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United States Technology

Laser Warnings Planned for Out-of-Bounds Pilots 258

Posted by timothy
from the this-certainly-won't-be-spoofed dept.
akadruid writes "No, it's not a new 'Star Wars' system: The US Pentagon and NORAD are using lasers to warn off pilots flying into restricted airspace, according to Wired magazine. I wonder if they got the idea from the FBI, who charged a New Jersey man under anti-terror laws for doing this?" The system is not yet in operation (but could be as soon as next month), and according to NORAD, their system has been found safe for pilots' eyes.
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Laser Warnings Planned for Out-of-Bounds Pilots

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  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:58PM (#12219045)
    ...RTFA.

    Yes, it's ironic and ha-ha funny and all considering the instances of lasers being shined into cockpits as pranks.

    But:

    The North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, said its laser warning system will start in 30 to 45 days. The low-intensity lights are less powerful than the ones that prompted warnings, and tests have shown they are safe for the eyes, according to NORAD.

    NORAD spokesman Michael Kucharek said the laser-based warning system someday could replace fighter jets as a way to warn pilots to stay away from the Capitol and the White House.

    Hundreds of small private planes
    [i.e., not commercial jetliners] have strayed into the restricted airspace in Washington, a 15.75-mile radius around the Washington Monument.

    In some cases, NORAD has had to divert or scramble fighter jets to escort them away from the area at a cost of $30,000 to $50,000 each time, Kucharek said.

    The challenge for NORAD will be to educate pilots that the red-red-green flashing laser beams mean they're flying in restricted airspace.


    Isn't looking for a new or novel notification system for myriad planes that may not be able to immediately contacted via radio or identified by radar or other means a good thing? And one that mitigates the need to divert or scramble fighters at great costs?

    And yes, I suppose someone could build a system to emulate the NORAD system as a joke/hoax/prank/whatever, as no doubt dozens of drooling slashdotters are anxious to post to echo Timothy, but then, it would be:

    - First of all, very unlikely to be encountered, statistically, and when it did happen, it would be:

    - Not anywhere near restricted airspace, meaning it would be recognized as a prank to be ignored
    - In the case of much of DC around the capitol, in restricted airspace anyway, and therefore moot
    - Likely that instances that would cause significant confusion and/or be mistaken for a legitimate NORAD warning would be about as prevalent as current laser pranks. That is to say, not prevalent at all, compared with the total number of flights.

    So in sum, this is a very good idea and not at all surprising.

    Further the fact that a man has been (rightfully) charged with a crime for shining a fucking laser at a plane like a dumbass has absolutely nothing to do with a safe, non-obtrusive, well-designed warning system that coincidentally also uses lasers because of their utility that is only invoked if a pilot strays into restricted airspace in the first place, which are likely to be small, private planes, as indicated in the article, and NOT commercial carriers with experienced pilots who know, and have the tools, to stay out of restricted airspace.
    • "Further the fact that a man has been (rightfully) charged with a crime for shining a fucking laser at a plane like a dumbass has absolutely nothing to do with a safe, non-obtrusive, well-designed warning system that coincidentally also uses lasers because of their utility that is only invoked if a pilot strays into restricted airspace in the first place, which are likely to be small, private planes, as indicated in the article, and NOT commercial carriers with experienced pilots who know, and have the tool
    • by Shag (3737) * on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @09:56PM (#12219502) Homepage
      It just says that the light wouldn't be as intense as in the cases where people have gotten in trouble with their laser pointers.

      That seems a little hard to believe at first, since a green laser pointer's power is only something in the milliwatts, and the AOPA article [aopa.org] mentioned in another reply (this is a fixed URL, incidentally) talks about a 1.5 watt laser. But that's reflected/diffused to create a 100-foot-wide line of light in a circle 10 miles from the laser, so I guess by sending the light off in all directions (not at all like your normal use of a laser) it's possible that it wouldn't be a problem.

      Out here in Hawaii, the summit of Mauna Kea is an "informal" no-fly zone. There aren't any major flight paths that would cross it anyway, and since there are telescopes on it, folks have basically just agreed not to go flying over when we're trying to see things.

