It’s a bird … it’s a plane … it’s … a rich person cosplaying as a Jetson?
In a delightfully strange turn of events, the Los Angeles Times reports that on Sunday an American Airlines pilot warned the control tower at Los Angeles International Airport that their plane had just passed someone wearing a jetpack 3,000 miles above ground. And then, per NBC News, a second pilot on a different flight (this one for Southwest Airlines) reported a similar incident on the same day, also above Los Angeles.
Here’s how the conversation went with the AA pilot, according to the flight log:
AA Pilot: “Tower, American 1997. We just passed a guy in a jetpack”
Control tower person: “Only in L.A.”
Someone is probably hard at work optioning this conversation for film and TV as we speak, but in the meantime the FBI is investigating the incident. The Federal Aviation Administration also confirmed the sightings to NBC News on Tuesday, saying, “Two airline flight crews reported seeing what appeared to be someone in a jet pack as they were on their final approaches to LAX … The FAA alerted local law enforcement to the reports and is looking into these reports.”
The fact that everyone is taking this so seriously is reason enough to suspect that jetpacks are real and some of them work quite well. There have been several attempts to nail down a decent prototype over the past several decades but none are widely available or approved by the FAA to fly over densely populated areas, according to the Times. For instance, JetPack Aviation, which claims to be the only company that’s developed a personal flight device that can be worn as a backpack, hasn’t sold any of wares to the public. They do offer flying lessons for $4,950 a session, but students must remain attached to wires the entire time. They’re based about an hour outside L.A.