Units and Divisions Flight Operations Unit
Bright Light Illumination
The Winnipeg Police Service considers this to be a serious offence and cautions members of the public to refrain from illuminating any aircraft with bright light sources, including laser pointers.
An intense beam of light from a spotlight or laser pointer can create a potential hazard for aircraft pilots and flight crews. The effects of this bright light being focused on the cockpit at night can startle and distract the flight crew, and cause vision problems ranging from a simple annoyance to temporary blindness. Bright light sources subsequently affect the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft, and can lead to catastrophic circumstances.
This is an ever increasing problem for aviators in Canada, with over 180 reported incidents of pilots being struck by an intense light source in 2010.
The Winnipeg Police Service’s Helicopter, AIR1, has been outfitted with the most advanced equipment available. This equipment assists members in locating persons who direct bright light sources at an aircraft and also has the capabilities to capture video evidence of the crime.
Directing a bright light source at an aircraft is an offence under section 7.41(1) of the Aeronautics Act of Canada, and Section 601.20 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations. The Criminal Code of Canada also contains several sections relating to this offence, some of which carry significant penalties, including life in prison.
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