If you’ve ever been stuck on the 405 and fantasized about strapping on a jetpack to skip all that traffic, it appears someone has taken that idea to heart. A pilot landing an American Airlines jet at Los Angeles International Airport reported seeing a man wearing a jetpack flying near the plane Sunday night, Fox 11 reported.
Airport officials released tapes that detail the pilot’s exchange with the Tower.
Pilot: “Tower, American 1997, we just passed a guy in a jetpack.”
Tower: “American 1997, OK, thank you. Were they off to your left or right side?”
Pilot: “Off the left side, maybe 300 yards or so, about our altitude.”
The American Airlines jet was flying at an altitude of 3,000 feet at the time of the reported sighting. And before you excuse the sighting as one pilot’s overactive imagination, If you think the sighting was just one pilot’s overactive imagination, a Skywest pilot also reported seeing the man in a jetpack, telling the tower that they “just saw the guy passing by us in the jetpack.”
The airspace above LAX is among the busiest in the world, so having an unidentified person flying in a jetpack, or a drone, can be incredibly dangerous for the numerous passenger aircraft in the area.
The tower warned other flights on approach and in the area to be on the lookout for the man in a jetpack.
The LAX tower alerted another inbound flight to beware of “a person with a jet pack reported 300 yards south of the L.A. final at about 3,000 feet.”
The JetBlue pilot responded, “We heard and are definitely looking.”
“Only in L.A.” the bewildered air-traffic controller responded.
A spokesperson with the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed the reports of the man flying in a jetpack.
“Two airline flight crews reported seeing what appeared to be someone in a jet pack as they were on their final approach to LAX around 6:35 p.m. Sunday,” said Ian Gregor. “The FAA alerted local law enforcement to the reports and is looking into these reports.”
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller told CNS, “We are aware of these (jet pack) reports and we are looking into them to determine what happened.”
Steve Cowell, a retired pilot and aviation safety expert, told Fox11 he “absolutely” believes the American Airline pilot’s report.
“There’s no question in my mind that American pilot was very definitive about what he saw out his window,” Cowell told the station.
Cowell said the person may have just been pulling off a prank.
“Even the most technologically advanced jet packs, you know, can only fly very briefly, so it’s possible this person may have gone up, and then come down and then driven away,” Cowell told Fox11.
The incident is currently under investigation.
Photo: Getty Images