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Why Pointing Laser Towards An Airplane Is Dangerous


Aiming laser towards an airplane is very dangerous and it is considered a federal offense in various countries with many having received jail sentences for it.

Photo: laserpointersafety.com

While pointing the laser beam towards the sky it may seem to have ended at a certain distance however it is an illusion and the beam extends much longer even though the light is not scattered back to your eyes.

If a laser is pointed towards an airplane it may seem to have not reached the airplane but it definitely can.

In addition, the beam is much larger at long distances even though the laser projects a small millimeter-sized dot up close.


When the beam hits the windscreen in the cockpit of an aircraft, imperfections in and on the glass spread out the light even further blocking the view.

Furthermore, laser light in the pilot's eye causes glare (inability to see past the light). At higher power levels this can cause temporary flash blindness and after images (similar to when stared at a bright camera flash where after you are left unable to see for a few seconds).


As the beam can’t be held completely steady in the cockpit, pilots may experience one or more of these bright flashes.


Airplanes commonly would be seen at low altitudes during takeoff and landing which are critical flight phases.


A distraction during the critical phase of flight or worse, a pilot blinded from the laser beam can contribute to a disaster.


There have been few reported cases of pointing lasers towards airplanes in the Maldives and this should be avoided at all costs.


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