Even if you are an experienced private pilot, flying at night can be an extremely delicate task: your cockpit fades into the abyss, while you faithfully rely on your dimly lit panel to avoid a forced landing. With that being said, imagine the amount of fear and disorientation you would suffer from by experiencing a blinding event like this:
Even though this criminal practice has yet to result in an aircraft accident, more than 35 pilots have had to change course and seek medical attention, as of December 2013.
To make matters worse, although the potentially catastrophic event of “lasing” can unequivocally yield offenders 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine, a total of 5,352 reported laser strikes against aircraft were reported in 2015 alone.
The question is: what do you do if this common violation happens to you?
Unsurprisingly, the safety of you and your passengers are of the utmost priority; encountering a blinding laser strike has the potential to lead to fatal results.
According to Bombardiers’ safety stare down knowledge center, the following actions are recommended:
•Do not glance directly into the light beam. Block your eyes with your hand or available object.
•Warn your cockpit passengers by declaring “laser strike” so they can evade exposure to the beam.
•Refrain from rubbing your eyes.
•Notify the FAA of the lasing attack when oriented.
•When the coast is clear, examine both of eyes individually for dark or disturbed areas of vision. If any of your cockpit passengers are incapacitated, immediately declare an emergency.
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