An Air France pilot faced a harrowing time on Tuesday night while landing at Mumbai airport, when a laser light was flashed in the aircraft’s direction, which put the safety of the passengers onboard at risk.
A laser is a very strong light that shields the usual indicator lights used by the runway staff while guiding the descent of an aircraft. Hence, a pilot faces trouble and gets distracted while landing.
“Pilots lose concentration due to which the general monitoring of the instrument may be affected. Laser also blinds the pilot momentarily,” explained one of the senior pilots associated with a leading airline.
In this certain Air France case, a complaint was lodged with the Air Traffic Control (ATC) and later the Saki Naka police.
The aircraft (AF 218), from Paris to Mumbai was scheduled to land at 11.26 pm and as it was approaching the runway, someone from the adjacent Saki Naka slum flashed the laser light. The ATC was immediately intimated. “As the beam was seen near Jharimari area while landing, the concerned police officials were contacted,” said an airport official.
‘One case per month’
The police have been receiving at least one related complaint per month, over the past one year. The slum dwellers in the Jari Mari area, who occupy 276 acres of the airport land, cause this menace but nobody has been caught yet. “We have specially set up a chowki there. An armed guard is positioned at the hillock so that the doer is caught in no time. This chowki is however placed keeping in mind the vital installations near the area,” explained a police officer.
October 15, 2015: A pilot operating an Indigo aircraft (6E483) faced this, just when it was 3 miles away from the runway and was descending.
April 23, 2015: Small kids flashed laser lights at the pilots, either individually or in a group, the complaint for which was filed with the DGCA on April 26.