Airline crew report jetpack flier near LA airport

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the FBI said on Tuesday they are investigating reports from airline pilots that someone was flying in a jetpack as they approached Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to land last weekend.

“Two airline flight crew reported seeing what appeared to be someone in a jetpack as they were on their final approaches to LAX around 6.35pm PDT last Sunday,” the FAA said.

The statement did not elaborate.

The Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday that the FBI has launched an investigation. FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller told the Times that agents at the airport were investigating after the pilot reported the incident to the control tower. “The FBI is aware of the reports by pilots on Sunday and is working to determine what occurred,” the agency said in a statement. Fox 11 Los Angeles obtained recordings of communications between the aircraft and the tower.

“Tower, American 1997, we just passed a guy in a jetpack,” a pilot said.

“American 1997, OK, thank you, were they off to your left side or your right side?” the controller asked. “Off the left side at maybe 300 yards or so at our altitude,” the pilot said.

Industry expert and CEO of the Los Angeles-based company Jetpack Aviation David Mayman was dubious that it was a jetpack spotted by the pilots.

“It’s very, very unlikely with the existing technology,” said Mayman. “I’m open to being surprised. But I don’t think there’s anyone working on technology that could do a flight from ground level to 3,000 feet and then come back down again.”

Mayman speculated that it could have been a drone, but he added that 3,000 feet was on the high end of what most drones were capable of.