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Presented to: 2009 International Laser Safety Conference By: Van B. Nakagawara, O.D. Date: March 23-26, 2009 Federal Aviation Administration Federal Aviation.

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Presentation on theme: "Presented to: 2009 International Laser Safety Conference By: Van B. Nakagawara, O.D. Date: March 23-26, 2009 Federal Aviation Administration Federal Aviation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Presented to: 2009 International Laser Safety Conference By: Van B. Nakagawara, O.D. Date: March 23-26, 2009 Federal Aviation Administration Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 Laser Illumination of Pilots in the National Airspace System

2 Federal Aviation Administration 2 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 What is a Laser? L ight A mplification by the S timulated E mission of R adiation L ight A mplification by the S timulated E mission of R adiation

3 Lasers in Vision Care The excimer lasers removes tissue from the corneas internal layers.

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5 Lasers demonstrations are used to attract and entertain the public at special events, theme parks, and casinos.

6 Defense Lasers

7 Other Outdoor Lasers Deep Space Communications Near-earth Object Imaging Astronomy Geographic Research Atmospheric Research Deep Space Communications Near-earth Object Imaging Astronomy Geographic Research Atmospheric Research

8 FAA Order Procedures for Handling Airspace Matters, Part 6. Miscellaneous Procedures, Chapter 29: Outdoor Laser Operations.

9 Federal Aviation Administration 9 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 FAA Laser Policy Prior to 1995, the FAA policy limited laser exposure within the Nominal Ocular Hazard Distance (NOHD) in navigable airspace to less than the Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) that can result in tissue damage.

10 Wavelength Effects <300 nm: Corneal photokeratitis nm: Photochemical UV cataract nm: Photochemical and thermal retinal injury nm: Cataract, retinal burns nm: Corneal burn, IR cataract. >3000 nm: Corneal burn. Wavelength Effects <300 nm: Corneal photokeratitis nm: Photochemical UV cataract nm: Photochemical and thermal retinal injury nm: Cataract, retinal burns nm: Corneal burn, IR cataract. >3000 nm: Corneal burn. NOTE: Optical gain of the eye is about In the retinal hazard region (400 – 1400 nm), irradiance of 1 mW/cm 2 entering the eye is increased to 100 W/cm 2 at the retina. Exceeding the MPE (Maximum Permissible Exposure)

11 Federal Aviation Administration 11 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 < MPE Illumination & Temporary Visual Impairment Glare – Obscuration of an object in a person's field of vision due to a bright light source near the same line-of sight (e.g., oncoming car headlights). Flashblindness – A visual interference effect that persists after the source of illumination has ceased. Afterimage – A reverse contrast shadow image left in the visual field after an exposure to a bright light that may persist for several minutes. Glare – Obscuration of an object in a person's field of vision due to a bright light source near the same line-of sight (e.g., oncoming car headlights). Flashblindness – A visual interference effect that persists after the source of illumination has ceased. Afterimage – A reverse contrast shadow image left in the visual field after an exposure to a bright light that may persist for several minutes.

12 Federal Aviation Administration 12 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 Since 1976, the Food and Drug Administrations (FDAs), Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) has regulated the manufacturers of all laser devices sold in the U.S. under Title 21 CFR Parts 1010 & These devices include lasers used to conduct outdoor laser light shows (demonstrations). FDA Laser Regulation

13 Federal Aviation Administration 13 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 The manufacturer must certify that a laser products performance meets applicable CDRH performance standards and provide labeling to indicate compliance and laser hazard classification. CDRH Regulations

14 Federal Aviation Administration 14 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 In late 1995, the FAA received reports of 52 incidents of aircraft illuminations from laser lights in or near Las Vegas. Of these, 11 incidents resulted in temporary visual impairment of flight crewmembers, and 24 took place during critical phases of flight. FAA Involvement

15 Federal Aviation Administration 15 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 NTSB Report # LAX96IA032: A Southwest Airlines First Officer (FO) was visually incapacitated on departure from Las Vegas. The captain assumed control of the aircraft. The FO experienced eye pain and was temporarily blinded in the right eye. Inability to see lasted for 30 seconds (10/95). NTSB Report # LAX96IA032: A Southwest Airlines First Officer (FO) was visually incapacitated on departure from Las Vegas. The captain assumed control of the aircraft. The FO experienced eye pain and was temporarily blinded in the right eye. Inability to see lasted for 30 seconds (10/95).

