'Jetpack' Spotted Flying 5,000 Feet in the Air Over Los Angeles

A person flying a jetpack at 5,000 feet has reportedly been sighted near Los Angeles International Airport.

The pilot of a Boeing 747 flying east of Los Angeles reported the incident on Wednesday, prompting air traffic controllers to warn other pilots flying in the area to be on the lookout.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed it was investigating in a statement to Newsweek.

"A Boeing 747 pilot reported seeing an object that might have resembled a jet pack 15 miles east of LAX at 5,000 feet altitude," an FAA spokesperson said. "Out of an abundance of caution, air traffic controllers alerted other pilots in the vicinity."

The Los Angeles Police Department and the FBI have been contacted for comment.

The incident is the latest sighting by commercial pilots of supposed jetpack fliers in California.

Several alleged sightings in 2020 prompted investigations as jetpacks can be hazardous to aircraft flying in their vicinity.

In September 2020, the FAA and FBI launched investigations after two airline flight crews reported seeing what appeared to be someone in a jetpack around 3,000 feet in the air.

"Tower, American 1997, we just passed a guy in a jetpack...off the left side [of the plane], maybe 300 yards or so, about our altitude," the pilot of an American Airlines flight told air traffic control.

David Mayman, the CEO of the Los Angeles-based company Jetpack Aviation, at the time expressed doubts that it was actually a jetpack that was spotted by the pilots. "It's very, very unlikely with the existing technology," Mayman told The Associated Press.

Jetpacks are known for being low-flying devices that propel people not too far above the ground and only briefly stay in the air.

But in February last year, a company called Jetman Dubai announced that one of its pilots managed to reach an altitude of almost 6,000 feet in a jetpack.

Vince Reffet took off from the runway of Skydive Dubai and flew up to 1,800 meters (5,905 feet), according to the company. He was the first to "achieve 100 percent autonomous human flight: a take-off from the ground, transitioning into a high-altitude flight," the company said.

"This milestone proved that Jetmen can now fly directly upwards from a standing start without the need for an elevated platform," it added.

"This is the first time that a Jetman pilot has combined hovering safely at a low altitude and flying aerobatics at a high altitude in the same flight."

French pilot flies jetpack
File photo. French pilot Franky Zapata flies his Flyboard jetpack during the 2018 Red Bull Air Race World Championship on April 21, 2018 in Cannes. Valerie Hache/AFP via Getty Images