Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Laser shows at private rooftop parties pose airline threat

Kolkata: Outlandish as this may sound, private parties in the city are posing a safety challenge to late evening flights arriving in Kolkata. Use of powerful lasers by party hosts to impress neighbours can enter the cockpit of a flying aircraft and temporarily blind a pilot during the critical landing sequence.

According to sources, pilots coming in to land in Kolkata after 9pm have spotted laser beams pointed skyward from apartment rooftops last weekend. Most of the houses are believed to be located along the EM Bypass, Salt Lake and New Town, areas that are situated in the flight path.
"Police acted on concerns expressed by Airports Authority of India (AAI) last year and asked clubs and party hubs to replace the laser strobes with LED. Most of them have complied this year. But the problem now seems to be private roof-top parties where lasers are being used. They are more difficult to track and act against," said an airport official.
A veteran pilot said laser lights ware a hazard. "It is not an issue during takeoffs. But while landing, when the pilot alternates between the data displayed on the instruments and the approaching airstrip, if a laser beam enters the cockpit, it can cause temporary blindness and incapacitate the pilot. At the least, it can leave him rattled. Chances are the pilot will ask the co-pilot to pull out of the landing sequence. But it is scary," he said.
27/12/17 Times of India