This document applies to safety observers or spotters involved with the use of outdoor laser systems. It may be used in conjunction with SAE Aerospace Standard (AS4970) “Human Factors Considerations for Outdoor Laser Operations in the Navigable Airspace.” Additional control measures may be applicable and are listed in ANSI Z136.6.
Outdoor laser operations require control measures to ensure that laser beams will not interfere with the safe operation of aircraft. It has been found that laser beams that expose pilots can affect the pilot’s vision and thus the safe operation of the aircraft, even if the level is less than what would be needed to cause eye injury. One control measure for preventing exposure of pilots to potentially hazardous optical radiation has been found to be a safety observer. A safety observer is a person who watches for potential interaction between the crew of an aircraft and a propagating laser beam and has the authority and means to terminate the laser beam before that interaction takes place.