Officials have ‘working theory’ about jet pack mystery over Los Angeles – Press Telegram

The first pilot report of a jetpack flying over Los Angeles was enough to launch a federal investigation. Second, the air traffic controller made a noise on the airport channel, saying “only in LA.” A few months later, the controller warned that “the jetpack guy is back.”

Authorities say now Jetpack man In reality, he may be a more balloon man.

“One practical theory is that the pilot may have seen the balloon,” said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Rick Breitenfeld on Wednesday.

FAA later issued a statement NBC4 News On Monday in Los Angeles, we released police videos and photos showing what looks like an inflated, life-sized or larger-than-life balloon in the shape of a person floating above the Beverly Hills and Holmby Hills areas. .. The station observed that it looked like Jack Skellington. Jack Skellington is the protagonist of Tim Burton’s 1993 movie The Nightmare Before Christmas, with a prickly look and sharp outfit.

The image was taken by a Los Angeles Police Department helicopter crew before and after Halloween, about two weeks after the second jetpack sighting in November 2020, the agency said.

“The FAA worked closely with the FBI to investigate all reported jetpack sightings,” said Breitenfeldt. “So far, none of these sightings have been verified.”

Los Angeles police declined to comment, saying the investigation was being conducted by the FAA and FBI.

The FBI said in a statement that it was investigating reported sightings but was unable to verify them. Like the FAA, the station said, “There is one practical theory that pilots may have seen a balloon.”

Retailers sell a variety of decorations and toys modeled after Jack Skellington, or at least similar to characters. This includes 6-foot suspended models and 18-foot inflatable models.

Seth Young, an aviation professor at Ohio State University, said large balloons, including 6-foot-diameter balloons, usually do not pose a threat or alert to pilots. “If they were ingested by the engine, they would do much less damage than geese,” he said.

But a large group of loose balloons can be dangerous for flight, he said.

And Young said the number of objects and potential hazards in the air, such as drones, balloons, and laser pointers aimed at the sky, is increasing year by year. Many of these are reported daily on small planes and commercial flights, but due to the size of the jetpack users reported, the safety risk was “very rare.”

The pilot first reported suspicious sightings in August 2020, describing a man flying a jetpack about 3,000 feet near Los Angeles International Airport. A pilot of American Airlines flight 1997 from Philadelphia told air traffic control at the time that there seemed to be a person about 300 yards to the left of the plane.

Witness information has begun an investigation by the FBI and FAA. Authorities heard a second sighting about six weeks later when the crew of a commercial airliner flying near the airport reported seeing what looked like an estimated 6,000-foot person. In July of this year, a third sighting at 5,000 feet was reported by a pilot flying a Boeing 747 over Los Angeles.

“I see someone who could be a jetpack,” the pilot said at the time. After the air traffic controller and the pilot discussed the sightings, the pilot simply said, “We are looking for Iron Man.”

An FBI spokesman at the time of the third sighting said the agency was working with the FAA to investigate, but could not verify any of the previous sightings.

Jetpack sightings have received widespread attention, but there are also skeptics from the companies that make jetpacks.

Most jetpacks are not very fuel efficient for flying for more than a few minutes, making it difficult to get very high. Also, flying in crowded airspace, such as around major airports, is extremely dangerous for jetpack users, who can collide with jets or be drawn into the engine of an airplane.

In recent years, FAA has enacted new rules and restrictions in an attempt to reduce the risk of accidents caused by drones and other aircraft. The agency requires a permit to fly the drone in controlled airspace.

Despite the dangers of handling jetpacks, some companies, inventors and stunt takers have pursued them. In 2020, a pilot from Jetman Dubai, a pilot team that says “pushing the boundaries of aviation,” flew about 6,000 feet over a jetpack in a three-minute flight. The landing was helped by a parachute. Last year, the team said one of the pilots, Vincent Reffet, had died “during training in Dubai.”

Some tourist companies also offer the opportunity to fly jetpacks. It usually flies over the body of water for a few minutes at a time.

Officials have ‘working theory’ about jet pack mystery over Los Angeles – Press Telegram Source link Officials have ‘working theory’ about jet pack mystery over Los Angeles – Press Telegram

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