A Calgary man charged with endangering a flight by shining a laser beam into the cockpit of an Air Canada flight has been fined $1,000.
David Mackow, 29, who pleaded guilty to the federal charge, was sentenced on Monday and ordered to pay the fine within 30 days or face jail time. He also has to forfeit his laser pointer.
In October 2007, Mackow shone the pointer, commonly used in boardroom presentations, from his Beltline apartment at the flight that was landing in Calgary.
'That's not a time where you would want any of the professionals in the front of the airplane to be distracted when they're doing their most critical phases of flight.'—Barry Wiszniowski, Air Canada Pilots Association
The pilot reported the incident and Calgary police dispatched its HAWCS helicopter to investigate. Mackow then pointed the green beam into the helicopter.
"We take it seriously because injuries could be extreme, but luckily in this case the pilot and the tactical flight officer were not injured," said Const. Tat Ng of the Calgary police air service unit.
Barry Wiszniowski, acting technical and safety division chair with the Air Canada Pilots Association, said lasers could temporarily blind pilots during critical takeoffs and landings.
"That's not a time where you would want any of the professionals in the front of the airplane to be distracted when they're doing their most critical phases of flight," he told CBC News.
Transport Canada said it has received at least 33 reports of bright lights shining into cockpits from the ground over the past two years in Canada.