      This has become a little more important in recent years, since the folks over at Keck [hawaii.edu] use a laser to ionize stuff in the sodium layer of the atmosphere and create an artificial "guide star" that they can then measure the light from to correct for atmospheric interference. This is part of their adaptive optics, I think. That's a 15-watt laser, which could really ruin a pilot's day.

      And Gemini North [gemini.edu], across the summit from Keck, is about to start playing with a big bright toy too.

      They've got a pool of "plane spotters" who spend half a night standing outside on the summit with a walkie-talkie. If they see any planes that look like they might get in the way, they radio in to turn off the laser before anything gets zapped.

      I'm going to try to do that, one of these days. Goodness knows I'm up there enough as it is.
      • by zardo (829127) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @12:53AM (#12220600)
        Seems to me this is just a public relations stunt. NORAD was initially formed during the cold war as a quick response system to scramble fighter jets in case a russian bogey entered our airspace. They never had the opportunity to truly flex those abilities up until 9/11, during which they had fighter jets up in the air pretty quick, too bad they flew out over the ocean and flew in circles. So now I guess they've found something they're good at, shining LAZERS (!) at small aircraft.

        Seems to me they could shut NORAD down, let the national guard do its job, and the FAA should monitor restricted airspace.

      • "... That seems a little hard to believe at first, since a green laser pointer's power is only something in the milliwatts..."

        However when you do a Google search for "Banach laser green" [google.com], the first Google add is for Wicked Lasers [wickedlasers.com]. For the low, low price of $500, you too can have a 95 mW laser (frequency doubled InGaAs(?) laser, of unknown wavelength). This qualifies as a class IIIB laser, where "These lasers will produce an eye hazard if viewed directly. This includes intrabeam viewing or specular ref

    • This testing was done by the same folks who determined that mercury in vaccines was safe for infants? In fact, one wonders just how one "tests" for such things. Shine it in a rabbit's eye and then give him an eyetest? Having recently gone through a bout of facial neuralgia, I am rather sceptical of any medical type who tells me he can't "see" anything wrong. What these idiots can "see" and what exists are two entirely different matters.
    • Actually - violations of the DC restricted airspace happens quite frequently with commercial aircraft, too.
  • by flawedgeek (833708) <karldnorman@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @09:00PM (#12219064)
    What happens when the guy who's supposed to be monitoring the airspace gets bored?
    • Then he waves a low powered laser around in the sky? Oh noessss! The deadly horror.

      I doubt some trailor trash is going to get hired to do the job anyway, and hell I bet it will be controlled by computers, how could a human do it very good? (No I haven't read TFA) Now, what would happen if the computer got bored? Scary indeed.
    • What happens when the guy who's supposed to be monitoring the airspace gets bored?

      I guess the laser would be under automatic control and would be directed by an antiaircraft tracking and targetting system, so it would be best to take it seriously, since an armed battery might not be far away, especially if the guy manning it was bored before something to shoot at turned up.
    • What happens when the guy who's supposed to be monitoring the airspace gets bored?

      Man, I'm not sure I could wait until I was bored if I had a frickin' laser!
  • Equipped laser test (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Good "test" of how effective lasers were to blind pilots is at Equipped.com [equipped.com].



    (First post!!!)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @09:02PM (#12219082)
    See http://www.aopa.org/whatsnew/newsitems/2005/050408 laser.html
    for more information.
  • by theDunedan (462687) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @09:04PM (#12219093)
    By that I mean, why just flash red-red-green. They could also indicate the best direction to turn to get out of the airspace as quickly as possible:

    Red-red-green means turn right. Red-green means turn left. Red-red means stay straight. Green-green (for a few seconds) means you are now clear of the airspace.

    the Dunedan
    • red - green - red: I mean it! Now turn back before I start using even more colors!
    • red-green-red-green means Christmas.
    • by tyler_larson (558763) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @01:11AM (#12220670) Homepage
      By that I mean, why just flash red-red-green. They could also indicate the best direction to turn to get out of the airspace as quickly as possible: Red-red-green means turn right. Red-green means turn left. Red-red means stay straight. Green-green (for a few seconds) means you are now clear of the airspace.

      Too complicated. If the pilot knew enough to memorize the light patterns, he'd know to avoid the ADIZ area without going through the 3-hour process of getting permission. As it is, the program is destined to be a useless waste of money because red-red-green means no more the average pilot than it does to anyone else. It's not one of the standard light signals that towers use.

