Laser Pointers on my mind.

Today and it was my fault for latching on to a post on Facebook about an appeal by South Wales Police about laser pointers, that I received some backlash for merely trying to clear up some confusion in my mind.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/PenylanRoathCyncoed/permalink/3555894777853408/

My mistake was I commented on someones shared post and got hate from it. It was no different to what I have said below although I have further elaborated on my statement.

Link also here:

https://www.facebook.com/SWPCardiffVOG/posts/2948640848753159

Obviously the people or person that pointed the laser should be punished under the terrorism act.

The reason why I latched on was because I could not believe that a simple pocket laser could cause harm or injure a pilot airborne or crew member when the culprit was on the ground, according to the original post an on-board critical care practitioner suffered blurred vision and a migraine, and had to go off-duty (This implies the injury was serious). Obviously I was naive about laser pointers and have since learnt a thing or two.

The incident which happened on Sunday 28th February 2021 at 9.30 pm over Heath Roath Park and Roath Recreation Ground in Cardiff UK. The laser was directed at a Wales Air Ambulance causing injuries to a crew member.

This is what a laser pointer looks like from the ground according to this blogger of this paper:

This is what a pointer looks like from 20km or 12 miles.

More information about laser pointers and aircraft click the link here: https://www.laserpointersafety.com/laser-hazards_aircraft/laser-hazards_aircraft.html

I obviously did some research and fact checking and all I got was negative people trolling me, with one stating that my shared links where belittling the crime and what I was sharing were theoretical papers, even going as far as insinuating I had some ulterior motive to make the comment. (I do not take kindly to accusations), the said person (mentioning no names) even demanded I explain myself.

Also it was unclear how come the pilot was not mentioned?, unless the person was a paramedic and pilot?

When writing articles one should be clear about the content as to not confuse the reader. One should not write one line and hope the reader will second guess the rest.

The only reason for the Facebook Comment was if I am brutally honest was to establish facts and clear up any confusion, first of all there was no mention how far the helicopter was off the ground at the time of the incident?… so my question was how did the laser pointer affect a paramedics vision? Was the helicopter landing or taking off or in mid air?

Good Journalism should not cause confusion.

A laser pointer can be a distraction for helicopter pilots that wear night vision googles or airplanes that want to land, the same applies for military aircraft at night.

MOST IMPORTANTLY!

The most important part was I was not condoning this in anyway and all perpertrators should be punished to fit the crime. I was merely pointing out that there would be no adverse physical affects from this according to the Fact Checking‘ I had made from two verified sources the BJO & BBC, links below:

https://bjo.bmj.com/content/82/11/1335

I can see how serious pointing a laser at an aircraft can be to the aviation authority and it can be deemed as an act of terrorism and I certainly do not condone it.

Laser pointers can be distracting to pilots!

It seems to be a craze or fad for idiots to laser aircraft. Perhaps the powers that be should educate people in the masses about STUPIDITY with social awareness and media amplification that pointing lasers at aircraft is wrong on all levels, regardless if it affects a pilot or not. I can see that lasers pointers can be distracting and potenially dangerous. https://www.laserpointersafety.com/laser-hazards_aircraft/laser-hazards_aircraft.html

I personally think that laser pointers should be banned from the public and only used and sold to businesses and higher education institutes. I also believe fireworks should also be banned for sale to the public or the public need a license. Fireworks should only be sold to organisations for public events or people with firework licenses.

I am still open minded about the distance a laser pointer would have had to be to cause any adverse affect to the paramedic, considering in the BJO a laser does not cause headaches, but temporary blindness similar to a flash on a camera going off.

I have since removed myself from the group. I do not know how Facebook groups work but I do not wish to be associatied with narrow minded people.

(Addendum) apparantly if you remove yourself from the group it still does not remove you from the thread, lesson learnt, hence I had someone like my comment a few minutes ago.

My daughter gave me some solid advice:

“if you do not want to be trolled do not leave comments as people do not like the truth”.

I never once said that I was defending or condoning the culprits.

All I was doing was getting my head round the fact when one verified fact checked source says one thing and I read something else from another source that is confusing and that is when I start to question.

From what I can gather according to my verified source below, it is virtually impossible to have adverse physical affects from a laser on the ground whilst a pilot is airborne. If anything it can be a distraction when pilots wear night time googles or are landing and may experience flash blindness.

However pointing a laser to an aircraft is an obstruction and an should carry the punishment of an act of terrorism (and if it is isn’t, it should be).

