I found the forum has rules regarding discussion of lasers and power and a requirement to keep to low power in discussions and reviews - quoting FDA safety guidelines. Yay!
I did search, didn't find and I am a newbie - if this has been covered elsewhere - apologies. I'd like to share a different viewpoint than the FDA's. Because I'm also a pilot. And I'm not a newbie at that!
Laser strikes on aircraft at night are on the up. Let's be charitable and suggest some of this is because the astronomy hobby is on the up and up. More people are looking skywards. Some of it is also jerks trying to pick off aircraft "for fun". But none of those jerks are on here!!
Green laser pointers - and to a lesser extent red. If you inadvertently hit an aircraft cockpit - the cockpit is immediately filled with intense and painful bright light. From the tiniest of lasers. Night vision goes out the window. Eye damage sometimes occurs. We all know how long it takes for your eyes to dark adapt. 5min for some adaption but 20 mins plus for full adaption. If you have blown the night vision of the flight crew - it is going to be sometime before night vision is reacquired. It is a safety of flight issue - as well as the fact you may have actually damaged someone's eyesight.
Let me say again - Laser strikes on planes at night are TRULY debilitating for pilots and a SERIOUS safety of flight issue.
I've had it happen to me. I got very lucky and saw the light coming in along the wing and got my eyes tight shut. It was still intensely painful. And I happened to be hand flying at that moment - not on autopilot - and I had to hold on and hope that I stayed straight and level. After about 30 secs your inner ears cannot detect slow rates of change and you can end up in a terminal dive and not know it. My encounter lasted about 20 seconds and then the laser was gone. I was still upright but could not see much. I could at least get on illuminated cockpit instruments and stay upright till my night vision recovered. We report laser strikes to air traffic control (ATC). On the occasion I was hit - ATC had to create a 10 mile diameter bubble around my position and divert aircraft around it - to hopefully prevent any more strikes.
Those tiny green laser pointers can cause mayhem all the way up to 20,000ft – so you may not be aware you hit a plane.
Laser strikes on aircraft are a Federal offence with big fines and jail time. But let’s skip the “big stick”.
Let’s just understand it is truly dangerous for the pilots and their passengers. Please be EXTREMELY careful when using laser pointers - even very low power ones.
This picture was taken just south of Chicago one night - JUST before my first laser strike (yeah - it's happened more than once to me).