US pilots report seeing 'guy in a jet pack' at 3,000ft above Los Angeles

Josie Ensor
·2-min read
Pilots reported the man was flying within 900 feet of commercial airliners - VALERY HACHE /AFP
Pilots reported the man was flying within 900 feet of commercial airliners - VALERY HACHE /AFP

The FBI has said it is investigating reports of a man in a jetpack flying within 900ft of commercial planes landing at Los Angeles International Airport over the weekend.

The sightings came as a shock to pilots on Sunday, who reported passing a person wearing a jetpack 3,000 feet above ground.

According to released fight logs, an American Airlines pilot told ground control: “Tower, American 1997. We just passed a guy in a jetpack.” The control tower operator replies, joking: “Only in LA.”

A second pilot on a Southwest flight reported a similar incident on the same day in the same air space.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed the unusual sightings on Tuesday, saying, “Two airline flight crews reported seeing what appeared to be someone in a jet pack as they were on their final approaches to LAX.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it was looking into the incident.

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Jetpacks have long been portrayed in the media as futuristic vehicles, but not much headway has been made in making the technology safe and available for recreational or commercial use.

There have been several attempts at a commercial prototype over the years, but none are widely available or approved by the FAA to fly over densely populated areas.

JetPack Aviation, based in LA, invented what it calls “the world’s only JetPack,” which can reach up to 15,000ft in altitude and can be operated for about 10 minutes.

But the company does not sell the jetpack for recreational use, requiring people to take a three-week course to learn how to operate it and use it in a controlled space.

As for Sunday’s sighting, David Mayman, JetPack Aviation’s founder, said, “Honestly, we don’t know who’s working on a machine that would be foolish enough or reckless enough to do that.”