      The program's only potential saving grace is the slim possibility that a pilot would (a) notice the lasers, and (b) realize that they're directed at him as part of some offical government operation (a slim chance at best). He may then tune to 121.5 assuming he's in trouble and get instructions there.

      In reality, the program is just another amazing waste of money designed to set the congresspersons at ease about their safety.

      It may also be part of the government's legal defense after they shoot down their first civilian. "Well, we shined our lasers at him and he didn't respond, so we fired a SAM across his spinner as a warning shot..."

    • What makes you think data isn't encoded in the signal? It seems pretty clear to me--the data is "Turn around, idiot, this is restricted airspace."

      Not seeing ANY flash would mean you're clear of it. Why get complicated (not to mention why carry a signal state which, by definition, wouldn't be seen by anyone it would be aimed at, since they would be flying the other direction)?
    • patterns (Score:2, Insightful)

      by x2A (858210)
      they could just spend an extra coupla quid and put a shape cutout (like, of an arrow) over the laser, so it draws an arrow pointing which direction to go! My mate had all sorts of shapes he could project using his laser over a distance, smiley face (could mean "okay you're going the right way now"), a love heart, a cat, an erm... tin of beans...

      -2A
  • Right.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @09:05PM (#12219106)
    If a pilot is lost or confused, blinding him with a bright light is going to help him a lot.
  • by ErikTheRed (162431) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @09:06PM (#12219114) Homepage
    The signal to the pilot will be:

    "Please fly what's left of your plane out of the restric... oh.... never mind."
  • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @09:06PM (#12219117) Journal
    Sharks wanted for air traffic control duties. No previous aviation knowledge required but any laser-wearing experience would be advantageous.
  • Spoofing? (Score:2, Funny)

    by noidentity (188756)
    So, now the terrorists can shine lasers (less-powerful ones) at planes if they want the pilot to take a different route.
    • It's a friggin' warning, not a binding legal contract. If the pilot will blindly follow some colored lights nowhere near a restricted airspace without getting on the radio or checking where he is, he ought to be grounded.
  • pretty soon when an airplane gets close to a restricted zone, it'll slowly navigate away from it. the closer you get to the zone, the more it turns away, so by the time you're about to hit the zone, you're flying alongside it or away from it. and this auto-pilot system will be mandatory to all commercial jets.
    • Except it won't, because commercial jets aren't the problem, and taking ultimate control away from the pilot is a Very Bad Thing(tm). Technology in aircraft is not going to solve the problem of terrorism.

      p
  • ...and I've no idea what they plan to do with these lasers. I'm thinking that maybe they're small laser pointers and they're going to throw them at the planes in the hope that the noise they make will attract the attention of the pilot. Or maybe they'll render the words 'Wrong Way' using vector graphics on a convenient nearby cloud. Or maybe they'll stimulate the brain cells of the pilot and steer the plane by remote control [slashdot.org]. One possibility is shining the beam into the pilot's eyes to get his or her attent
  • Turns out that the government contracted this one to Dr. Evil. Thanks to the not-so-good Doctor, his friend Dr. Alan Parsons, and a squadron of sharks with "laser "cannons mounted on their foreheads, the problem of out-of-bounds planes quickly ended.

    "Minime! Stop humping the DC-10!!!

  • by nxtr (813179) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @09:11PM (#12219176)
    "We hope that you do take caution as you fly out of restricated airspace with your remaining eye"
  • I said across her nose, not up it!!!

    Pvt. Asshole: I'm sorry sir, I'm doing my best
  • This to me sounds like an invisible fence for pilots, which isn't such a bad idea. This to me sounds like a novel way of dealing with malfunctions when other forms of communication are not available. I worry, though, that this kind of technology might be overused though, like let's have lasers advertisements or laser boundaries marking points of interest outside of a plane for passengers. I guess I wonder since visual distractions will only increase, whether this is just a stop gap measure into they can
    • If the FAA mandated GPS units in every aircraft, that would provide a simple fix.

      Unfortunately, mandating a GPS in every aircraft authorised to operate in US airspace is prohibitively expensive and damn near impossible to enforce.