16 At the FAAs request, the FDA issued a moratorium ceasing all outdoor laser activities in the Las Vegas area on Dec. 11, Government and laser industry representatives met to develop appropriate guidelines.

17 Federal Aviation Administration 17 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 FAA Order was revised to establish zones of navigable airspace around airports to protect flight crewmembers from temporary visual impairment during critical flight operations. Available online at:

18 FLIGHT ZONES FAA Order FLIGHT ZONES

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20 Potential Visual Effects vary with Laser Power and Distance from Source Potential Visual Effects vary with Laser Power and Distance from Source

21 Federal Aviation Administration 21 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 FAA Responsibilities: FAA Order requires the FAA to conduct an aeronautical study for purposed outdoor laser activities to determine the potential effects upon aircraft operations. FAA issues a letter of determination (Objection or Non-Objection). FAA Order requires the FAA to conduct an aeronautical study for purposed outdoor laser activities to determine the potential effects upon aircraft operations. FAA issues a letter of determination (Objection or Non-Objection).

22 Research was needed to validate the newly established exposure limits were adequate to ensure aviation safety for pilots in a cockpit environment.

23 FAA/USAF Flight Simulator Study FAA/USAF Flight Simulator Study

24 34 Subjects 12 Approach and 4 Departure Maneuvers Frequency Doubled Nd:YAG (532 nm) Laser 4 Levels of Laser Exposure (included one zero level exposure) 34 Subjects 12 Approach and 4 Departure Maneuvers Frequency Doubled Nd:YAG (532 nm) Laser 4 Levels of Laser Exposure (included one zero level exposure) Effects of Laser Illumination on Operational and Visual Performance of Pilots Conducting Terminal Operations

25 FAA 737 Flight Simulator View of final approach to runway at 100 feet AGL FAA 737 Flight Simulator View of final approach to runway at 100 feet AGL Kodak DC240, aperture f/2.8, shutter speed 1/6 s

26 Irradiance level: 0.5 µW/cm 2 Simulates the effect of a 5 mW green laser pointer as seen from 3,000 feet away, or a 300 mW laser from 16,000 feet away

27 Irradiance level: 5 µW/cm 2 Simulates the effect of a 5 mW green laser pointer as seen from 1,000 feet away, or a 300 mW laser from 6,700 feet away

28 Simulates the effect of a 5 mW green laser pointer as seen from 330 feet away, or a 300 mW laser from 2,400 feet away Irradiance level: 50 µW/cm 2

29 Federal Aviation Administration 29 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 Results of the simulator study indicated that the changes made to FAA Order were adequate to protect aviators from visual impairment in the Critical and Laser- Free Zones around airports.

30 Available at: Office of Aerospace Medicine Technical Reports

31 SAE Aerospace Recommended Practice and Aerospace Standard Reports ARP 5535 – Observers for Laser Safety in the Navigable Airspace ARP 5572 – Control Measures for Laser Safety in Navigable Airspace AS 4970 – Human Factors Considerations for Outdoor Laser Operations in the Navigable Airspace ARP 5535 – Observers for Laser Safety in the Navigable Airspace ARP 5572 – Control Measures for Laser Safety in Navigable Airspace AS 4970 – Human Factors Considerations for Outdoor Laser Operations in the Navigable Airspace Guidance for Laser Proponents and Regulatory Personnel Include:

32 American National Standards Institute (ANSI): ANSI Z American National Standard for Safe Use of Lasers ANSI Z American National Standard for Safe Use of Lasers Outdoors International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO): SARP (Standard and Recommended Practice) Manual on Laser Emitters and Flight Safety American National Standards Institute (ANSI): ANSI Z American National Standard for Safe Use of Lasers ANSI Z American National Standard for Safe Use of Lasers Outdoors International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO): SARP (Standard and Recommended Practice) Manual on Laser Emitters and Flight Safety

33 As incidents associated with laser displays declined, the increased availability and popularity of handheld lasers presented an increasing threat to aviators. Between 1 January 2004 and 31 January 2005, there were 90 reports of laser illumination. More importantly, 93% occurred in the last 3 months of the study period. Laser Pointers – A New Dilemma

34 Federal Aviation Administration 34 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 In recent years, more powerful handheld lasers have become affordable. Green lasers are especially popular because they can appear up to 35 times brighter than some red laser pointers with similar output power.

