Last month, World of Aviation reported on multiple flight crews who reported a unique sight flying alongside their aircraft at around 3,000 feet on approach to Los Angeles International Airport – a man in a jet pack.
On 30 August 2020, pilots onboard American Airlines flight 1997 from Philadelphia to LA were the first to report the unusual sighting to air traffic control – they claimed to have spotted “a guy in a jet pack” travelling just 300 yards away from the Airbus 321, at the same altitude as the narrow-bodied jet.
Moments later, a pilot from a SkyWest flight also reported seeing the mysterious flying man.
“We just saw the guy passing by us in the jet pack,” he said, to which a JetBlue pilot responded: “You don’t hear that every day – only in LA.”
At that time, both the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation stated they were making inquiries into the matter.
So now, over a month later, what do we know?
Not a whole lot.
The FBI took to Twitter to ask civilians for any helpful information that might help authorities locate or identify the jet pack pilot.
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
However, to date, the mysterious jet pack man is still yet to be identified.
In response to the FBI’s call, users have taken to Twitter to share other bizarre possible man-in-jet pack sightings in the area, however most are reported to be several days before the LAX sighting. Perhaps LAX’s jet pack flyer was just warming up.
Saw this in Huntington Park mid August. pic.twitter.com/5Wu4tcHQDR
— 🍓 (@gabyisdope) September 5, 2020
— Jeff LeBarron (@DarkSideSince77) September 2, 2020
Further, World of Aviation also has a number of other reports made by aircrew on that day, of other mysterious or unusual sightings, though they only serve to raise more questions, than provide any answers on the matter.
According to FAA records, a few minutes after the first sighting of the jet pack man, another aircrew in the area reported seeing what they called “party balloons” soaring at roughly 5,600 feet.
This sighting would have been about a mile away, and almost 2,400 feet higher than the sighting of our friend in the jet pack that day.
Further, another odd exchange was reported between an air traffic controller and an offsite FAA employee.
The FAA official asked LAX air traffic control: “Did you call a helicopter in over there to help you out?”, to which ATC answers: “No.”
“I see a helico- there’s something at 600 feet right up there, looks like a helicopter,” the offsite official continues. “Right underneath that Southwest arrival. But that 10 mile final is literally north of me, and I’ve been scouring it. I don’t see anything.”
“I, I don’t know,” the tower replied.
All of these strange reports could very well have to do with the same jet pack sighting, or they could also just be a string of bizarre coincidences. It’s almost impossible to know.
So perhaps those two initial sightings of a man in a jet pack flying 3,000 feet above LAX do in fact have another explanation.
Could both pilots who called in the sighting have mistaken some party balloons, or a helicopter, for a human in a jet pack soaring beside the aircraft?
Or could LAX’s jet pack-man have bamboozled others into believing they have instead spotted significantly less unusual flying items, such as balloons or helicopters?
For now, we don’t really have the answers to these questions, and the FBI has said it is continuing its investigation into the matter.
More to come.