Why are jetpacks being seen in the sky near Los Angeles airport? Here are details from 2nd sighting on October 14
An unidentified person was seen flying in a jetpack near the Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday, October 14. The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed to CNN that the person was spotted by a flight crew at around 1.45 pm on Wednesday. The CNN report quotes the FAA statement as saying, “A China Airlines crew reported seeing what appeared to be someone in a jet pack at an approximate altitude of 6,000 feet, about seven miles northwest of Los Angeles International Airport.” The FAA informed that it alerted local law enforcement agencies and are investigating the report.
This isn’t the first time an incident of this sort has happened. In September, a similar sighting of a man in a jetpack near LAX was reported to the FAA. According to CNN, on September 1, an American Airlines flight was the first to report a “guy in a jetpack” at the plane's altitude of 3,000 feet above Los Angeles International Airport. As stated by the aircraft's crew, the man was approximately 30 yards away from the aircraft. And about 10 minutes after that, another plane had spotted the man.
FBI Los Angeles Field Office spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said on October 14, “The FBI is in contact with the FAA and is investigating multiple reports of what, according to witnesses, appeared to be an individual in a jetpack near LAX, including one today reported by a China Airlines crew.”
CNN contacted LAX for comment. But there are no additional details till now.
The audio between air traffic control and American and JetBlue flight crews from the September 1 incident was accessed by CNN. According to the communications, air traffic control warned a JetBlue flight to “use caution... person on a jetpack reported 300 yards south.” After the plane agreed to the instruction, the controller concluded by saying: “Only in LA.”
In September the FBI Los Angeles had tweeted, “The FBI continues to investgate reports of a #jetpack near #LAX on 8/30. Anyone with info about activity on or above the ground at the location depicted here should call the FBI. The FBI takes seriously events that threaten US airspace & investigates alleged violations #SafeSkies.” As reported by NBC News, the tweet also featured map indicating where investigators believe the jetpack was seen. The flight path was between two cities in southeastern Los Angeles County — Lynwood and Huntington Park.
The FBI continues to investgate reports of a #jetpack near #LAX on 8/30. Anyone with info about activity on or above the ground at the location depicted here should call the FBI. The FBI takes seriously events that threaten US airspace & investigates alleged violations #SafeSkies pic.twitter.com/dLZcZeRDuc— FBI Los Angeles (@FBILosAngeles) September 4, 2020
As noted by The New York Times, the sightings at such high altitudes are surprising because most jetpacks are not equipped to fly for more than a few minutes or to go very high. The report also states that flying in busy airspace like that around a major city’s airport also comes with the risk of an accident with a jetliner or of being drawn into a plane’s engine.
NYT cites the example of, from earlier this year, a pilot from Jetman Dubai -- a team of pilots trying to push the boundaries of autonomous human flight -- flew almost 6,000 feet up by using a jetpack in a flight that was for about three minutes. The landing was aided by a parachute.
JetPack Aviation, based in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, as stated by NBC News, on their website features, speeds topping 120 mph and a maximum altitude of 15,000 feet for a system powered by six jet engines. The price of the 115-pound pack, which can stay in the air for 10 minutes, is available upon request, as given.