A Connecticut company is working on a pair of glasses that could help pilots whose vision becomes impaired by laser strikes.
During a Federal Bureau of Investigation demonstration, officials showed the piercing light of a laser can be enough to temporary blind the pilots and potentially leave behind permanent damage.
"Next thing I know, entire cockpit goes green,” said pilot Jim D'Agenais said. “Incredibly scary losing your night vision when you’re coming in to land."
Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration said it has happened to nearly 3,000 pilots this year alone.
"Of course, the consequences could be severe because it’s just a matter of time before pilots are disoriented and have a hard time landing the airplane,” Dr. Nicholas Perricone, who is the founder of PerriQuest in Meriden, said.
Perricone was asked to look into the problem three years ago. He said he believes he has a solution.
PerriQuest employees created a filter for red, green and blue-colored lasers that covers the entire surface of the eye.
One of the biggest problems was blocking out the lasers while still differentiating colors. It is something very important for pilots when they're looking at maps or looking at the weather trying to figure out where the thunderheads are.
Pilo, of course, have to find the runway and navigational lighting. PerriQuest Lead Scientist Kristin Rauschenbach said it's all about filtering the frequency.
"So basically the laser light has only a very narrow spectrum of light,” Rauschenbach said. “So when we take that very narrow spectrum of green light, and you can see a green led perfectly fine behind these lenses because they pass through the lens."
Perriquest said the glasses run in the $400 range, but they believe that'll be a small price to pay to make laser strikes a thing of the past.
“I think this problem will collapse overnight because nobody wants to throw rocks at windows that don't break,” Perricone said.
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