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Search and Rescue - Lasers and Signaling Devices

Discussion in 'Training, Practices and Equipment' started by mtngoat2674, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. JXT71

    JXT71 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: California
    If anyone was lost at sea, floating, they should absolutely use something that gives a "flash of light" to get attention. The issue we're having is some people are focusing on a laser pointer being the go-to "flash of light." The laser carries the risk of an aircraft pilot catching it in the eye, or having their vision washed out, which will result in them calling the flight plan due to temporary incapacitation which would endanger them, the crew, and their craft. That issue is pretty much unique to laser pointers and spotlights.
    A "flash of light" from a signal mirror, strobe, or even dive light is much preferred over lasers - not only is it easier on the eyes (Yes, I would rather get a mirror shine than a laser), but they diffuse light which makes them more visible when viewed through NVG/IR systems (what are you more likely to see from down the street: a long string of thread or a traffic cone?).
    SapphireMind, Hoag and chillyinCanada like this.
  2. fsardone

    fsardone Solo Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Rome, Italy
    I was just describing the optical signaling stuff.
    Upon separation of the seat the aircraft squawks 7700 which is immediatly visible on all radars. Then the ELT is activated, and then the PRC radio is activated with seat pilot separation. If all of this stuff activates automatically depends if in peace/time and on friendly side of the FLOT or otherwise.

    In the second case all is manually activated except the emergency sqawking which will not happend (transponder mode C is off for EMCON).

    Info on the PRC here
  3. fsardone

    fsardone Solo Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Rome, Italy
    When in a survival situation you use anything and everything you see fit to get out of the situation. Cannibalism, under the right conditions, will not be prosecuted .... without even the exemption laser has right now in US legislation.

    What I am saying is: if you equip yourself for survival keep in mind that laser during the day is pretty much ineffective and at night has the potential of sending away a SAR chopper after they were flashed.

    So if you are developping your survival plan, other items are far better.
    This plan cannot be one size fits all. It depends:
    Are you high seas or coastal water?
    Are you operating within an area with a lot of naval traffic or a pretty much isolated one?
    Are you in a 1st world country with a lot of resources and good SAR support or otherwise?
    How much are you willing to spend carry and risk?
    Also when I eject I have water, food and a raft which protects me from sunburns and hypotermia. When diving these are not available. So is your thermal protection sufficient? And if you dive your dry suit do you have you p valve connected? Otherwise you will pee inside and lose insulation.

    I have my food reserves on my belly (over 50 here and a bit overweight) I bring a camel back on one of my stages (drink during deco) and my pvalve is always connected. But how many will think along these lines?

    I only wish people would reflect how little it takes to go from all OK tonight we will have a beer to Oh, Sh*t what should I do now! And all it takes is current taking you away from dive site.

    Having a sound plan will increase you survivability. Ask yourself, what is the plan?
    Ryan Neely, Dan and Hoag like this.
  4. Dan

    Dan ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lake Jackson, Texas
    If you were such diver (recreational diving in high seas, some times in coastal water, some times in an area with a lot of naval traffic, some times in isolated one, often times in 3rd world countries), what signalling devices and other survival things are you really going to bring with you? Not hypothetical, just what you have carried in the past.
  5. fsardone

    fsardone Solo Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Rome, Italy
    PLB mirror and 2/3 dive lights 2 dsmb (yellow and orange)
    Hoyden and Dan like this.
  6. SapphireMind

    SapphireMind Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: CA, USA
    Yikes, I don't get back for several days and **** has blown up LOL

    I clarified in subsequent post:
    The reason I initially posted was because people were downplaying the danger to helicopters in general, which is dangerous in general, because many people (as I didn't before I started flying) don't realize how much they endanger a flight crew.

    Of course not. But as a prospective plan, it's possibly not the best, and I try and educate that even though lasers may not "damage the retina" as some here are obsessed with, temporary blindness in a helicopter pilot is life-threatening, even far more than it is for fixed wing pilots.

    Again, not referring to rescue situations. But, fun fact: I don't get flight or hazard pay. I do get paid off a lot if it goes down though! Well, technically, my family does, not me.

    Please, don't troll or joke on this topic. This is life and death for some.

