A Boeing 747 pilot has reported a possible sighting of a man on a jet pack flying 15 miles from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Wednesday, nearly a year after a string of previous sightings sparked a panic.
The sighting has set off speculation that the man, who became known as ‘jet pack guy’, has returned after a hiatus.
According to the pilot, the man looked similar to Marvel action star Iron Man as he flew through the air at 5,000 ft, drawing similarities to previous sightings.
‘A Boeing 747 pilot reported seeing an object that might have resembled a jet pack 15 miles east of LAX at 5,000ft altitude,’ the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told CBS Los Angeles. ‘Out of an abundance of caution, air traffic controllers alerted other pilots in the vicinity.’
The FAA and the FBI will investigate the latest reported sighting, officials have said.
Pictured: A video from Sling Pilot Academy appeared to capture ‘Jet Pack Guy’ in December. A new sighting reported by a pilot on Wednesday has set off speculation ‘he’ could be back
‘Jet Pack Guy’ has become notorious in the Los Angeles area, with witnesses claiming to have spotted him on previous occasions.
In December, an incredible 30-second clip showed a large human-like figure soaring over the water off the coast, high above a stationed cargo ship.
The clip seemed to corroborate claims from pilots earlier last year that they saw someone flying a jet pack as they approached Los Angeles International Airport at 3,000 ft in August.
Weeks later, another sighting of a man reportedly flying with a jet pack near LAX at around 6,000 ft in the air.
No explanation has been found for the mysterious sighting that shocked pilots and the control tower, but also left some experts skeptical.
David Mayman, CEO of Jetpack Aviation, told CBS at the time that he believed it was more likely to be a large drone despite the certainty of the witnesses.
‘It’s very, very unlikely with the existing technology,’ said Mayman.
‘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 3,000 feet and then come back down again.
‘They’d run out of fuel, they use fuel too quickly,’ Mayman continued. ‘If it’s a real jetpack, its noisy. People would have heard it take off and land.’
A Boeing 747 pilot reported a possible sighting of a man on a jetpack flying 15 miles from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Wednesday. Pictured: LAX, file photos
While Mayman speculated that it could have been a drone, he added that 3,000 feet was also on the high end of what most drones were capable of.
Myman told CBS that his company is under contract with the military to research and develop jetpack technology but their aircraft are not for sale.
He believes that if the pilots did see a jetpack, it was likely ‘whoever flew this probably built it themselves’.
Jetpack Aviation, located in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles, is now on its second research and development contract with the military, according to the Los Angeles Times.
It began its first contract in 2016 but says it did not sell any of the devices, despite working toward a prototype.
In 2019, Jetpack Aviation had expected to have an individual lift devices, or ILD, ready as a prototype for testing by the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOC) by that summer.
The company told Stars & Stripes that is was the ‘first and only company’ to develop jet pack technology for USSOC.
Pictured: A ‘Jet Pack Man,’ but likely not the same one, flies in a 2018 competition in Cannes
‘The possible uses of this technology are still being evaluated. USSOCOM does not discuss specific details or potential applications of such technologies,’ they said.
‘We work together with their operators, with their team members, for exactly what our jet packs would need to be useful on a real mission — endurance, height, speed, payload, that sort of thing.’
The second contract is now looking to develop a Speeder aircraft that looks more like a motorbike.
It can be flown by a person or used like a drone and has been described by the company as the ‘world’s first flying motorcycle’ with the mission ‘to save lives’.
According to their website, the Speeder is jet-powered and can take off and land anywhere.
‘It is hands down the fastest way to get a person or cargo across town especially into or out of a high stakes environment be it military, emergency or disaster,’ they say.
The company believes it could be used to get a paramedic to their patient faster, moves patients to hospitals quicker, medevac wounded personnel from battlefield, or to move equipment or cargo into position where it would be inefficient or too risky to use a helicopter.