35 Federal Aviation Administration 35 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 Green laser pointers are now responsible for > 86% of aircraft lazing incidents. Their light (532 nm) is near the human eyes peak photopic and scotopic sensitivity.

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37 . Wavelengths: 405, 473, 532, 635, 650 nm Power output: 5 – 400 mW Range: up to 20 miles Wavelengths: 405, 473, 532, 635, 650 nm Power output: 5 – 400 mW Range: up to 20 miles Class 3B handheld lasers are available on the Internet. Within the NOHD, momentary exposure ( 0.25 s) can cause eye damage. Class 3B handheld lasers are available on the Internet. Within the NOHD, momentary exposure ( 0.25 s) can cause eye damage. Laser Pointers on Steroids

38 On January 12, 2005, Secretary of Transportation, Norman Mineta, announced the publication of a new Advisory Circular, entitled Reporting of Laser Illumination of Aircraft (AC No: ). DOT Secretary Announces New Policy

39 New FAA policy (AC 70-02) was established to protect aircrews and passengers, improve reporting and enforcement, and to discourage future laser incidents. New FAA policy (AC 70-02) was established to protect aircrews and passengers, improve reporting and enforcement, and to discourage future laser incidents. Advisory Circular: AC 70-02

40 Federal Aviation Administration 40 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 The reporting process has improved, Communication and coordination between local air traffic authorities and law enforcement have been enhanced, and Arrests of perpetrators have increased. The reporting process has improved, Communication and coordination between local air traffic authorities and law enforcement have been enhanced, and Arrests of perpetrators have increased. Since Issuance of AC 70-02:

41 Federal Aviation Administration 41 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 The Frequency of Laser Incidents by Year Reports of illumination incidents for both the aircraft and, more importantly, the cockpit, have increased dramatically from 2004 through 2007.

42 Federal Aviation Administration 42 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 Dec. 29, A New Jersey man was charged under federal Patriot Act anti- terrorism laws (fines up to $500,000 and/or 25 years in prison) after he allegedly shone a green laser pointer at a commuter aircraft from about 4,100 feet. Charges were later reduced to lying to a federal agent.

43 Federal Aviation Administration 43 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 August 15, The FBI arrested a 47-YO man from Clint (TX) for shining a laser at commercial airplanes. The confiscated device was a Class 3B laser about the size of a flashlight. The FBI believed he may be connected to three similar illumination incidents. The suspect could have faced up to 20 years in prison. August 15, The FBI arrested a 47-YO man from Clint (TX) for shining a laser at commercial airplanes. The confiscated device was a Class 3B laser about the size of a flashlight. The FBI believed he may be connected to three similar illumination incidents. The suspect could have faced up to 20 years in prison.

44 Federal Aviation Administration 44 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 June 4, A 24-YO man was charged with four counts of discharging a laser and causing the pilots to be temporary visual impaired or disoriented. The green beam was directed at two planes landing at Cleveland (OH) Hopkins International Airport: a Life Flight helicopter, and a Cleveland police helicopter. Police found the suspect in the rear passenger seat of a car holding the laser. He was later convicted and sentenced to 3 years in prison. June 4, A 24-YO man was charged with four counts of discharging a laser and causing the pilots to be temporary visual impaired or disoriented. The green beam was directed at two planes landing at Cleveland (OH) Hopkins International Airport: a Life Flight helicopter, and a Cleveland police helicopter. Police found the suspect in the rear passenger seat of a car holding the laser. He was later convicted and sentenced to 3 years in prison.

