Inexplicable sightings of a man flying 3,000 feet above LA in a jetpack have only become more puzzling with the release of FAA records on the incident, showing pilots reporting other unidentified craft to confused air controllers.
Government records obtained by the Drive – including an FAA report and more than 15 minutes of audio between aviation officials discussing the bizarre sighting last month – reveal that air traffic controllers received reports of an unfamiliar helicopter near the area the jetpacker was spotted above Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), as well as a cluster of “party balloons.”
The helicopter was called into LAX after it was observed by a different air controller, identified by the Drive as an “offsite FAA individual.” Both officials appear baffled.
Offsite FAA individual: “Did you call in a helicopter over there to help you?”
LAX tower: “No.”
Offsite FAA individual: “I see a [helicopter]. There’s something at 600 feet right up there, looks like a helicopter.”
LAX tower: “Right underneath that Southwest arrival?”
Offsite FAA individual: “Yeah, but that 10 mile final is literally north of me and I’ve been scouring it, I don’t see anything.”
LAX tower: “I, I don’t know.”
The FAA document – known as a Mandatory Occurrence Report (MOR), submitted when air controllers witness certain safety violations – provides a brief summary of the jetpack sighting, noting the first pilot to witness the man “did not report making evasive maneuvers.” The report also indicates that a Los Angeles Police Department “air support” craft was notified of the situation, though it is unclear if that accounts for the helicopter spotted near LAX.
Prepared by the Southern California Terminal Radar Approach Control Facility, or TRACON, the 15 minutes of audio released by the government also contains mention of “party balloons” seen at a similar altitude to where the ‘jetpack man’ was first spotted. It remains unknown whether the jetpacker was merely mistaken for the balloons, or if the pilot actually witnessed a separate object.
Almost immediately after the jetpacker was seen over the airport on August 30, the FBI’s Los Angeles field office launched a probe. But apparently just as perplexed as the pilots and air controllers who first reported the sighting, the agency put out a call to the public requesting information on the high-flying daredevil within days of the incident, suggesting he “[threatened] US airspace.”
The FBI continues to investgate reports of a #jetpack near #LAX on 8/30. Anyone with info about activity on or above the ground at the location depicted here should call the FBI. The FBI takes seriously events that threaten US airspace & investigates alleged violations #SafeSkiespic.twitter.com/dLZcZeRDuc
— FBI Los Angeles (@FBILosAngeles) September 4, 2020
The bureau refused to disclose certain documents for the Drive’s Freedom of Information request, as its investigation is ongoing, but if the FAA disclosures are anything to go by, the probe may raise more questions than it answers.
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