Av Hazard publicizes safety and operational concerns to help prevent accidents but it works only if we hear from you. Use the postage-free Av Hazard card to describe the hazard and return it to Pro Pilot. To obtain an official FAA review send NASA an ASRS form. For immediate action, call the airport, FBO, ATC, FSDO or the 24-hour FAA Safety Hotline at 800-255-1111. Note: Telephone numbers for all US Towers and ARTCCs are published in Ac-U-Kwik and Pilots Express Airport/Heliport/FBO directories. To report safety concerns outside the US, contact ICAO HQ at 514-954-8219 or via fax at 514-954-6077. ICAO has worldwide telephone and fax numbers to expedite Av Hazard reports to civil aviation authorities.

FAA reports spike in laser events on pilots

According to a recent FAA newsletter, the agency reported a spike in laser events with pilots being hit in the eye with hand laser pointers while flying—2836 in the US alone during 2010). According to FAA's FAAST Blast—a biweekly e-mail safety newsletter, pilots need to know how to stay safe when encountering laser attacks to the cockpit.

Report the laser event to FAA as soon as possible. As stated above contact ATCO by radio immediately if possible to trigger a general warning. Follow up with a written report by e-mail to laserreport@faa.gov. Items to report include pilot name and phone number, date, time, aircraft call sign, tail number and type. Also include location, altitude, heading, laser color, direction from the cockpit and distance if you know.

AFSS too busy

While attempting to issue an airborne Pirep to FSS over MDT (Intl, Har­ris­burg PA) I was told to "stand by number 2." Not a problem because the Pirep was benign (Scatter 4000 broken higher, scatter rain showers, freezing level and winds aloft) and there was no emergency. I discovered that number 1 with FSS was near DBQ (Dubuque IA) over 500 miles away. Later, the aircraft behind me was near AXN (Alexandria MN). This one specialist was answering radio calls for 3 rather large states. Again that day was not a particularly hazardous weather day. However, I hope this is not an indication of FSS staffing levels on hazardous weather days when the demand for weather information assistance grows exponentially.
_Comm, Cessna 208 Caravan

That being said, the number of dial-in phone briefings has declined with the advent of online weather sources like DUATS, ADDS and other commercial flight planning services on the Internet. In the air, satellite weather services delivered straight to moving map displays with radar, turbulence, lightning, Airmet, Sigmet and other weather information greatly enhance the pilot's weather situational awareness. This information can be displayed on large installed MFDs or even in a portable handheld device for a reasonable amount of money. But with all the technology, we will never be able to go back to the local Flight Service Station briefer who has worked in a location for many years to bring you home after a long day of hard IFR with the best weather picture available.