An airline crew reported seeing a person wearing a jetpack at around 6,000ft.
China Airlines flight CI6 from Taipei was getting ready to land at Los Angeles International Airport when the “airspace intruder” was spotted at around 1.40pm on 14 October.
The person was seen some seven miles northwest of LAX.
Air traffic control audio released of the incident confirms crew believed the hazard to be a person rather than a drone.
“We just saw flying object at 6,000ft,” the crew member reports.
“Can you say that one more time please?” the air traffic controller responds.
“We just saw a flying object like a flight suit jet pack by us, 6,000,” he answers.
“A flying object? Was it a UAV [the general term for an unmanned aircraft or drone] or was it a jet pack?”
“Like a jet pack. Too shiny. Too fast.”
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it was investigating and had alerted local law enforcement, reports FOX 11 Los Angeles.
It follows a similar incident at the end of August, when an American Airlines pilot reported seeing what appeared to be a person in a jetpack at around 3,000ft while on their approach to LAX.
“We just passed a guy in a jetpack,” the pilot told ATC.
The jetpack was also reported by another pilot on a separate flight.
“Two airline flight crews reported seeing what appeared to be someone in a jetpack as they were on their final approaches to LAX around 6.35pm PDT Sunday,” the FAA said at the time.
#JetPack Audio of pilot of 777 from China to LAX as they spotted a man in a jetpack at 6000 ft. Radar tracking puts the plane around Culver City/Crenshaw area at that time. @FOXLA Audio Courtesy @liveatc pic.twitter.com/OQBBiN9uqa
— Kevin Takumi (@KevinTakumi) October 14, 2020
David Mayman, CEO of the Los Angeles-based company Jetpack Aviation, was sceptical of the August sighting.
“It’s very, very unlikely with the existing technology,” he told Fox News.
“I’m open to being surprised. But I don’t think there’s anyone working on technology that could do a flight from ground level to 3,000ft and then come back down again.”
Though he posited it might have been a drone that was spotted, he also said that 3,000ft was at the limits of how high most drones could fly.