Laser Danger!
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Laser Danger!

January 4, 2024
  • Green laser lights endanger flight operations at Mysore Airport in Mandakalli.
  • Pilots complain of visibility as laser lights deprive them clear vision during takeoff and landing.
  • Farm houses around Airport hosting DJ parties with strobe lights suspected along with miscreants.
  • Probe on, says City Police Commissioner.

Mysore/Mysuru: Mysore Airport at Mandakalli, on Mysuru-Nanjangud Road, is currently grappling with operational challenges arising from the interference caused by laser lights, posing a severe threat to the safety of both pilots and passengers.

Airport Director J.R. Anoop has officially complained to the Police, addressing the imminent danger posed by these laser lights. The source of laser lights still needs to be discovered, emphasising the urgent need for swift and effective intervention.

Anoop said, “It is imperative to raise public awareness, as this issue directly jeopardises the safety of passengers on-board.”

Throughout December 2023, multiple incidents of laser light interference were reported by airlines. As of January 2, 2024, the Airport recorded a passenger movement of 271, involving the arrival and departure of two flights in each direction. Notably, there were 134 departing passengers during this period.

Sources said that laser lights are typically beamed late in the evening when flights to Chennai arrive and take off from the Mysore Airport in Mandakalli. Based on pilot coordinates, the laser lights are traced back to Marase and Mandakalli villages.

Anoop highlighted the potential dangers of laser beams, which can temporarily blind pilots, rendering them incapacitated until their vision is restored. This poses a significant safety risk, during critical flight phases like landing and takeoff.

Laser light, characterised by collimated, monochromatic and coherent properties, can travel long distances with minimal intensity loss. The coherence of lasers enables them to maintain a focused, high-powered beam over extended distances. High-Power Green lasers (5mW), readily available in the market at affordable prices, are considered more hazardous than lasers of other colours.

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Exposure to a powerful laser light source can lead to flash blindness and afterimages, temporarily depriving pilots of vision, followed by afterimages, similar to dots experienced after a camera flash.

The Civil Aviation Safety Regulatory Authority Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) mandates a 25-km Laser Beam Protected Flight Zone around all Airports to prevent laser-related incidents.

A serious offence

Under the Aircraft Rules 1937, interfering with the safe operation of an aeroplane, including the flight crew, is a serious offence. Deliberate or negligent actions endangering or interfering with aircraft operations using ground or laser lights are strictly prohibited.

The DGCA regulations stipulate that organisers planning light and firework displays must notify the Airport operator at least one month in advance. This allows for coordination, conflict resolution, issuing Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) warnings to the aviation community and implementing any necessary control measures.

“In consideration of public safety, we urge all residents within 25 km of Mysore Airport to refrain from operating or pointing laser beams toward aircraft. It is crucial to prevent potential incidents or accidents involving aircraft. Therefore, organisers planning events near the Airport are requested to provide a minimum one-month advance notification to facilitate the implementation of necessary safety measures,”  the Director said.

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