“Guy in a Jetpack” Casually Wanders on LAX Flight Path at 3,000 Feet

JetPack jetpack flying over the Hudson River in New York 1 photo
Photo: JetPack Aviation
Jetpacks, once thought to be the future of personal mobility, have proved to be somewhat of a flash in the pan. They do exist and are widely available, mostly for tourists in touristy areas, but they’re expensive to own, relatively dangerous to fly and have very short ranges.
But here is a modern-day Iron Man braving death and all common sense by flying on the LAX flight patch on Sunday night. Fox News Los Angeles reports in the video available at the bottom of the page that two pilots from different planes reported seeing “a guy in a jetpack” casually flying around LAX, which forced LAX control tower to issue a warning.

According to the first pilot to report the sighting, the guy was flying to the left side of the American Airlines aircraft, at about 300 yards (274 meters) off and an altitude of 3,000 feet (914 meters). The other pilot, presumably flying a SkyWest plane, confirmed the sighting, saying it was “definitely” a man in a jetpack.

The LAX control tower operator issued a warning to all pilots flying into LAX to be on the lookout for the rogue rocketeer. As of the moment of press, the FBI, the LAPD Airborne Division and the FAA are investigating the incident.

If a guy was able to take a jetpack to this kind of altitude, it’s an impressive feat. It’s still a very stupid thing to do, considering LAX is one of the busiest airports in the world and you simply can’t fly around it like Iron Man without proper authorization and certification, but it’s impressive.

In theory, most jetpacks available are able to go really high, from 12,000 feet (3,657 meters) to some 25,000 (7,620 meters) feet. In practice, not a single one has ever done it for safety considerations. These jetpacks also have incredibly short ranges (some can only fly for several minutes at a time), which would make going this high up and then coming back to land safely an impossibility. That’s why they’re always flown over water and only some feet above the ground.

Vice’s Motherboard notes that JetPack Aviation has headquarters close to LAX and that this reported altitude is within the advertised capabilities of their products. The company is yet to respond to comment regarding the incident.

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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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