Airplanes traversing the skies over Vancouver Island have been targeted by people with lasers in recent days.
Four laser strikes have been reported by pilots flying over Vancouver Island since July 26, with three laser strikes reported on the same day – July 28 – according to Transport Canada’s website.
On the night of July 28, a Pacific Flying Club Cessna 152 was flying over Saltair en route to Victoria when the pilot noticed the underside of the plane’s wing was suddenly reflecting a flashing green light.
“The occurrence lasted for approximately 30 seconds, during which the laser emitted a constant green beam that was moved around rapidly while aiming at the aircraft. The movement resembled the way a person would hold a handheld laser while pointing it at an object in the distance,” the report said.
The pilot managed to turn a few degrees left and right in an effort to ensure the light wasn’t coming from conflicting traffic or was from any possible aviation-related pyrotechnic signals. The pilot noticed the green laser bean was coming from a residential area in Saltair, near Chemainus.
“The pilot’s vision was not notably impaired and they tried not to look directly at the light. Immediately after the strike, they reported the occurrence to the CYYJ terminal,” the report added.
Shortly after a report had been made, a helicopter reported a laser strike in the Chemainus area.
A third aircraft, this time another pilot from the Pacific Flying Club, reported being struck by a laser beam in the same area. According to Transport Canada, the pilot reported that the laser beam was coming from an area within one to four nautical miles of Mountain View Drive in Saltair and had experienced a laser strike in the same location on June 26.
The laser strikes in Saltair come after another Pacific Flying Club Cessna 152 pilot reported a laser strike while en route to Nanaimo on July 26. The Cessna was flying northbound at 3,000 feet when the pilot noticed green flashes reflecting off the underside of its wings.
Aiming a laser at an aircraft has been a federal offence in Canada. It is also illegal to possess a hand-held laser pointer over one milliwatt in public places that are within a 10-kilometre radius of any airport and certified heliports.