45 Federal Aviation Administration 45 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 May 8, 2008 – A police helicopter pilot was temporarily blinded by a laser illumination as he flew over Lancashire (UK). The pilot took "evasive action" while in mid-air to avoid crashing to the ground during the incident. A 45-YO man was arrested. It was the third incident in seven days where a helicopter pilot had been dazzled by lasers. The pens used had been bought on eBay and were believed to be more powerful than a normal laser pen. May 8, 2008 – A police helicopter pilot was temporarily blinded by a laser illumination as he flew over Lancashire (UK). The pilot took "evasive action" while in mid-air to avoid crashing to the ground during the incident. A 45-YO man was arrested. It was the third incident in seven days where a helicopter pilot had been dazzled by lasers. The pens used had been bought on eBay and were believed to be more powerful than a normal laser pen.

46 Federal Aviation Administration 46 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 March 5, Transport Canada reports indicate laser incidents are occurring with an alarming frequency. There have been 11 incidents reported in Ontario since last March, but many more may have gone unreported. A total of 33 pilots across Canada have reported being flashed by a laser beam while flying. March 5, Transport Canada reports indicate laser incidents are occurring with an alarming frequency. There have been 11 incidents reported in Ontario since last March, but many more may have gone unreported. A total of 33 pilots across Canada have reported being flashed by a laser beam while flying.

47 Federal Aviation Administration 47 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 August 15, Australia introduced 2-year jail terms and fines of up to $30K for shining lasers on aircraft in flight. The government says incidents are happening 2-3/week in Australia. Authorities have reports of 170 lasing incidents since January The government announced it would ban imports of high-intensity laser pointers (effective July 1, 2008). August 15, Australia introduced 2-year jail terms and fines of up to $30K for shining lasers on aircraft in flight. The government says incidents are happening 2-3/week in Australia. Authorities have reports of 170 lasing incidents since January The government announced it would ban imports of high-intensity laser pointers (effective July 1, 2008).

48 Federal Aviation Administration 48 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 March 30, Six aircraft flying into Sydney (Australia) Airport were hit by blinding green lights in what safety officials say is the city's worst laser attack. It was the first recorded "cluster attack" in which three or four people used lasers to make a coordinated attack on aircraft coming into the airport over heavily populated suburbs. Air traffic control closed the approach flight path and diverted incoming aircraft to a different runway, forcing delays in some flights. The laser attacks were from 10:15 to 10:30 pm. March 30, Six aircraft flying into Sydney (Australia) Airport were hit by blinding green lights in what safety officials say is the city's worst laser attack. It was the first recorded "cluster attack" in which three or four people used lasers to make a coordinated attack on aircraft coming into the airport over heavily populated suburbs. Air traffic control closed the approach flight path and diverted incoming aircraft to a different runway, forcing delays in some flights. The laser attacks were from 10:15 to 10:30 pm.

49 Federal Aviation Administration 49 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 April A new law proposed by the Premier of New South Wales declares possession of the handheld lasers a serious crime, punishable by up to 14 years in prison, depending on the devices power. Weaker lasers could carry a $5,000 fine or 2 years in jail, and there would be exemptions only for teachers, construction crews, and certain scientists. April A new law proposed by the Premier of New South Wales declares possession of the handheld lasers a serious crime, punishable by up to 14 years in prison, depending on the devices power. Weaker lasers could carry a $5,000 fine or 2 years in jail, and there would be exemptions only for teachers, construction crews, and certain scientists.

50 Aircraft Cockpit Illumination by Altitude Note: 16.5% of illuminations of the aircraft cockpit are below 2000 feet AGL. Almost 69% of illuminations are in the CFZ.

51 The incident rate was highest in the AWP (0.86/100K flight operations) for the period. Laser Incident Rate by Region and Year

52 Traffic Volume by Region By region, the percentage of traffic volume is disproportionate to the rate of illuminations. Note: The Western Pacific regions incident rate was 3.6 times higher than that of the Southern region (0.86 and 0.24/100K flight operations, respectively) although both had similar traffic volumes (22 and 21%, respectively). By region, the percentage of traffic volume is disproportionate to the rate of illuminations. Note: The Western Pacific regions incident rate was 3.6 times higher than that of the Southern region (0.86 and 0.24/100K flight operations, respectively) although both had similar traffic volumes (22 and 21%, respectively). The percentage of traffic volume for a particular region is the number of flight operations in that region divided by the total number for the NAS.

