Some news events about laser pointers

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On the evening of October 17, 2015, it was reported in November that the cockpit window of a passenger plane that was attempting to land at Osaka International (Itami) Airport dropped to an altitude of 300 meters was illuminated by green light as if it were a laser. Already done. In addition, in December, he was arrested on suspicion of disrupting powerful operations by irradiating a U.S. military aircraft flying over the U.S. Futenma Air Station with a laser. It is the first time that a laser was used to irradiate an aircraft in Japan.

In fact, this is not the first time such an incident occurred last year. Since the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism started statistics in 2010, a total of 161 incidents have occurred in six years. However, due to big news reports last year, the number of imitators is likely to increase. Last year, the number of damages was 47, the highest level ever.

How far can the laser pointer beam reach?

Can the light of a laser pointer really reach an airplane flying at an altitude of hundreds of meters? Assume that "arrival" here means that the object is visible to the human eye. It is possible to use a high power laser pointer that exceeds the standard, because even if the target aircraft is moving, it can illuminate the cockpit window about 300 meters away, which I think is very expensive. In fact, when I use a laser pointer with an output that is 50 times the standard output, I can easily illuminate it even at a distance of 300 m. We also confirmed that if it is fixed on the table and adjusted, it can even reach the target 700 m away.

As mentioned above, the laser has the characteristics of high directivity, but even so, the beam will gradually become thicker and diffuse as it progresses. Photo 2 is the light emitted by a standard Green laser pointer at a distance of 100m. You can see that it emits a green light, but the part about 2 mm in diameter after leaving the laser pointer grows to about 10 cm here. The larger the beam, the lower the energy density, so it looks darker than when it hits nearby. The farther the object is, the darker the light. According to my experiment, 300m is the limit I can see, and it is quite difficult to hit the target.

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