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Pilots Report Seeing Man in Jetpack Flying Alongside Planes on Approach to LAX

Pilots Report Seeing Man in Jetpack Flying Alongside Planes on Approach to LAX

An American Airlines pilot has reported seeing a man in a jetpack flying alongside planes on final approach to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). A second pilot in another plane confirmed the sighting, and then a jetBlue pilot verified the sighting, with the control tower urging caution. No one has come forward to claim responsibility for the dangerous stunt.

“Tower, American 1997, we just passed a guy in a jetpack,” the pilot of American Airlines flight AA1997 from Philadephia on Sunday evening reported. The jetpack was just 300 yards away from the plane and at about the same altitude.

A Skywest pilot confirms the sighting before the flight crew on jetBlue 23 from New York JFK tells the tower: “We just saw the guy passing us by in the jetpack.”

The control tower urges the jetBlue pilots to be careful: “jetBlue 23, use caution, person in a jetpack reported 300 yards south of the LA final at about 3,000 feet, 10 mile final.”

That, however, was the last sighting of the jetpack and no one knows where it came from or has now gone. “Only in LA,” said another pilot as flights remained on the lookout.

American Airlines has declined to comment about the incident, instead referring enquiries to the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA is said to have reported the matter of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

This may be the first time that a jetpack has been reported coming close to commercial airliners, although the risk of unmanned drones is well documented. In recent years, flight operations at several airports have been shut down after reports of drone sightings – flights have been grounded at London’s Heathrow airport and Dubai International airport for short periods.

In 2018, a series of drone sightings at Gatwick Airport led to an extended shutdown resulting in disruption to over 100,000 passengers. Authorities have since deployed anti-drone technology in an attempt to secure airfields from further disruption.

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