Exposure to Lasers - A Self Assessment Tool for Pilots

Guidance on what to do following a laser attack

Laser attacks, where aircraft are targeted from the ground, represent a major global problem for the aviation industry and the number of incidents has increased rapidly since 2008.  These can often involve passenger jets on the final approach to an airport or helicopters that are hovering. 

The CAA has developed a self-assessment tool for pilots that have been involved in a laser attack which can help determine whether they have sustained an eye injury.   The Aviation Laser Exposure Self Assessment (ALESA) tool is freely available online as a downloadable file that pilots can print off and use straight away or keep in their flight bags. 

The core of the test consists of a 10cm² grid that, when viewed from 30cm away, can be used to detect whether a pilot’s vision has been affected by the laser beam.

  • When printed the grid should measure exactly 10cm x 10cm

The tool also includes guidance on when pilots should seek precautionary help from an eye specialist such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Shining a laser at an aircraft in flight is a criminal offence under UK law and if convicted, offenders can face a maximum penalty of five years in prison.