be >100mW, and most of them are above 150mW output power.  My last batch of them measured 154mW, 159mW, 173mW and 193mW.  My personal unit measures 191mW, and I sold the 193mW unit a few weeks ago!

- There is now a safety key and connector that must be inserted into the laser and turned before it will operate, and there is a safety dongle that must be inserted into the bottom of the laser as well.

- There is a 2 second delay after you click the "on" button before the laser will produce a beam.

- This laser is now FDA certified and legal.  The above two changes had to be implemented to bring this laser into compliance.

- The physical look of the laser has changed, but only very slightly.  The on button is now blue, the protective lens shutter is redesigned, and there are keyholes to accommodate the safety key and safety dongle.
We are offering this laser for sale to responsible adults only.  This laser is not a toy.  This is not a modified laser pointer, or any kind of scam like you may have seen on eBay.  This is a legitimate high-power laser instrument.  It will cast a dot on the clouds and burn a hole through a plastic cup from across the room.  It is guaranteed to be above 100mW in output power, but that is a very conservative power rating.  In actuality, these lasers usually have an output between 150mW and 200mW.  I have one here the measures 191mW!  Compare this to the 3 to 5mW of a good quality regular green laser pointer, and you get an idea how powerful this laser really is.  This is a Class IIIb laser device that has been FDA certified and issued and FDA accession number.  That means this laser is legal to own and operate, but the buyer is advised to check the laws related to lasers to be certain that the intended use does not violate the law.  We will sell this laser to responsible adults only.

This laser takes 2 "C" size batteries.  This is a Diode Pumped Solid State laser operating at a wavelength of 532nm.  The housing is constructed of very thick aluminum with heatsink cooling fins in the front.  It has a very solid feel in your hand.  The power switch is a "click-on" type, so it can be locked in the "on" position.  The whole BEAM is CLEARLY visible (not just the dot at the end of the beam like with weaker lasers).  Since the beam is visible in the air for as far as you can see, it makes for a great way to point out objects in the night sky to other observers, and it will be visible to people for miles around.  You will not see a laser like this anywhere else, at any price.  You may see people selling modified laser pointers on eBay or elsewhere on the Internet.  This laser is in a whole different class.  You cannot even begin to compare this laser to a "laser pointer."  In fact, this laser makes a terrible pointer, because the dot is so bright it's painful to look at.  If you tried to use it as a pointer to give a presentation, the people watching the presentation would be looking away due to the intense light, and there would be burn marks all over the things you were trying to point out!  This laser carries a six-month warranty.

A word of caution - This laser can be DANGEROUS. Please NEVER point this laser at a person, a vehicle, an animal, an aircraft, or operate it in an environment where the reflected beam can hit your face. Like all high-power lasers, if the beam from this laser hits your eyes at close range, it can cause blindness.  This laser must be treated like a loaded gun at all times.

These lasers are built as they're ordered.  It will take up to 4 weeks to receive your laser, since I have to contact the manufacturer, they have to construct the laser, it has to be shipped to me from China, and then I have to ship it to you.  Please feel free to email me with any questions.

Side view showing safety key and dongle.

Front  view.

Laser Schematic.

This is the old style with the adjustable power.

Another picture of the old style model.

If you do download the video, please put it up for download on your favorite file-sharing network.  If you're trying to download it and it's too slow, search the file sharing networks for BurningCup.mpg.  In fact, if you're willing to put it up on a file-sharing network but can't download it here because it's too slow, please email me and I will email the video to you.  Thanks for your help! 

Click on the picture above to see a video of
this laser burning holes through both sides
of a plastic cup in just seconds!  Watch the
light from the laser beam on the chair behind
the cup when it breaks through the far side of
the cup.

This is the cup from the video at left. 
See the hole?






Shooting at the wall 10 feet away

Here is a close-up of the hole that the laser
burned through the cup in the video above.

Another Beam Shot.

Beam going out the door.

Beam hitting the clouds.

Beam hitting a tree 1/4 mile away.

$699 + $4 Priority Mail Shipping



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