Laser strikes increase: Civil Aviation issues warning

Lasers deliberately pointed into the cockpit of a plane can temporarily blind a pilot or permanently damage their eyes.
Photo: Northglen News

Increasing incidents of high-powered green laser strikes on arriving or departing aircrafts at the Honiara International Airport is a concern.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Solomon Islands, CAASI, reveals in a statement today.

The statement said pilots have reported a number of laser strikes either on departure or approach to the airport.

It said some of the reported incidents took place immediately after take-off, and probably before the pilots had fully transitioned onto instrument flight or when the aircraft is established on approach to the runway.

CAASI said the latest laser incidents were recorded on 28 October 2018 with sources coming from Point Cruz, Lungga and Burnscreek areas.

Direct eye exposure to one of these laser beams can result in momentary ‘flash blindness’ for the pilots at a critical stage of the aircraft approach or departure.

The statement however said the dazzling effect on the eye can be a major distraction, particularly in high work-load situations.

Meanwhile, CAASI said the difficulty with locating the culprit is the pilot’s natural reaction to look away from the light source, making it difficult to pinpoint its actual origin.

A characteristic of the green laser beam, however, is its visibility even on a clear night.

It shows up clearly as a shaft of green light, and this can make it easy for a ground-based observer to track it down without being exposed to its direct glare.

The Civil Aviation Authority said quick reporting any instances of aircraft being targeted by a laser beam will assist police in locating the source.

Offenders can be prosecuted under the Solomon Island Civil Aviation ACT 2008 section 213 – an offender prosecuted may be liable in conviction to a fine not exceeding three-hundred-thousand dollars SBD or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.

 

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