53 Incident clusters specific to a particular airport can distort the incident rate (per 100K flight operations) for an entire region. Clusters occur at random over periods of a few days or months. Airports with 10 or More Laser Incidents

54 Of 746 cockpit illuminations where altitude was provided, 8.6% described one or more adverse effects ( ). These include visual effects (8.2%), pain and/or possible injury (1.6%), and operational problems (3.2%) TOTAL K CRITICAL LASER FREE AFTER-IMAGE FLASH- BLINDNESS GLARE COCKPIT ILLUMINATIONS OPERATIONAL PROBLEM PAIN/ INJURY VISUAL EFFECTS ZONE Visual and Physiological Effects and Operational Problems by Altitude

55 Federal Aviation Administration 55 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 Percentage of Laser Illuminations by Percentage of Laser Illuminations by Month Type of Flight Laser Illuminations occur most frequently in November, December, and February, and least frequently in May, June, and July. About 66% of all illuminations are of commercial aircraft.

56 Federal Aviation Administration 56 Federal Aviation Administration Laser Illumination of Pilots in the NAS March 23-26, 2009 Percentage of Laser Illuminations by Time of Day Note: Laser Illuminations occur most frequently from 6:30 – 11:30 p.m.

57 The incidence of illumination is significantly higher in the Western Pacific region. The incidence of illumination is significantly higher in the Western Pacific region. Almost 70% of laser incidents occur between 2K and 10K feet AGL Almost 70% of laser incidents occur between 2K and 10K feet AGL Almost 70% of all incidents occur between the hours of 7 to 11 pm (25% between 9 – 10 pm). Almost 70% of all incidents occur between the hours of 7 to 11 pm (25% between 9 – 10 pm). The fewest incidents occur during the months of May, June, and July (16%). The fewest incidents occur during the months of May, June, and July (16%). Percentage of incidents by type of flight: Percentage of incidents by type of flight: 66% Commercial66% Commercial 6% Helicopters (Med Evac./Law Enf.)6% Helicopters (Med Evac./Law Enf.) The incidence of illumination is significantly higher in the Western Pacific region. The incidence of illumination is significantly higher in the Western Pacific region. Almost 70% of laser incidents occur between 2K and 10K feet AGL Almost 70% of laser incidents occur between 2K and 10K feet AGL Almost 70% of all incidents occur between the hours of 7 to 11 pm (25% between 9 – 10 pm). Almost 70% of all incidents occur between the hours of 7 to 11 pm (25% between 9 – 10 pm). The fewest incidents occur during the months of May, June, and July (16%). The fewest incidents occur during the months of May, June, and July (16%). Percentage of incidents by type of flight: Percentage of incidents by type of flight: 66% Commercial66% Commercial 6% Helicopters (Med Evac./Law Enf.)6% Helicopters (Med Evac./Law Enf.) SummarySummary

58 Incidents associated with authorized laser operations are rare, but illumination reports from handheld lasers have increased in recent years. This may be due to increased awareness and a better reporting system (AC 70-2). Incidents associated with authorized laser operations are rare, but illumination reports from handheld lasers have increased in recent years. This may be due to increased awareness and a better reporting system (AC 70-2). Handheld lasers are cheaper and more powerful. Handheld lasers are cheaper and more powerful. Better consumer awareness may be needed concerning misuse and potential penalties (e.g., FDA labeling). Better consumer awareness may be needed concerning misuse and potential penalties (e.g., FDA labeling). Continued monitoring by aviation & law enforcement is warranted. Continued monitoring by aviation & law enforcement is warranted. Incidents associated with authorized laser operations are rare, but illumination reports from handheld lasers have increased in recent years. This may be due to increased awareness and a better reporting system (AC 70-2). Incidents associated with authorized laser operations are rare, but illumination reports from handheld lasers have increased in recent years. This may be due to increased awareness and a better reporting system (AC 70-2). Handheld lasers are cheaper and more powerful. Handheld lasers are cheaper and more powerful. Better consumer awareness may be needed concerning misuse and potential penalties (e.g., FDA labeling). Better consumer awareness may be needed concerning misuse and potential penalties (e.g., FDA labeling). Continued monitoring by aviation & law enforcement is warranted. Continued monitoring by aviation & law enforcement is warranted. ConclusionsConclusions


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