Accordig to the Civil Aviation Authority in 2016, there were 1,258 incidents of lasers being pointed at aircraft. In future, those who deliberately target aircraft with lasers could face a jail sentence or hefty fine. Currently, shining lasers at planes has a penalty of up to £2,500.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/laser-pointers-blind-pilots-uk-government-aircraft-attacks-civil-aviation-authority-eye-injury-a7890146.html

Pointing a laser pointer at an aircraft is illegal.

Obviously I reiterate again, pointing a laser on a moving vehicle such as plane, helicopter, car motorbike, boat, yacht etc can be deemed as an act of terrorism, it does not matter why a perpertrator has engaged in such an act but more so that they executed their action and this is punishable by law.

For pilots to be affected and injured because of this act, the laser would have to directly be pointed in their eyes or for them to experience a flash blind effect.

According to the The British Journal of Ophthalmology (BJO)

While many claims have been made for ocular and other injury, as a result of exposure to laser pointers, none has been sustained. Most victims are unaware of the clinical symptoms that would be appropriate to retinal injury; thus many individuals claim to have seen a bright light followed by pain or irritation in the irradiated eye. Some also complain of redness of the eye and headaches. In reality, there are no pain receptors in the retina and, therefore, threshold laser strike in the visible region of the spectrum is not associated with pain.

https://bjo.bmj.com/content/82/11/1335

Maximum Jail Term.

Yes a maximum punishment should be served to idiots using laser pointers for illegal means and maximum jail time should apply, as it could potenially cause a catastrophic disaster. This also applies to drones.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/drones-are-you-flying-yours-safely-and-legally

I personally think all journalist and media should use the phrase:

“Anyone caught using a laser pointer publically for illegal purposes will be arrested and punished under the terrorism act”, which adds MORE CLOUT than a minimum sentence of 5 years, going as far as spreading awareness in bold campaigns that show how dangerous laser pointers can be.

“Good Journalism Does Not Cause Confusion”.

It does not take much effort to log details who the device was sold to, making verification ID mandantory in the UK. However to stop people buying them from abroad is another matter and there would have to be an import ban from other countries to the consumer and only legitimate organisations that were licensed would have access.

UK Ministers are talking about bringing in licenses to sell laser pointers: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/laser-pointers-blind-pilots-uk-government-aircraft-attacks-civil-aviation-authority-eye-injury-a7890146.html

According to:

The British Journal of Ophthalmology (BJO

BJO states and I quote “that in conclusion, laser pointers, pens, or key rings if used appropriately are not an eye hazard, and even if used inappropriately will not cause permanent eye damage”.

FINAL THOUGHTS.

“It is sad that in this day and age with an array of social media platforms we are censored for the things we write. I am all for censorship if it promotes hate crime or worse. But when it comes to merely expressing an opinion or asking a question we should not be scrutinised. There is little room for freedom of speech anymore and we cannot ask questions as people will question our motives and get defensive. I believe if people have questions they should be able to express them without the fear of someone trolling them and without the fear of being censored or punished”.

Pointing any laser device to a moving vehicle eg: (planes, trains, cars, motor bikes, boats) or directly at someone to purposely maim including eyes and body or cause destruction and accidents, the perpartrators should be punished to fit the crime.

Further Reading:

https://www.askthe.police.uk/content/Q757.htm

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/65424/what-pilots-see-when-you-shine-laser-pointer-aircraft

According to this article distances of up to 1200 feet can engulf a cockpit. It remains a distraction hazard all the way up to 12,000 feet.

The point is:

The maximum altitude which a helicopter can be reached during forward flight typically depends more on the ability of the engine. Helicopters can reach around 25,000 feet. But the maximum height at which a helicopter can hover is much lower – a high performance helicopter like the Agusta A109E can hover at 10,400 feet. However, if the helicopter remains in ‘ground effect’ – ie, if it is hovering close to high ground – its maximum hover altitude will be higher. The Agusta can hover in ground effect – ‘HIGE’ in helicopter jargon – at 13,800 feet. This is useful for mountain rescue missions.

https://www.laserpointersafety.com/laser-hazards_aircraft/laser-hazards_aircraft.html

According to the BBC:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35576741

I would also like to add I am a law abiding citizen and if I was to catch anyone pointing lasers for illegal purposes, other than for the purpose of business, education or the cat, I would report them to the authorities without question.

Here is the post to the South Wales Appeal Page:

https://www.facebook.com/SWPCardiffVOG/posts/2948640848753159

Anyone with information should contact crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 quoting ref *071640.