With laser incidents rising around the world, pilots should learn how to recognise and recover from a potential laser strike. As with most safety concerns, the most important thing is not to panic – laser incidents are, in the vast majority of cases, a very controllable situation.
LaserPointerSafety.com, a comprehensive resource for safe laser use, lists a few other tips for pilots who experience a laser strike:
- Block the light if possible – use protective eyewear during critical phases of flight or in areas where laser strikes are known to occur. If protective eyewear isn’t available, the pilots can try to block the light with their hand, a clipboard or a similar object.
- Turn up the cockpit lights – If the pilots’ eyes are adapted to lights, they are less prone to the effects of the laser attack.
- Do not look toward the laser light – sometimes, it’s possible to manoeuvre the aircraft a bit to block the light.
- Do not rub the eyes – the pilot should try to resist the urge to rub their eyes after being exposed to lasers, as it can cause further irritation.
- Inform ATC as soon as possible – especially if the pilots have made the decision to make a go-around or another kind of diversion from the flight path.
- Report the incident – one of the pilots may try to locate the attacker’s location and report the incident to ground control. Information will give police on the ground a better chance of finding the perpetrator.
The FAA, EASA and the likes have dedicated web pages for reporting laser incidents.