A Langley man who pointed a hand held laser at an RCMP helicopter has pleaded guilty to endangering an aircraft, creating an airspace hazard and mischief.
Alex Schiller, 31, apologized in court for shining a green laser pointer at Air 2, disrupting its chase of assault suspects, and becoming a police target himself in April 2011. He will be sentenced on Jan. 25, 2013.
“I would like to remind people to use extreme caution when utilizing high powered laser pointers. They are not toys. I regret the trouble I caused from signaling that aircraft and now realize the danger it could have posed,” Schiller said.
Video taken from Air 2, shows the helicopter crew scouring East Vancouver for a group of assault suspects when suddenly there is a flash.
“What the hell was that? Laser, green laser, right side,” voices say on the recording provided by the RCMP.
Lasers are a dangerous distraction to any aircraft, because they can cause temporarily blindness when pilots are flying at night, or they can distract the pilot and cause a crash.
“People need to understand that there very real dangers to people in the aircraft, and people on the ground, when a light source is directed at pilots and flight crew,” says Cpl. Curtis Brassington, RCMP Tactical Flight Officer who was aboard Air 2 that night. “While we are in the air it is necessary to carefully monitor instruments and make quick and accurate adjustments. If we are blinded by a laser everyone’s safety is compromised.”
Brassington said they had to abandon the call.
“We couldn’t do that while we were getting lasered. We had to go deal with the threat,” he said.