    I'm not commenting on this company specifically, but in general, do you know how many dangerous items are sold all the time? Tons. There are devices to prop baby bottles, though that has conclusively shown to cause death by drowning. There are "amber teething necklaces", which are stupid woo things that can and have choked infants to death. Oh! We can talk about "Black salve", a escharotic that is sold to "cure cancer", that just burns any skin it has contact with and people think that means it is working.

    The fact that a product has an audience and the company is still in business does not mean the item is safe, a good idea or even legal.

    Once again to sum up:
    • you do not have to do permanent damage to the eye with a laser to make it dangerous to the people in a helicopter.
    • If you are in a situation where you need rescued, ffs of course you are going to use whatever you have on hand to try and get attention. That does not mean it is the best or safest option
    • When you are not in a situation where you need rescued, pointing a laser blindly into the sky is dangerous to pilots in the area and illegal.
    Bird strikes, power lines, lasers, loose debris, cranes, antennas, those all pose unique threats to helicopters because of their relative nearness to the ground, their speed, their size, and their relative lack of protection from threats. I mean, a bird can go right through the windscreen!

    When you need rescued, you do whatever you do with whatever you have. But that doesn't mean you should plan to do those things. I may be prepared to eat a person if trapped in a long term survival situation if there is literally no other food, but that doesn't mean if I forget to pack food with me on a day trip that it's a good idea to eat my traveling companion. :wink:
    -JD- and Hoag like this.
  7. martincohn

    martincohn Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: USA
    Doesn't matter how you feel about it, flashing a laser at an aircraft is illegal in the US.
    18 U.S. Code § 39A - Aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft

    And UK
    Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Act 2018

    There are NO exclusions in the above countries for SAR situations documented in the statutes. Correction there are as pointed out by JonnyC And lots of other countries have enacted laws against this practice. Google is your friend.

    A list of laser incidents
    Laser Pointer Safety - News of aviation-related incidents, arrests, etc.

    IMO there are many better alternative out there before you start flashing lasers at aircraft. And you can count on it that there are plenty of juries out there that won't give you a pass cause you were floating out in the ocean when you did it.

    Gotta remember some of the places we like to dive aren't always places we would want to be involved with their legal system.
  8. JohnnyC

    JohnnyC PADI Pro

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: United States
    (c)Exceptions.—This section does not prohibit aiming a beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft, or the flight path of such an aircraft, by—
    aircraft manufacturer, the Federal Aviation Administration, or any other personauthorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct such research and development or flight test operations;
    members or elements of the Department of Defense or Department of Homeland Security acting in an official capacity for the purpose of research, development, operations, testing, or training; or
    by an individual using a laser emergency signaling device to send an emergency distress signal.

    That's right out of the link you posted....in the "Exceptions" to 18 US 39A.

    Doesn't mean it's a good idea, but it's not illegal, and specifically called out as a legal exception.
    soldsoul4foos likes this.
  9. martincohn

    martincohn Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: USA
    Good catch! I missed when I was reading the statute earlier.... I stand corrected.
  10. Diver below 83

    Diver below 83 Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: SoFlo
    I think the main issue here is you keep going back to laser use on aircrafts during general flights etc. we aren’t talking about that. So that is 100% irrelevant. We are talking specifically about. SAR situation where a lost diver is trying to be located.
    Not yourself or anyone else has pointed to a single event where a SAR was called off because the lost individuals used a laser at the rescuing aircraft. I don’t need to see a million articles about people shooting police helicopters or airplanes landing at airports because again those are irrelevant situations to a lost diver at sea.
    On top of the fact it’s already been pointed out factually that laser use on an aircraft is 100% legal for a distressed, Rescue situation I don’t think you have much of an argument anymore that a laser can’t be used. It can, That’s a fact. Is It the best item to get attention with? Probably not and I think that’s been well established in this thread. I also haven’t seen anyone claim a laser is the flat out “best” item to use. More simply that you can use a laser, which you can.
    The main point of this discussion has become weather or not a SAR team is going to turn around and run home if they get hit by a laser in the middle of the ocean while searching for a lost diver. The reality is there is not a single verified Account of a SAR leaving a search grid over water because they got hit by a laser over water. Again I’m not talking about a random person shooting them from shore. I mean they are being shot from the open ocean where a laser should not be. If they are searching the open water and get a light source laser or not where one wouldn’t normally be they absolutely would go and investigate the source.
    soldsoul4foos likes this.

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