      The lasers seem like a reasonable stopgap measure until something better can be figured out, but the real fix for pilots violating prohibited airspace is not to have so much damn prohibited airspace.

      p
      • Disagree..a GPS receiver is not all that expensive compared to standard avionics in private aircraft. If you're going to spend $30k or more on a plane a couple of hundred bucks for a GPS navigation system is insignificant. I would think that any pilot would want a GPS in their plane as a backup for other nav systems. I'm sure there are companies that sell digital charts that would interface with GPS avionics to let the pilot know if they enter restricted airspace. Besides, if you can't navigate your air
        • by the pickle (261584) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:36PM (#12220233) Homepage
          A GPS receiver that's FAA-certified for installation in an aircraft is a multi-thousand-dollar piece of technology, and there are literally thousands of aircraft out there that have no GPS on-board whatsoever. All these would have to be retrofitted, and a large number of experimental and homebuilt craft would have to be totally redesigned in order for a GPS system to be installed. Remember, not all aircraft even have electrical systems!

          A handheld is fine (and much cheaper), but the FAA says they're not legal for navigation. They're simply an "aid to situational awareness." Furthermore, handhelds don't have a good way to alert the pilot if he/she is about to violate some kind of airspace, as they don't have a connection to the aircraft's audio system, and -- once again -- not all aircraft even HAVE audio systems.

          Finally, desire does not make cash. I want a GPS in any airplane I fly, but that doesn't give the owners the money to put one in.

          p
        • Have you priced up a GPS recently that can be used for primary navigation (i.e. essentially it will need to be IFR certified?)
          Not only do the updates (every 56 days) for the database cost on the order of $500 per year, an IFR-certified GPS once installed is on the order of $10,000.

          Contrary to popular belief, not all pilots are made of money.
        • If you're going to spend $30k or more on a plane a couple of hundred bucks for a GPS navigation system is insignificant. I would think that any pilot would want a GPS in their plane as a backup for other nav systems.

          As others have already pointed out, an aviation-certified GPS unit is much, much more expensive than the casual commercial ones. And secondly, you're failing to consider the broad range of pilots outside your narrow window. For example, glider pilots. Their nav system is a compass, and they
      • by tyler_larson (558763) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @02:26AM (#12221036) Homepage
        The "problem" is more a figment of our legislators' collective fears and feelings of self-importance than anything else.

        After 9-11, congress felt that their own office space was definitely important enough to be a terrorist target (strange, I though the terrorists passed up DC and hit the Pentagon instead...), and since our country could not survive without the current set of elected officials, they MUST protect themselves for humanity's sake.

        So they decided that any aircraft within a 25000-square-mile area around DC (which includes no small number of airports) must file a special type of flight plan, remain in contact with ATC at all times, and must follow a whole laundry list of restrictions. It's called an ADIZ, and it's a royal PITA, can delay your flight for hours, and has ATC overtaxed to such a degree that flight safety has been seriously compromised on a surprisingly huge number of documented cases. This includes more than a few near-collisions at airports that were avoided only because the pilots were paying closer attention than ATC, while the controllers were busy with these extra restrictions. The situation is a string of disasters waiting to happen. Without the pilots' extra vigilance, the death toll for Congress's arrogance would already be in the hundreds.

        In the mean time, there have been a large number of airspace infringements. These are generally caused by things like equipment malfunctions (eg. radio or transponder that goes bad in flight), unintentional flight path deviations (like being blown off course), and sometimes lack of knowledge about how damn huge this protected airspace really is. It's really a unique and unprecidented situation, and some older pilots don't know what to make of it. And on at least one high-profile occasion, the problem was the incompetence of the defense department.

        In the near unanimous opinion of us non-congresspeople, the problem is the airspace itself. We're no safer--and in fact, many people's lives are often at risk because of it, including (and especially) all normal air passengers in and around DC. But rather than dismantling the airspace, they're working to strengthen it. This includes the recent addition of missile installations (whose sole purpose is to shoot down Americans), and now this laser warning system--none of which exists even around actual prohibited airspace.

        What congress needs to learn--and what they'll never admit--is that congressional elected officials are (a) not a serious terrorist target, and (b) completely and absolutely expendable. We may even be better off if we were to wipe them out and start over.

