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With several instances of pilots being subjected to laser lights being shone on them, I wonder if the FAA is actually doing something about it.

It's easier said than done to stop people on the ground from shining their laser lights. Maybe a preventive strategy is better. With a host of eyewear available which minimise the risk of laser light, I am curious as to what the FAA and other similar authorities are doing about it.

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I'm not aware of FAA (or any other regulatory body) recommending protective eyewear for lasers. FAA safety Advisory doesn't include them. There are a couple of problems with using protective eyewear for lasers:

  • The eyewear is usually wavelength sensitive; The pilot has to wear the correct eyewear that blocks the incoming laser beam; he/she should know the wavelength of incoming laser.

  • The protective eyewear filters (atleast most) of the incoming light in that wavelength. This may affect the normal sight of the flight crew.

Due to these reasons, the regulatory authorities are more concerned with procedural changes that protective wear. From Boeing's protection against lasers:

... however, airlines should consider the drawbacks that are associated with them. Filtering light reduces the total amount of light entering the eye, which can adversely affect normal viewing, ... . In addition, filtering green light can remove some green flight symbology on flight deck displays and change the appearance of some of the other colors used. As a result, protective glasses should be used with care.

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  • $\begingroup$ Wavelength sensitivity isn't a problem in the way that you suggest. Green laser pointers (almost) all emit at 532nm wavelength, because that's how the physics works out. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Feb 21 '16 at 17:10
  • $\begingroup$ What I've heard the industry is looking into is adding a protective coating for the common wavelengths to the windshield, to protect against these strikes. Dunno how far it's come though $\endgroup$ – slookabill Feb 21 '16 at 17:19
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby You're correct about that; But what if some other color is used - like red(~650nm) or blue (~440 nm). I think green is the most used laser right now (I could be wrong though), but in future high powered lasers of other colors may become available. $\endgroup$ – aeroalias Feb 21 '16 at 17:22

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