Use of High Powered Laser Pointers Against Aircraft

The number of High-Power Laser green strike incidents on aircraft arriving or departing Honiara International Airport at night is increasing. Pilots report a number of laser strikes either on departure or approach to the airport. 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. The latest laser incidents were recorded on 28 October 2018 with sources coming from Point Cruz and Lungga/Burscreek 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. Nevertheless, the dazzling effect on the eye can be a major distraction, particularly in high work-load situations.

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. Prompt reporting of 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 so prosecuted may be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $300,000 SBD or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years. A recent prosecution in the USA saw one offender sentenced to 14 years imprisonment.

The public is encouraged to report incidents of laser beams directed at aircrafts to the Authority/RSIPF on 23666.

Remember: Any of your relatives may be on that aircraft hence your support is needed to help address this threat.