While aircraft pilots have had to adjust to the rise in commercial drones in recent years, which sometimes appear close to the flight paths of landing or taking off airplanes, it seems watching out for people in jetpacks might be the next adjustment pilots will have to make.
At least two passenger airliner crews reported the strange incident on Sunday evening, noting the man was flying at roughly 3,000 feet up in the air.
“We just passed a guy in a jetpack … off the left side, maybe 300 yards or so, about our altitude,” the pilot of an American Airlines flight told the air traffic controllers at the airport in a recording obtained by Fox 11 Los Angeles.
A few minutes later, the pilot of a Skywest aircraft confirmed the sighting, saying over the radio: "We just saw the guy passing by us in the jetpack."
In response, the tower alerted a JetBlue flight on its way in: "JetBlue 23, use caution, a person in a jetpack reported 300 yards south of the LA final at about 3,000 feet, 10 mile final.”
“We heard and we are definitely looking,” the JetBlue pilot responded. His copilot could be heard musing “only in LA.”
The FBI’s Los Angeles Field Division told NBC on Tuesday it is “aware of reports by airline pilots of a possible sighting of someone flying with a jet pack" and "is working to determine what may have occurred.”
In recent years, a technology that was once firmly in the realm of science fiction has become a reality as commercial and military developers have put out several experimental designs for personal flying devices.
JB11 JetPack Aviation на Goodwood Festival of Speed 2020 pic.twitter.com/SK6MQLnFJ6— Конопляний Джмелик (@dmitrosel007) August 30, 2020
One company, the UK-based Gravity Industries, has anticipated a jetpack racing league will become popular using the devices it tested in 2018, and the British Ministry of Defense has shown an interest in adopting the technology as well.
More recently in Arizona, a mysterious UFO was spotted in March that to many people seemed to be a man in a jetpack. Perhaps the man has made a trip west to California?