Airline pilots have encountered some odd things on approach to landing, including birds, balloons, lasers, even locusts and UFOs — but a guy, in a jetpack?
According to a report in Travel Pulse by Donald Wood, an American Airlines pilot preparing to land at a Los Angeles airport Sunday night got more than he bargained for when he reportedly saw a person wearing a jetpack flying around the airspace above the city.
According to Fox5 Atlanta, the captain was flying at an altitude of around 3,000 feet as he approached at a distance of 10 miles from Los Angeles International Airport when he reported the incident to the air traffic control tower.
The American Airlines pilot reported he saw a “guy in a jetpack” around 300 yards from the plane as he was preparing for a landing. Moments later, a second pilot reached out to air traffic controllers and reported the same person flying around near LAX’s incoming flight path.
Officials at LAX turned over the reports of the jetpacker to the Federal Aviation Administration, who reportedly shared details with the Los Angeles Police Department.
The air traffic control audio clips, which you can listen to here, went like this:
American Flight 1997: “Tower, American 1997, we just passed a guy in a jetpack.”
Tower: “American 1997, OK, thank you. Were they off to your left or right side?”
American Flight 1997: “Off the left side, maybe 300 yards or so, about our altitude.”
Skywest Flight: “We just saw the guy passing by us in the jetpack.”
Tower: “Jet Blue 23, use caution, a person in a jetpack reported 300 yards south of the LA final at about 3,000 feet, 10 mile final.”
Jet Blue 23: “Jet Blue 23, we heard and we are definitely looking.”
Another unidentified pilot chimed in: “Only in LA.”
According to The Drive, there are a number of new jetpack-like designs that are remarkably capable, but all have very limited range and most have only very low-altitude flight envelopes.
Yves “Jetman” Rossi’s winged jetpack is definitely capable of such a feat, but his flights have always occurred under highly controlled and well-coordinated circumstances and in sanitized airspace.
They are also very high-profile in nature and require a mothership to launch from, such as a helicopter, or at least a very high point to leap from.
It’s been a rough month for American Airlines, as the carrier has been dealing with several issues with passengers not wearing facial coverings, which resulted in a fight and an attack on a flight crew member, Travel Pulse reported.
On a more positive note, American Airlines announced several changes to the travel experience, including eliminating change fees, allowing customers to fly standby for free and adding more flexibility to basic economy.