High Powered Laser Pointer can be as distracting to pilots as a camera flash or the high-beam headlights of an oncoming car, the FAA said on its website. They are particularly dangerous at takeoff and landing, but can cause problems from the ground even for flights at high altitudes.
Michalyshen said a suspect aimed a 5 in 1 Laser Pointer at the helicopter several times before he got in a car and drove off toward the Perimeter Highway. Police on the ground arrested a suspect approximately 15 minutes later in the vicinity of Setter Street.
The man has been released on a promise to appear. He faces charges of mischief endangering life and projecting a laser for sale light source into navigable airspace.
This isn't the first time city police have arrested someone for aiming a laser at their helicopter. In 2012, a city man was sentenced to 15 hours community service after he aimed a Red Laser Pointer at the helicopter several times, forcing the pilot to take evasive action.
Sheldon Friesen claimed he was only testing the range of the laser and didn't realize he was doing anything dangerous.
Police spokesperson Const. Jason Michalyshen said the laser filled the cockpit with green light and put the entire crew at risk.
"It quite essentially blinds the crew," he said. "It has a significant negative impact."
Air1 was able to track the suspect as he left in a vehicle and police on the ground stopped and arrested the suspect near Setter Street.
A green laser pointer was found and seized by arresting officers.
As well as a mischief charge for endangering life an 18-year-old man is also charged with projecting a light source into navigable airspace under Canadian Aviation Regulations.The crew told CPD that the laser pointer could possibly damage their equipment. They also complained of headaches and said their eyes were starting to dilate. EMS was called on scene and advised the complainants to take Tylenol for their headache.