Aerospace/Aviation/air safety


in light of all the news about lasers being shined into aircraft cockpits nowadays I wonder if the following might be a possibility. As I'm sure you are aware, a simple cube reflector will exactly reflect a laser beam back to its exact point of origin. Do you think it might be possible to mount an array of such reflectors in the cockpit (or other places) in or on an aircraft to discourage this hateful practice. After being blinded by their own beams a few times,maybe these perpetrators will stop doing this dangerous thing. I know some of  these reflectors are relatively cheap and might be installed at low cost.

There are a couple of issues that make laser deterrents hard to be practical.
1) Lasers are very narrow beams - even an amateur beam is only a few inches in diameter at a few miles. So having a reflector mounted on the nose, may not reflect much of the beam.
2) The actual beam danger is determined by the the laser distance and power. Most lasers are not really powerful enough to be dangerous to the pilots eyes (other than reducing night vision for 1-2min).
3) The danger lies in the distraction or inability to see other aircraft. It takes very little distraction to cause a crew to forget to operate the flaps or landing gear - the distraction issue will likely lead to an accident some day.
4) Pilots are taught various methods to ignore or reduce the impact of a laser - but the passengers are reliant on the crew following the procedures. Every airline pilot spends many hours each year refreshing techniques to keep an airplane from stalling; yet every year airline pilots ignore the training and cork-screw several airplanes into the ground.

In my opinion, a better way to solve the problem is to never report incidents. It is the attention in the media that promotes the mischief conduct. However, the government often actively encourages concern to various issues to support funding that is probably not needed.

An example of the government twisting facts is the huge amounts of funds paid to some marginal improvements in radar systems; while refusing to reduce the schedules and long hours of traffic controllers. Good equipment with exhausted humans does not increase safety.


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J. Zumwalt


Aeronautical Engineer, Pilot & Air-frame & Power-plant mechanic (A&P), Current president of EAA (experimental Aircraft Association) chapter 837 (Payette, ID), Past instructor, computers, robotics and aviation, Past Director of Maintenance (two airlines), Past Continental Airlines shift supervisor (Anchorage, Alaska)


FAA certified commercial pilot FAA certified (A&P) Air-frame & Power-plant mechanic Aeronautical Engineer - University of Anchorage (Alaska) High school instructor, computers, robotics and aviation Current president of EAA chapter 837 (Payette, ID) Past Director of Maintenance (two airlines) Past Continental Airlines maintenance shift supervisor (Anchorage, Alaska)

Current president of EAA chapter 837 (Payette, ID)

FAA certified commercial pilot FAA certified (A&P) Airframe & Powerplant mechanic Aeronautical Engineer - University of Anchorage (Alaska) FCC MROP-Marine Radio Operators License FCC GROL-General Radio Operators License FCC RADAR endorsement GEN FAM certificates MD aircraft GEN FAM certificates Boeing aircraft State Instructor License High school instructor, computers, robotics and aviation

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Continental Airlines, University of Anchorage, Pegasus Aircraft Maintenance, Klondike Air, Methow aviation, Bridget Mina infant Foundation, Aviation Wholesale Supply, Bureau of Land Managment

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