Re: 14 years? @Jumbo crash
"Egyptian helicopters - IIRC the protesters were only illuminating the aircraft body, not targeting the pilot."
Are you claiming that at half a mile distance, you can hold a laser pointer steady enough to only illuminate a specific part of a moving aircraft?!
The light was dancing all over the place!
I think the whole claims of causing a commercial airline crash are dubious at best.
1) Commercial aircraft windows are generally on the top, not the bottom, so you're not going to get a "direct shot".
2) You can't target a pilot with a hand held laser, you might whizz past him a few times.
3) Pressurised windows are rather thick, so the tiny laser point will be defused. Add a bit of dirt/moisture and it's reduced even more
4) Comparing a laser to a camera flash is just laughable... If the laser lit up the entire cabin then you are admitting it's defused enormously. A few milliwatts from a laser defused to that extent would vanish. A flash gun dumps a huge amount of power to produce its illumination for 1/1000th second. You can't have both "blinding" and "huge coverage" from a low power source.
5) You are assuming the pilot is actually doing something important during landing... Got news for you... Most of the time they're not. Pilots are there for the occasions when the autopilot can't handle a situation. 99% of the time the plane will land itself.
I'm sure I'll collect a load of anonymous down votes, which is incredibly brave of you, but please, if you have something to add/correct, let's have a discussion!