This article relates to October 2020. Please refer to the latest news for current updates

There has been a lot in the press recently about the danger of lasers, with aircraft often being the target. However, we would also like to highlight that it’s not just lasers that can be of danger to aircraft, after one of ours was targeted this week by a car, aggressively flashing its headlights.

Rob Mackie, Safety Manager for Devon Air Ambulance, explains “At approximately 7.30pm on Thursday we undertook a training flight from our Exeter airbase to our North Devon airbase at Eaglescott using night vision goggles (NVGs).”

He added “Whilst landing at Eaglescott, the crew saw a vehicle pull up at the airbase car park. As they lifted into the hover position to fly back to Exeter, the crew observed the car reposition itself and it began aggressively flashing its headlights directly at the aircraft.”

Just as if a laser was shone at a pilot wearing NVGs, it causes them to flare, which effectively blinds the person wearing them. The only safe option for the crew was to go off their NVGs and land, which they were thankfully able to do safely.

Having left the aircraft, a crew member headed towards the car but it made off at speed, without any identification being able to be made.

Rob concluded “Laser attacks are still too common a thing with aircraft, with our colleagues at Wiltshire Air Ambulance having been targeted just a few weeks ago. However, this incident is deeply concerning for us as our airbase in North Devon is extremely remote, but also these people were watching and waiting for us, apparently with the intention of causing our crew and aircraft harm.”

DAA would urge anyone who knows anything about this incident to get in contact with the Devon & Cornwall Police quoting Log Number 383 (19/10/20).