"Mystery Jetpack Man" Spotted By Pilots Over LAX

Do you spend your Sundays squeezing the final drips of freedom from your weekend? Languishing the workweek to come.

Or do you find a high traffic airspace to run a test of your backyard jetpack contraption? Apparently, that's exactly what this mystery bloke has done much to the collective confusion of a bunch of pilots. In this instance, it's LAX, where even drove flying is strictly forbidden.

Three pilots saw the guy and we can't fault their response when performing the obligatory radio-in to Air Traffic control. 

"Tower, American 1997, we just passed a guy in a jetpack, maybe 300 yards [274 metres in Australian] or so about our altitude,"

"Our altitude' in this case is over 900m straight up, where the oxygen starts to get a bit thin and warmth is not readily available. 

I mean seriously imagine flying and you just spot a guy.
Just a guy flying.

Air Traffic replied (and we can't blame them):

"Don't see that every day!"

I know right?!

And then the pilot replies:

"Only in L.A.!"

We can excuse the unprofessional radio chatter this time and we think Air Traffic Control is our spirit animal.

After radioing in the strange occurrence, a second flight pilot confirmed the presence of the mystery rocketeer before a third pilot on a Jet Blue flight reported a sighting at the same altitude. 

Why is this shocking?

For one, jetpack technology has come a long way.
Some estimates put the max altitude of a jetpack at just over 3657.6m (12000 feet).

Sure, we can "manoeuvre" around some 20-30 feet off the ground with readily available technology. But to be at a low-flight level like 910 or so metres is ballsy and a little death-defying. 

Here's one of the more advanced versions of a jetpack with a skilled operator. Even here, notice how focussed controlling the device is. Now do it with the gusts and conditions of being in higher altitude - don't really though. 

 

 

The Rock might even have trouble fighting the windy conditions at altitude with his mighty pecs.

The jetpack used would have to be something more stable, like New Zealand's Martin Aircraft Company jetpack, although the pilots specifically mentioned he looked like a guy with a jet pack. These more advanced and larger models look more like a drone ship or glider and aren't worn like a conventional jetpack. 

 

 

So, again, what the hell was it?

Here's a recent news report on the situation with actual recordings of the pilots and Air Traffic Control.

 

 

How come this is a big deal?

Well, drones can penetrate a plane's exterior and compromise the entire craft, let alone a full-grown human man. Plus, what if he (gross image warning) gets sucked into the engine?

Because of these glaring dangers to the public, the man is being pursued by the LAPD and the FBI. Not just for his endangerment, but to find out how the heck he actually did it. 

 The FBI's report read:

“The FBI is aware of the reports by pilots on Sunday and is working to determine what occurred,”

Who or what do you think it was?
Let us know in comments and share with a friend to keep the mystery going.

#Space_Aus