Pilot Affected By Laser Strike

An Air Canada first officer suffered blurred vision for about 15 minutes after taking a direct hit in the eyes from a green laser aimed at his A319 from the ground while on final for Pearson Airport in Toronto. A Transport Canada report said the FO was looking at his tablet under the side window when the laser hit him. “The first officer experienced a direct hit in the eyes by the laser, and experienced blurred vision and discomfort lasting for 10-15 minutes,” the Toronto Star quoted a preliminary Transport Canada report as saying. Despite a nationwide awareness program and the threat of stiff fines and jail for those caught, the problem is a stubborn one.

On Wednesday, a private aircraft was in cruise over Sturgeon County, near Edmonton, when it was hit with a green laser. The pilot wasn’t hit directly but it prompted a statement from the RCMP about the dangers of laser attacks. “The laser can temporarily blind the pilot, create intense glare that affects the pilot’s vision and distract the pilot, putting all people aboard the aircraft at serious risk.” More than 500 laser incidents involving aircraft have been reported in each of the last three years. Arrests are rare but those who do get caught face up to five years in jail and a $100,000 fine.

Family Continues Search for Missing Pilot

The family of an Alberta pilot who went missing with his girlfriend in the Rockies in late November is trying to extend the search for them using local volunteers in the Revelstoke area. Tammy Neron has told multiple media sources she won’t rest until she finds her brother Dominic, 28, whose D-model Mooney disappeared Nov. 25 on a flight from Penticton to Villeneuve Airport near Edmonton. “I know Dominic. I know how he thinks, I know how intelligent he is,” said Neron. “I know he’s resourceful and always takes control of every situation. “He’s a fighter and for that reason, I’m going to fight as hard as I can for him and I can’t give up.

Neron and his girlfriend Ashley Bourgeault, both from the Edmonton area, left Penticton VFR and Neron’s cell phone pinged a tower near Revelstoke and it’s assumed the plane went down in some of the most rugged terrain in Canada near the resort town. There was survival gear on board but a 10-day official search ended Dec. 4 with no sign of the couple. About 120 hours were logged in the search.

Clarification: COPA Successfully Lobbies TCCA on IFR Testing Requirements:

A miscommunication between COPA and TCCA lead to the publication of misleading information with respect to the IFR recency in the Dec 1st article on IFR. The relevant section of the article is reproduced now with the appropriate clarifications incorporated in bold type.

The recency requirement provides pilots flying in IMC (IFR of course) a means to ensure they are not rusty to the point of being unsafe, it does not invalidate your IFR rating if the 6-6-6 is not satisfied. The 6-6-6 is effective on the 1st day of the 13th month following your instrument rating flight test or your IPC. If your 6-6-6 has expired, you do not meet the recency requirement to fly IFR. In this case, you have two easy options to revive your IFR recency:

  • VMC – You get in your IFR equipped and approved aircraft and you go fly off the 6-6-6 requirement in VMC. You can do this by flying simulated published approaches down to the published minimum. You can do this at a controlled airport when the controller authorizes you, or at an uncontrolled aerodrome if this is more practical for you. The intent of this currency requirement is to ensure that you are current on the procedures, that you still remember how to read and interpret the plates for instance and can fly the approach with accuracy and safely, respecting all limitations and relevant guidance. The regulation does not mandate that a qualified person must be with you. It is however a wise and safe practice to have a knowledgeable and reliable person in the right hand seat to act as a security lookout. You will be flying with your head down in the cockpit, in VMC conditions. You are always responsible for your own traffic avoidance and aircraft separation; or
  • IMC – You get in your IFR equipped and approved aircraft and you go renew your 6-6-6 by flying IFR in IMC, on a flight plan. In this case, you most definitely must have a qualified person in the right hand seat. Since you cannot file IFR, that flight plan will have to be on that person’s IFR ticket. That qualified person can be a Flight Instructor with valid IFR and 6-6-6, a CPL with valid IFR and 6-6-6, an ATPL with valid IFR and 6-6-6, or you can go all the way to a TCCA authorized and qualified examiner.