        Ironic subnote: I frequently fly my plane directly over NORAD without violating any airspace at all. In fact, I could fly it right down the tunnel and the only regulation I'd be breaking is the one about "500 feet from any structure, vessel, etc."


        • > What congress needs to learn--and what they'll never admit--is that
          > congressional elected officials are (a) not a serious terrorist target, and
          > (b) completely and absolutely expendable.


          What they need to learn is that they were elected to serve their constituents, not the other way around.

          > We may even be better off if we were to wipe them out and start over.

          Good luck with that.
  • Wouldn't.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by deian (736923)
    it make more sense to actually send a message to the pilots? I don't think that having a red/green laser beamed at them would be very smart(what would prevent a prankster from doing it?) and i don't think that as a pilot having a laster beamed at you is the most comfortable thing - panic?
    and is it just a coincidence that they come up with this idea after they lockup a guy for beaming a laser at a plane?
    • Re:Wouldn't.... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by YrWrstNtmr (564987)
      Yes. The FAA and NORAD, with their decades of aviation experience, never actually thought of just radioing the pilot.

      I'm sure they will thank you for this insight, and implement it immediately. Of course, if the radio is inop, they'll have to come up with some other idea to warn the pilot.

      Maybe just shoot it down.

  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @09:19PM (#12219243)
    We allow laser enforcement of air traffic laws. Pretty soon, this includes the use of laser swords. The governments contract out to the Joint European Defense Institute to do the enforcing. Pretty soon, these laser-sword weilding do-gooders in their cool-looking robes start meddling in everyone's affairs, not just airplanes.
  • In related news ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ssand (702570) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @09:23PM (#12219262)
    The FBI have charged NORAD under anti-terror laws for pointing lasers at aircrafts.
  • by curlyjunglejake (874251) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @09:25PM (#12219288)
    NORAD with big frickin lasers... My favorite part is the study that determined that the laser dose they were using was safe.

    "Ok, now I'm going to shine a big frickin laser directly into your dome, please try to relax. Greeeaaat.. so, are you feeling blind? No? That's truly excellent. Ok, now I'm going to shine a slightly bigger frickin laser directly into your dome..."

  • Two in one! (Score:4, Funny)

    by adolfojp (730818) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @09:26PM (#12219289)
    And if the plane decides not to comply, the laser can be used to guide smart bombs :-D

    Cheers,
    Adolfo
  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @09:31PM (#12219329)
    I first thought it said that they were doing to use Rodan (instead of Norad) to stop out-of-bounds planes. Come to think of it, the Rodan solution might be more effective.
  • 10 bucks says SCO files a patent for the process of warning a user using the red-red-green flash.

    It would be hard to show previous use artwork.....and could be a ready cash cow.
  • Use this (Score:3, Funny)

    by nmb3000 (741169) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @09:35PM (#12219359) Homepage Journal
    They should get one of these gadgets [thinkgeek.com]. I hear they're becoming pretty popular. It's even USB!
  • by Ron Bennett (14590) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @09:45PM (#12219421) Homepage
    I'm surprised no one mentioned it here yet ...

    Many of the laser sightings last year appear to have been part of U.S. government tests of the system...

    And anyone who doubts that, just search news archives of late last year - the U.S. govt publically acknowledged doing tests around the same time/areas of the "mysterious" laser sightings.

    Ron Bennett
  • by ka9dgx (72702) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @09:51PM (#12219468) Homepage Journal
    You could do a ranged ring system, with a 1-2 mile wide warning ring, then another mile of almost blindingly bright visible light. Once you've gone past no mans land, the switch to kill mode would take over. The Hi Power Tracking radar, and the 1kw infared laser start up to attempt to disable the plane. If there is still inbound, then fire up the chemical laser and smite them.

    Of course, the first crispy airplane that didn't know because of fog, etc... might put a dent in the plan.

    --Mike--

    • If they were flying when there was sufficient visual obscuration to the point that a laser weren't visible, they had damn well better be on an IFR flight plan, at which point the responsibility for keeping them out of restricted airspace gets at least partially transferred to air traffic control.

      p
  • Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captin speaking, if you will look out the right side of the plane and the laser eye surgery will begin.

  • I can see them combining this with the LED dance floor posted yesterday for some serious Plane Dancing!

