Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is one of the busiest airports in the world, so you can imagine the pressure on air traffic controllers and pilots to ensure that everyone is landing and taking off safely.
To add to the hazards, and as if 2020 couldn’t get any weirder, two airline pilots landing at LAX on Sunday, August 30, spotted “a guy in a jetpack” flying off their wing while on final approach to the airport.
To give you an idea of the gravity of the situation (pun intended), landing is generally considered more hazardous and requires a bit more exacting handling than taking off.
The incident was confirmed and recorded by air traffic controllers.
The idiot with the jetpack was seen flying at an elevation of 3 000 feet (915 metres), says the BBC.
“Tower, American 1997 – we just passed a guy in a jetpack,” the pilot of American Airlines flight 1997 from Philadelphia told officials in the control tower as he approached LAX around 18:30 local time (01:30 GMT).
“Were they off to your left side or right side?” the controller responds, leading the pilot to say the person was 300 yards to the plane’s left.
Within a minute, a pilot flying JetBlue Flight 23 also reported seeing a “person” fly past.
This is absurd, and super dangerous, which is why local law enforcement and the FBI is now involved in investigating the situation.
We can assume the person jetted off as soon as they realised that the situation was escalating.
While this still seems like the type of thing more plausible in an Iron Man film than material reality, jetpacks are becoming more common as various companies race to develop the first fully workable prototype.
Earlier this year, the Jetmen team, Vince Reffet and Fred Fugenare, with Emirati skydive pro, Ahmed Al Shehhi, achieved autonomous human flight, using a jetpack.
To add to their victory – unlike previous missions where the pilot had to be tossed out of a helicopter – this flight launched with a vertical takeoff.
While their project is above ground, so to speak, fools jetting around airports, obstructing the landings of aircraft packed with people, isn’t ideal if they and other companies like JetPack Aviation want to continue their research.
David Mayman, the chief executive of [JetPack], speculated that someone may have been working on a secret project and just revealed it over the weekend. Or it could have been a mannequin strapped to a drone, he suggested.
Either way, the person flying the thing, whether manually or using drone technology, set themselves up as a strong contender for a Darwin Award.
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