December 7, 2017

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.