    Come to think of it, one of those dancers did kinda resemble a blimp...

  • by jcuervo (715139) <cuervo.slashdot@zerokarma.homeunix.org> on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:25PM (#12220169) Homepage Journal
    "Hi, my name is Bill, and I'll be your captain today... We'll be having a smooth flight into--"

    *BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEP*

    "--ah, we may be experiencing some turbulence as NORAD has acquired laser-guided missile lock on the aircraft. Please note that the fasten-seatbelt sign is illuminated at this time..."
  • Is it any suprise that blue will be used by the pentagon, while it seems the axis of evil have secured red warning lazers that shoot out from both sides.

    It is also notable that flying over sam jacksona house gets you grounded with a purplish blue... you know, the one says thats "bad motherfucker" on it.
  • Lasers? Hmmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by agraupe (769778) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @12:07AM (#12220386) Journal
    Could they not just use the targeted lights (I don't think they are lasers) that are used, at least in Canada (and probably US) for air traffic control in the event of a comm radio failure? Having looked right at one (from a plane, practicing approaches with comm failure), I can guarantee that it won't make a difference. The problem with any system is, if the pilot is not expecting to see something, it has to be rather large. There is a lot of area to monitor for traffic and whatnot, and even as I'm about to embark upon my first solo flight, I'm still not great at picking up traffic the first time I look.

    There is restricted airspace everywhere, and usually a violation thereof means a serious consequence. My flight school had to modify all its flightplans into Medicine Hat, Alberta (I live in Calgary) because some genius forgot to check his chart for the military restricted zone. My point in this long rambling post is that, if you know there is restricted airspace nearby, try really really hard to stay the fuck away from it. If you don't know you're flying near restricted airspace, then you fucked up during the planning stage.

    • If you don't know you're flying near restricted airspace, then you fucked up during the planning stage.

      How can you know if you are flying in restricted airspace, when the Homeland Security has had the airspace restricted secretly... ie, it's a restricted area, but they won't tell you where it is for fear that terrorists might attack it...

    • I'll just say a big "YES" to that last paragraph, and further advise pilots who might be reading this to, as AOPA says, "talk and squawk" as much as possible. Pick up VFR Flight Following if possible. And for the love of all things holy, take a free online airspace awareness course [aopa.org] from the Air Safety Foundation.

      Fly safe.

      --a CFI
    • Airspace no-go rules (Score:2, Informative)

      by SkiifGeek (702936)

      Further to the above info, there are a number of different types of airspace that you should stay away from.

      In Australia, outside of the normal classes A-G of airspace we have Prohibited, Restricted and Danger areas.

      Basically, Prohibited means stay away, we don't care who you are, go away! I think the last Prohibited area was around Woomera, but was downgraded to a Restricted area.

      Restricted areas can be active 24 hours, or activated at various times. Most military flying bases will have associated res

      • Ah yes... in Canada we have class F airspace, which can either be advisory (like parachuting, training, aerobatics, etc...) or restricted (low airspace above prisons, military areas). We also have an ADIZ around the entire top of the country, in case those Russians attack us!
  • I'd think a voice on the radio saying "turn around or we'll shoot you" would be fine.

    Tracers from a nearby F-16 are probably equally as effective.
  • Um, wouldn't it be easier to fit pilots with electric-shock dog-collars and setup a few thousand miles of invisible fence?
  • Just a few gotchas:

    • The average amount of cloud cover for the month of March is around 43%
    • The chances of a pilot getting lsot and straying is much higher when they can't see landmarks.
    • If it's cloudy the pilot better be "IFR", on instruments. This usually means he has the seat cranked down and eyes flitting between the altimeter, rate of climb, gyro compass, and the attitude indicators-- i.e. eyes in the cockpit.
      • So the whole laser concept works only in clear weather, when it's needed the least, and do
  • The diffused laser beams mentioned in the article would be as safe as a high powered lamp, such as those used by the tower to guide planes in for a landing when their radios have failed.

    Since lasers are VERY monochromatic, and operate on a few specific wavelengths it would be possible to develop protective eyeware that would block the laser beams, but still allow normal vision. These would protect pilots from "terrorist" laser attacks.

    I'm waiting for laser pointer pens to be outlawed because of the 'thre

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