On February 4th, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported a dramatic increase in laser strikes against aircraft in the United States – 9,723 reports in 2021 alone – a 40% increase over 2020. Despite the FAA threatening civil and criminal penalties plus $11,000 fines for people that shine lasers at aircraft, the number of incidents isn’t dropping. In fact, there’s reason to believe the amount of laser strikes is underreported because pilots don’t want to risk getting medically grounded as a safety precaution after reporting an in-flight laser incident.
In response to the increasing threat, and desire to protect the vision of pilots and ensure the safety of their passengers, Revision, the world leader in ballistic and laser protective eyewear systems, announces a new laser eye protection solution optimized for aviator protection and awareness. Developed with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Revision’s CALI-C lens formulation offers eye protection that protects against common handheld laser hazards while performing in a cockpit environment.
“Each year the FAA reports a higher rate of laser strikes against aircraft, putting aviators and passengers at risk,” said Revision CEO Amy Coyne. “Over the past decade, Revision has been partnered with AFRL on laser eye protection solutions for the military. This CALI-C formulation represents a real solution that gives aviators peace of mind while operating in low-altitude operations, keeping them safe and reducing the impact of laser hazards on their mission.”
The CALI (Commercial Aviation Low Intensity) solution was developed by AFRL in collaboration with Revision Military and successfully tested and evaluated by Washington State Patrol pilots. The Personnel Protection Team at AFRL’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate is headed by Dr. Matthew Lange, who says “Simply put, the lenses maximize protection while minimizing the impact to the cockpit.”
The ideal cockpit laser eye protection solution offers the following: a wide range of protection given the variety of laser hazards; lenses that don’t interfere with the cockpit instrument panel yet transmit enough light to be worn at night when most laser incidents occur; and are easy to don and doff featuring frames that integrate with cockpit head borne equipment (headsets, helmets, etc). Therefore, a set of laser protective eyewear designed for a ground-to-ground laser hazard isn’t ideal for the cockpit. The CALI-C solution was developed to maximize aviator protection and situational awareness – solving the challenges of laser eye protection in a cockpit environment.
Revision research scientists look to design formulations that consider the specific end-user environment and needs. Both rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft have the benefit of altitude, which means a reduction in the rate of eye damage, but a heightened threat of distraction, disorientation, and flash blindness as laser light can fill a cockpit with bright light in an instant. The CALI-C formulation takes this into account by offering a wide band of protection without compromising light transmission – a critical point given most aviation laser incidents happen at night.
CALI-C is being offered in two configurations tailored for either fixed-wing or rotary-wing environments: The Aviator SF-2 frame offers a lightweight metal frame with dual lenses – low profile and ideal for a fixed-wing cockpit. The StingerHawk® frame offers a single wrap-around lens for maximum coverage, ballistic protection, and anti-fog performance for rotary-wing cockpits. Both configurations of the CALI-C formulation are restricted for sale to aviation end users only. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Additional background information about the laser hazards for aviation, and the development of the CALI-C product can be found here.