Popular holiday lights could be flashing lasers at planes

Popular laser devices that blanket homes in festive lights have prompted warnings from police and aviation officials who say pilots can be distracted by the bright flashes of light.

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Transport Canada has long warned about the dangers of aiming a laser at an aircraft, but officials believe the culprit behind an incident at a B.C. airport this past weekend may have been automated.

An Air Canada Jazz pilot who was preparing to land at the Penticton airport on Sunday spotted a green laser flashing at the aircraft.

The pilot landed the aircraft safely and reported the incident to police, who were unable to locate a suspect.

The RCMP now believe a laser light projector may have been behind the incident.

"If it's pointed in the wrong direction or some of those light streams are going past the house, it is possible it could hit a plane," Cpl. Don Wriggleworth told CTV Vancouver.

Pilots in the U.S. have recently reported similar incidents.

Earlier this month the Air Line Pilots Association warned of the festive light displays and their ability to distract, or even temporarily blind, pilots.

Pilots are cautioning that the lights could be a serious hazard, especially when landing a plane in the dark.

"Depending on how (the lights) are directed, it can actually affect the pilot before landing because he's fairly low," Ed Festel of the Penticton Flying Club said.

With a report from CTV Vancouver



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