January 01, 2005

LASER ATTACKS: This post from makes sense to me:

Lasers are not being used to blind pilots. Lasers are being used to measure straight line distance from the ground to an aircraft aircraft at its most vulnerable state - landing. An aircraft on takeoff would be a more difficult target - maximum power and maximum climb. But a landing ship slows down to a speed just short of a stall and follows a prescribed path of flight .

The information regarding an aircraft’s peak vulnerability would be invaluable. Documenting landing approaches and and straight line distances would be highly useful in target acquisition. That information is critical regarding available weapons systems. . . .

The laser activity is more than likely a target acquisition exercise.

And people are taking notes.

There are too many cities and too many locations reporting laser incidents. In my view, they are calculating maximum ranges, with no intent to blind the crew.

I'm no expert on this, but it seems plausible.

UPDATE: Several readers doubt this is right, as approach information is publicly available from the FAA anyway. There's more in the comments to the post above.

Reader Rich Willis, on the other hand, thinks that this is the explanation. But I wonder if you could target a moving plane accurately, and hold on target, with a handheld laser.