It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a guy in a jet pack.
A couple of pilots got quite a surprise while approaching Los Angeles International Airport over the weekend, when they spotted somebody apparently flying at about 3,000 feet with a jet pack.
The pilot of American Airlines flight 1997 radioed the LAX tower Sunday evening to make the unusual report.
“Tower, American 1997. We just passed a guy in a jet pack,” the pilot said on the radio transmission, which was first obtained by Fox11.
An air-traffic controller — noticeably taken aback by the report — responded, “American 1997, OK, thank you for the update. Left side or right side?”
“Off the left side,” the pilot responded, “at maybe, uh, 300 yards or so, at our altitude.”
At least one other pilot, aboard a Southwest Airlines flight, also spotted the unusual aviator.
“Tower, we just saw the guy pass by us,” the pilot reported.
The LAX tower alerted an inbound JetBlue pilot to beware of “a person with a jet pack reported 300 yards south of the L.A. final at about 3,000 feet.”
The pilot responded, “We heard and are definitely looking.”
The bewildered air-traffic controller responded, “Only in L.A.”
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor confirmed the jet pack reports.
“Two airline flight crews reported seeing what appeared to be someone in a jet pack as they were on their final approach to LAX around 6:35 p.m. Sunday,” Gregor told City News Service. “The FAA alerted local law enforcement to the reports and is looking into these reports.”
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller told CNS, “We are aware of these (jet pack) reports and we are looking into them to determine what happened.”
Steve Cowell, a retired pilot and aviation safety expert, told Fox11 he “absolutely” believes the American Airline pilot’s report.
“There’s no question in my mind that American pilot was very definitive about what he saw out his window,” Cowell told the station.
Cowell said the person may have just been pulling off a prank.
“Even the most technologically advanced jet packs, you know, can only fly very briefly, so it’s possible this person may have gone up, and then come down and then driven away,” Cowell told Fox11.
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