Slow News Day

(Originally posted on myspace on 14 Mar 2007)

I direct you to http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200703/s1871034.htm.

Sydney planes targeted by laser pointers

The Federal Government has confirmed that laser beams were pointed into the cockpits of passenger planes preparing to land at Sydney Airport earlier this week.

OMGWTFBBQ!!!Pilots have told aviation authorities they were targeted over North Ryde on Monday evening.

“It was terrible, I was trying to focus on the altimeter and a little red dot appeared on it! I’ll need at least 4 months of paid stress leave…”

A spokesman for Federal Transport Minister Mark Vaile says about 20 laser attacks on planes have been reported across the country.

Yep, and given that there are hundreds of flights all over the country on any given day, and the staggering number of crashes / injuries / strained eyes reported as a result, it’s obviously a problem of epidemic proportions, and therefore is wholly worthy of it’s very own news article in the national press.

The Federal Government has expressed concern that terrorists could use the technology to endanger passenger planes.

Ok. Seriously, you guys… Terrorists firing laser pointers??? I mean, how desperate do you have to be to try to instill fear into your population? and how GOD DAMN STUPID do you think your population is if you’re going to try feeding them this UTTER CRAP? I mean, what are the terrorists going to do, set up a network of 25 guys strategically located around the city so that they can shine their laser pointers at the pilot, forcing him to turn the plane, thus coming into the firing range of the next guy with a laser pointer, and using this method you ‘remote control’ the plane into a building??? as if! surely rocket launchers aren’t THAT hard to come by…? Surely it’d be easier to BUILD YOUR OWN WMD than to:
a) plan this
b) set up the 25 guys with their laser pointers, deck chairs, tripods, binoculars, synchronised watches, incredibly detailed plans of the plane’s flight path, etc
c) Train and then coordinate all 25 guys
d) find a target in Australia worth your trouble

Reasons why I wouldn’t be overly concerned:
1) I’d imagine it’s somewhat hard to aim a laser pointer at a plane, much less at the pilots eye, while it’s flying through the air at 400kph at 30,000 feet… Even while it’s landing (going slower, flying lower), I’d still say it’s going to be more difficult than…say…aiming a heatseeker…

2) So, on the off-chance that the terrorist does manage to get his pointer(s) – presumably two – most people have two eyes – into the pilots eyes REAL GOOD, so that the pilot can’t land – the pilots abort their landing, and wait a while before making another attempt. Where’s the issue? It’s standard procedure to overfuel planes in case of emergency – isn’t this exactly the kind of reason why they overfuel the planes? It’s not like they’re instantly gong to drop out of the sky if you don’t land at the scheduled time… if this is practicable in anything less than 99% of flights, I’d be seriously worried about getting on a plane without any of these important terrorist concerns…

3) The obvious reason: THERE IS NO TERRORIST THREAT TO AUSTRALIA.
But Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman Peter Gibson believes it is more likely that thrill seekers are responsible.

This guy has an exciting life, if shining a laser pointer at a plane is ‘Thrill Seeking’… far more thrilling than building dynamite, putting coins on train lines, planning political assasinations, or even going very very fast down the highway. I’m glad this guy is so hooked into today’s youth culture, saves me from having to keep my finger on the pulse…
“It certainly does seem this is just people who are pretty stupid, who think this is the interesting or fun thing to do,” Mr Gibson said.

“The message is it’s not interesting or fun, it’s damned dangerous and they should simply stop.”

“Damned Dangerous”?

“Damned Dangerous”???

“Damned Dangerous”???

If a professional airline pilot, who neccessarily has a rather extensive set of qualifications, not least including a full-on pilots license which means he has hundreds of flight hours and allows him to fly a many-many-ton commercial passenger aircraft, isn’t able to fly his plane with one eye closed, or isn’t able to move his head two centimeters to the left to avoid a laser pointer, and can’t ask his copilot for help, and can’t say “oh there’s a red dot in my eye, I’d better abort the landing and let the flight controller or copilot help me”, I’d be even more worried about flying, even without the nonexistant terrorist threat.

Oh no… I just realised that Now I’ve written this, I’ve at least doubled the amount of mental effort spent on this subject… eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew, I feel so tainted…

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