A man in a jet pack buzzing commercial planes would be the story of the year, in any other year. In 2020, however, this may be the most normal story yet. A man in a jet pack has been reported in the skies around Los Angeles, for the second time in recent weeks.
Reports First Surfaced in September
Back in September, CNN reports, “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 on September 1. The aircraft’s crew said that the man was approximately 30 yards away from the aircraft. About 10 minutes later, another plane spotted the man.”
The FBI promised to investigate.
Jet Pack Man Returns
On Wednesday, another appearance of the so-called mystery Jet Pack Man has people talking. After Jet Pack Man buzzed a commercial flight at 6,500 feet, the pilot called in the incident.
Per Popular Mechanics, “At 1:45 p.m. PST, the crew of the LAX-bound China Airlines Flight 006, a Boeing 777 coming from Taipei, alerted air traffic controllers of the strange sight. Here’s part of the transcript of the conversation between the China Airlines crew and air traffic control, according to audio obtained by The War Zone:
China Airlines 006: ‘We just saw a bright object at 6,000.’
LAX Tower: ‘006 heavy can you say that one more time please?’
China Airlines 006: ‘We saw a flying object like a [this part is hard to decipher, but it sounded like] flight suit jetpack at 6,000.’
LAX Tower: ‘Was it a UAV or was it a jetpack?’
China Airlines 006: ‘Like a jetpack. Too shiny. It’s too far.’
LAX Tower: ‘006 heavy, roger, thank you… Emirates 215 heavy there was a jetpack reported about 13 miles ahead.'”
Do Jet Packs Exist As We Think of Them?
Surprisingly, the answer to this is basically yes. In March, BuiltIn released an article detailing the current technology of jet packs. The software and coding exists to operate them, where technology is struggling is in the propulsion systems. There is a jet pack testing facility outside of Los Angeles, but in theory, anyone zipping around in jet packs from an approved facility should be staying well away from flight paths.
The good news is, private ownership of jet packs could be closer than we think.
So What’s Happening in LA?
So is Jet Pack Man the result of some enterprising tech guru’s latest invention, an invasion of Jet Pack People, or the imagination of some tired pilots?
Hard to say. But with 2020 being the way it is, the most exciting and confusing option is probably the most likely answer.
Regarding the September 1 incident, CNN shares that the controller who accepted the report concluded, “only in LA.”
As the FBI continues to investigate now both incidents, we have to add: only in 2020!