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Does anyone really fly around LAX in a jet pack?



It was otherwise a quiet Saturday night at the control tower at Los Angeles International Airport on August 29, when an American Airlines pilot called on an incredible report.

“Tower, American 1997. We just passed a man in a jet pack,” said the pilot.

Minutes later, another pilot approaching LAX on a Jet Blue plane confirmed the observation: “We just saw the boy walk past us on the plane.

Thus began one of the most intriguing aviation mysteries that Los Angeles has faced for years.

And the case took a new turn on Wednesday when a China Airlines pilot approaching LAX announced that he had seen a jet package flying 6,000 feet above the ground.

The FBI is on the case, as is much of the Los Angeles aviation community, which was buzzing about the sightings.

Although jet packs often appear in movies and other popular cultures, they are actually very rare.

There are only a few companies in the world that make jet packs, including a winged device created by former Swiss Air Force pilot Yves Rossi, which requires him to be lifted into the air by helicopter or balloon before he can take off. There is also a type of hoverboard made by the French company Zapata and flying only by its inventor, Franky Zapata.

Locally, Chatsworth-based JetPack Aviation has created five jet packs that are carried as backpacks. But they are not for sale, and CEO David Mayman said none of his competitors̵

7; products are sold to consumers.

It is possible that the observation on Wednesday near LAX was indeed a person flying a jet package. But the altitude at which the person is reported to be flying makes it “very unlikely,” said Mike Hirschberg, executive director of the Vertical Flight Society, a professional nonprofit.

Mayman said his company’s jet packs are technically capable of reaching an altitude of 15,000 feet. But due to fuel constraints, they can actually only reach about 1,000 or 1,500 feet of land safely.

“To fly up to 6,000 feet from the ground, fly long enough to be spotted by China Airlines and then land again, you will run out of fuel,” he said.

Mayman said he knew it wasn’t any of his company’s jet packs because he knew exactly where they were – plus they were deactivated when not in use, so retrieving a packet from storage would not be possible.

Instead, he believes the surveillance may have been an electric drone – perhaps one with a mannequin attached.

Thomas Anthony, director of the USC’s Aviation Safety and Security Program and a former forensic scientist, said that the strongest evidence that LAX’s observations were a man with a jet package – as opposed to a balloon or drone – came from American An Airlines pilot who reported seeing the object 3,000 feet above Kudahi.

The pilot said he saw a “man in a jet pack” 300 yards to the left and flying about the height of the plane.

“It’s very close,” Anthony said.

He said federal investigators would immediately consider the limited number of jet packs that exist in the United States and abroad.

“People in this community will know who bought these packages,” he said. “If someone does that, they’ll have to take off and land somewhere and there will be noise.”

Anthony said he suspected the culprit was using an airport to take off, and said investigators should look for diverted industrial evidence. The FBI has speculated that the jet package flew in part of southeastern Los Angeles County near Kudahi and Vernon, which is dotted with commercial and manufacturing facilities.

The range of jet packages is quite limited, Anthony added, so it is unlikely he has traveled a long distance.

Following the report of the China Airlines pilot on Wednesday, the LAX control tower called an aircraft to check the order.

The plane was flying about seven miles from where the pilot said he saw the jet pack, according to radio reports.

But when the ship arrived, there were no traces of the jet package left.

The jet package can be used as a superlight – meaning it will not be registered and its operator will not need a pilot’s license if it meets the requirements for capacity, weight and fuel speed, according to the FAA. Ultralight aircraft are only allowed to fly during the day and are prohibited from flying over densely populated areas or in controlled space without FAA approval.

Anthony and others say it is imperative that the FBI investigate the surveillance for security reasons.

“This is really a very important compromise for airspace,” he said.

If the rogue pilot flies 6,000 feet without a transponder or radio, Anthony said it would put him in the way of commercial airlines maneuvering over Los Angeles.

The aircraft are designed to withstand the impact of small objects. But if a metal object – especially one with fuel in it, such as a jet pack – is sucked into an aircraft engine, it could cause an explosion.

“Engines are not designed to consume anything large and metallic or something with fuel that will burn or explode,” Hirschberg said. “This could be potentially catastrophic for an aircraft. Your engine could potentially explode and bring down the plane, and potentially hundreds of people could die. “

So what is being reported near LAX is really a jet package?

Some experts say it is possible.

Jetman pilot Vince Refet shot 1,800 meters in Dubai on Friday, February 14.

In February, a pilot in Dubai reached an altitude of 5,900 feet, flying a Jetman jet package powered by four mini-jet engines with carbon fiber wings. The builders of the package say it can reach speeds of almost 250 mph. After a series of dive and rollover maneuvers, the Dubai pilot landed on a parachute.

Others, however, are more skeptical. Hirschberg said the spacecraft seen near LAX may have been a bubble, especially since the China Airlines pilot noted that the flying object was shiny.

Or it could have been a drone, he said. In recent years, some airports have had to suspend flights following observations of unmanned aerial vehicles. In 2018 Gatwick Airport in London was closed for more than a day after repeated observations of drones.

In the United States, entertainment users are not allowed to fly drones over 400 feet, cannot fly over people or moving vehicles, and are prohibited from interfering with manned aircraft.

So far, the FBI has been fully informed about its investigation.

But in the late night of August, when the mystery began, the airline summed up the feelings of many: “Only in Los Angeles.”




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