A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use

How to safely simulate a laser strike

Tests conducted in an airplane cockpit in August 2016 indicate that an inexpensive focusable green LED flashlight can acceptably simulate a laser illumination.

In the tests, a green LED flashlight was focused to a beam that produced “moderate glare” (roughly equal to 40 microwatts per square cm of laser light). Pilots being tested reported that the visual effect of the green light was similar to that of directly viewing 40 µW/cm² of actual laser light.

This means that anyone wanting to demonstrate the effect of laser light to pilots or others can simply use a safe, simple, inexpensive green LED flashlight. Below is the type of flashlight used in the tests. Note that it produces only green light and that it can be focused to make the beam wider or narrower (which also adjusts its intensity at a given distance).

Pic 2017-01-03 at 1.50.53 PM

Green is preferred for demonstrations since the vast majority — over 90% — of laser illuminations reported to the U.S. FAA involve green light.