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Revision launches new laser eye protection glasses to counter strikes on aviators

01 Mar 2022

Co-developed with AFRL, CALI-C lenses protect against laser hazards in a cockpit environment.

In response to the dramatic increase of laser strikes reported by the FAA and the desire to protect the vision of pilots and ensure the safety of their passengers, Revision, a developer of ballistic and laser protective eyewear systems, has launched new laser eye protection solutions “that are optimized for aviator protection and awareness.”

Developed with the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Revision’s CALI-C lens formulation offers eye protection that protects against common handheld laser hazards without compromising a pilot’s ability to see instrumentation.

In February, 2022, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported a large 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.

Higher rate of strikes

“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.”

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.

Specs’ specs

The ideal cockpit laser eye protection solution offers the following: a wide range of protection given the variety of laser hazards; lenses that do not 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 such as headsets and helmets.

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.

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.”

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.

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