An airline pilot landing at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday reported seeing “a guy in a jetpack” flying about 300 yards off his plane’s wing — at an altitude of 3,000 feet.
The pilot was on his final approach to the busy airport and was about 10 miles from the tarmac.
The American Airlines pilot radioed his sighting in to the flight control tower: “Tower, American 1997, we just passed a guy in a jetpack.”
“American 1997, okay, were they off to your left side or right side?” the air traffic controller asked.
“Off the left side, maybe 300 yards or so, about our altitude,” the pilot said, FOX-11 reported.
A second pilot also reported seeing the jetpack guy. Fox 11 reported a Skywest pilot confirmed the sighting:
Skywest Flight: “We just saw the guy passing by us in the jetpack.”
Then the tower alerted an incoming Jet Blue flight to the reported hazard:
Tower: “Jet Blue 23, use caution, a person in a jetpack reported 300 yards south of the LA final at about 3,000 feet, 10 mile final.”
Jet Blue 23: “Jet Blue 23, we heard and we are definitely looking.”
Another pilot chimed in: “Only in L.A.”
Most jetpacks can’t fly that fast or that high, but Yves “Jetman” Rossi’s winged jetpack, which launches from a helicopter, can do so. No one knows if the jetpack guy near LAX was doing some sort of publicity stunt, but officials are investigating the reports.
The incident in L.A. follows another last month, when at least two reporters traveling on Air Force One said the presidential plane had a near miss with what appeared to be a drone.
“Multiple people on AF1 saw what appeared to be a drone just below the plane as we were descending toward Joint Base Andrews,” Jennifer Jacobs, senior White House reporter for Bloomberg News, wrote on Twitter. “We came very close to hitting it, per @SebastianAFP, who had a window seat.”
Multiple people on AF1 saw what appeared to be a drone just below the plane as we were descending toward Joint Base Andrews.
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) August 16, 2020
“@realDonaldTrump just landed at Andrews on AF1,” tweeted Sebastian Smith, a reporter with Agence France Presse. “Shortly before, while descending, we flew right over a small object, remarkably close to the president’s plane. Resembled a drone though I’m no expert.”
@realDonaldTrump just landed at Andrews on AF1. Shortly before, while descending,we flew right over a small object, remarkably close to the president’s plane. Resembled a drone though I’m no expert. pic.twitter.com/roDFgpp4XH
— Sebastian Smith (@SebastianAFP) August 16, 2020
“The fact that a drone can come so close to the world’s highest-profile and most heavily monitored and defended variant of a commercial aircraft is troubling for obvious reasons. As we have said for many years, one of the biggest threats posed by lower-end drones is to VVIPs, and especially when they are on the move,” wrote TheDrive.com, which first reported the incident.
Trump was on board Air Force One as it landed at Andrews Air Force base on Aug. 16. The president was returning from Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, when the reported near-collision happened.
Regulations governing unmanned flying objects have been enacted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) so drones can be tracked. The FAA also lays out what drone operators can do near airports.
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