LOS ANGELES - It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s a…jetpack?!
Since FOX 11 first broke the news of two commercial pilots spotting a man flying with a jetpack about 300 yards from them, 3,000 feet in the air on final approach into Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday, the story has gone crazy.
And we’ve been on a wild goose chase, trying to figure out what it was, if even a jetpack and if so, who did it?
Despite her jokes, first-ever female jetpack pilot Leigh Coates says it wasn’t her…or was it?
“Sorry to say it wasn’t me but that’s the story I’ve got and I’m sticking to it,” laughed Coates.
“Hopefully, the FBI isn’t listening to this.”
Coates trained at JetPack Aviation, out of the San Fernando Valley.
French pilot Franky Zapata flies his Flyboard jetpack during the 2018 Red Bull Air Race World Championship on April 21, 2018 in Cannes. (Photo by VALERY HACHE / AFP) (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)
“It’s the most freeing feeling you can possibly imagine,” says Coates. “It’s hard to control yourself to not go higher and it’s hard to control yourself to not go faster because you can! You’re capable of doing it and it’s just a thrill and a rush.”She says jetpacks can go up to 18,000 feet high.
“It’s technically possible it was a reckless person making something in their basement, coming out and flying it straight up, but the technology I know of, fuel range is going to be an issue.
”Jetpacks are also loud so people near LAX would’ve have heard it and taken pictures or videos.
Coates and JetPack Aviation, that’s taken calls from the FAA and FBI seeking their help on getting to the bottom of the mystery, she thinkd the pilots most likely saw a manikin strapped onto a large, electric-powered drone…also weird and dangerous.
But some pilots, like USC Aviation Safety Program Instructor Steve Cowell, hold their stance that those pilots saw what they saw.
“To come up with an observation as specific as a jetpack, I’ve really got to believe the pilots,” says Cowell.
So, the mysterious investigation continues.“We may never know,” sighs Cowell.
Whatever it was, one thing’s for sure – 2020 couldn’t get any stranger. And as one pilot on approach during the sighting put it, if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen here.“Only in LA,” he said to air traffic control.