Generally, for most commercial airline pilots, the view out the window at around 3,000 feet can be pretty monotonous: sky, clouds, some birds, other aircraft, clouds shaped like Bullwinkle (kinda), maybe a sun or moon or two. That’s about it. But things got a lot less boring for pilots approaching LAX yesterday, as multiple pilots reported seeing “a guy in a jetpack” on Sunday night.
Los Angeles local station Fox11 reported the story and included the audio of communication between an American Airlines pilot and the LAX control tower. Here’s the transcript:
PILOT AA1997: Tower, American 1997, we just passed a guy in a jetpack.
TOWER: Okay, thank you. Were they off to your left or right side?
PILOT AA1997: Off the left side, maybe 300 yards or so, about our altitude.
First, gotta hand it to that steely-eyed tower worker who barely batted an eye about a freaking guy in a jetpack cavorting around in the flight path of planes attempting to land at LAX.
Second, the altitude of the American flight was about 3,000 feet, which is pretty damn high for a jetpack, the few working ones that actually exist having quite small ranges.
Another pilot, believed to be with Skywest, reported seeing the rocketeer as well, and the tower issued warnings to other pilots approaching LAX.
Most existing jetpacks are simply not capable of flying that high; Yves “Jetman” Rossy does have a wing-enhanced jetpack setup that could allow for this sort of thing, though it would need to be launched from another aircraft to achieve that sort of altitude, and that flight would have been known to the air traffic controllers, who would never allow a jetpack to be in the commercial flight path of planes coming into LAX.
So, as of now, this is a mystery; someone seems to have a very capable jetpack, and also seems to have not much sense, since flying it in this very busy flight path is a terrible idea and could potentially cause real trouble.
If anyone in the LA area has a neighbor who’s been building a home-made jetpack and is currently giggling a lot, maybe ask some questions. The LAPD is investigating, so you can make the call to rat them out or warn them, depending on how friendly you may be. Your call.