Pilots Report Mysterious Jetpack Near LAX… Again!

Filed Under: Misc.

This situation just keeps getting stranger

China Airlines pilots report “jetpack” at 6,000 feet

Yesterday the pilots of China Airlines flight CI6 from Taipei to Los Angeles reported seeing a jetpack at around 6,000 feet while on approach. The pilots reported this while on a downwind leg to LAX, flying just north of the airport.

As the interaction goes between the pilots and controller:

Pilot: “Dynasty 006, we just saw a flying object at altitude 6,000.”
Controller: “Dynasty 006 Heavy, can you say that one more time, please?”
Pilot: “We just saw the flying object like a flying jetpack at 6,000.”
Controller: “Flying object? Was it a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) or was it a jetpack?”
Pilot: “Like a jetpack, too tiny, too far.”

There was an Emirates aircraft on approach behind China Airlines, so the controller had that flight maintain a higher altitude for a while to avoid the alleged jetpack. The Emirates pilots didn’t spot the jetpack, though.

You can listen to the ATC audio from the incident here:

This isn’t the first jetpack sighting near LAX

Based on the above you may assume the pilots saw something incorrectly. The pilots even acknowledge the jetpack was “far” and “tiny,” and besides, there’s no way a jetpack would be flying at 6,000 feet… right?

Well, this is the second time in recent weeks that this has happened. Several weeks ago some pilots approaching Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) spotted “a guy in a jetpack” at around 3,000 feet. Pilots of two separate planes reported seeing this, and they claimed to be certain that this was a jetpack and not some sort of a drone.

Here’s the ATC audio from that incident:

Suffice to say that the entire story almost sounds inconceivable. There’s someone flying jetpacks several thousand feet in the air near the LAX approach course, yet no one can figure out who it is?

Authorities have promised to investigate, with the FBI even asking for help from the public, but no further information has been made public as of now.

Bottom line

Yesterday a China Airlines crew reported a jetpack at around 6,000 feet on the approach path to LAX. If it were an isolated incident you might assume they just saw wrong, but this is the second time in the past several weeks there has been such a report, and last time pilots of multiple flights even reported seeing this.

Is there really someone flying around LA at an altitude of 3,000 feet to 6,000 feet with a jetpack, yet nobody seems to know who it is?

How bizarre, how bizarre…

  1. @Valentin Disney actually has been testing robots that can hold superhero poses like flying or super jumping while being flung, for Iron Man like stints that are too dangerous for human stuntmen. Maybe the next step for the technology is to mount it onto a drone?

  2. @The Original Donna, military radar could *conceivably* see it but it would be very small (USAF folks chime in), but I don’t think civilian radar works that way. It needs a transponder to “see” a flying object.

  3. @Reaper For the most part, you are right. The sensitivity settings for radar are generally set so as to ignore smaller objects so the user doesn’t get overwhelmed by the inevitable background noise (birds, rain, microwave ovens all affect radar). I think the current size they look for is over 2 sq. meters, which is way bigger than a human being standing up, let alone if he was flying at the dish.

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