Last Friday the Police caught someone shining a laser pointer at a police helicopter:
On Friday, August 1, 2014, shortly after midnight, Air2 was in the area of Yonge Street and High Tech Road
assisting uniform officers on the ground, who were conducting a traffic stop on an impaired driver. While assisting
with the traffic stop from the air, the pilot encountered a bright light source strike and took immediate action for the
safety of the crew and aircraft. The strikes continued as the crew engaged in safety measures. The pilot was able
to land the aircraft safely. Both the pilot and the Tactical Flight Officer were taken to hospital for treatment before
Shining a laser (or “bright light source”) at an aircraft is against the law. The cops threw the whole book at the suspect:
Assault Peace Officer x2
Mischief Endangering Life x2
Unlawfully Engage in Behavior that Endangers an Aircraft – Aeronautics Act
Project Bright Light Source into Navigable Airspace – Canadian Aviation Regulation
Serious injuries have occurred by people shining lasers at airplanes. Not only for pilots, but for also people on the ground if the incident causes a crash. However, the main cause for concern is not physical damage to the eye, but a distracted pilot during the most critical phases of flight: take-off and landing.
This is when the majority of strikes occur, when the aircraft is low to the ground. Coincidentally, this is also when a distraction is the worst possible event that can happen to a pilot during this phase of flight. For an idea of what someone will experience, the FAA has produced a video.
If you are ever exposed to a bright light source, follow the directions in AIC 14/09 (For Canadian pilots)