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Pilot injured by laser light minutes from landing

Canadian airline’s pilot now on medical leave

It’s been a while since we wrote about an incident involving a laser light. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist anymore, unfortunately. 


Image Gavin Young / Postmedia


In the US, a WestJet pilot’s eyes were burned by a green laser light just 40kms from Orlando International Airport. 


According to the Canadian Press, US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokeswoman said the plane, which had travelled from Newfoundland, landed safely shortly afterwards and that the pilot was placed on medical leave. 


"Any pilot who reports being struck by a laser is required for safety and health reasons to have an ophthalmology evaluation," spokeswoman Morgan Bell said in an email, calling laser incidents a “serious concern” for flights. 


"Pilots are extremely focused during all phases of flight, but especially during take-off and landing, when most laser incidents occur.


"When any sort of light enters the flight deck, pilots are trained to look away and maintain focus but they must also remain vigilant with respect to their surroundings and monitor the apron prior to landing."


In 2018, the Canadian government unveiled strict new laws against the ownership and use of high-powered lasers around airports and Canada’s three largest cities.


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Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 24 May 2019

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