Darwin based CareFlight helicopter pilot Jeff Konemann and his crew assisted police and RAAF ATC to locate a man who was allegedly pointing a laser beam at aircraft landing at the city’s airport late on March 31.
Numerous pilots reported being targeted by a laser beam including the CareFlight crew whose BK117B2 was hit by a beam as the helicopter approached to land from the south following a training flight.
Konemann, who was angered by the laser shinning, told the Northern Territory News that “Pointing a laser into the cockpit of an aircraft is very dangerous. It can end in disaster. The man allegedly shone the laser at several aircraft, including commercial passenger jets, as they prepared to land at Darwin Airport.”
At the request of air traffic controllers the CareFlight crew flew in the vicinity of where the laser was thought to have being used. “I asked the control tower if they wanted me to get a position on him. I hovered over the area waiting for him to shine the laser at me again – and he obliged.”
The CareFlight BK hovered directly overhead the location to obtain GPS coordinates which was then entered into a computer using Google Earth.
The hovering helicopter directed NT Police to a cabin in the Free Spirit Caravan Park at Pinelands, 11km south of the airport, where they located a man acting suspiciously. A hand-held laser pointer was seized and the alleged offender is facing Federal charges.