Around a month and a half ago, The War Zone
reported on an unusual incident in the skies near Los Angeles International Airport, or LAX, in which the pilots of multiple airliners reported seeing "a guy in a jetpack" while on approach to land. A few weeks ago, we followed up on that story and the ongoing investigation into those sightings, based on new information we had obtained from the FAA. Now, we have audio between pilots and air traffic controllers regarding an all-new sighting of what was at least loosely described as jetpack-wearing individual in the same general area.
The crew of China Airlines Flight 006, a Boeing 777 heading to LAX from Taipei, Taiwan, reported the encounter to air traffic controllers at around 1:45 PM local time today. The FAA has confirmed it was alerted and that it passed details along to local law enforcement. The FBI is already working on the case involving the first sighting, so they will undoubtedly be interested in this one, too.
"A China Airlines crew reported seeing what appeared to be someone in a jet pack at an approximate altitude of 6,000 feet, about seven miles northwest of Los Angeles International Airport," the FAA said in a statement to CNBC. "The FAA alerted local law enforcement and will look into the report."
The War Zone has obtained audio of the actual exchanges between Flight 006 as well as other aircraft in the area, and the tower at LAX. The initial discussion between the China Airlines crew and air traffic control went as follows:
China Airlines 006: "We just saw a bright object at 6,000."
LAX Tower: "006 heavy can you say that one more time please?"
China Airlines 006: "We saw a flying object like a [this part is hard to decipher, but it sounded like] flight suit jetpack at 6,000. "
LAX Tower: "Was it a UAV or was it a jetpack?"
China Airlines 006: "Like a jetpack. Too shiny. It’s too far."
LAX Tower: "006 heavy, roger, thank you… Emirates 215 heavy there was a jetpack reported about 13 miles ahead."
The LAX air traffic controller subsequently reached out to another aircraft, using the callsign Idaho 30, to see if they could investigate, while also rerouting traffic around the area where the object was spotted. Idaho is a callsign commonly associated with law enforcement aircraft and helicopters, but what we don't know what type it was in this case or what agency it belonged to. These exchanges went as follows:
LAX Tower: "Idaho 30, and there was a jetpack reported about 7 miles west of your, there’s no way you can check that out can you?"
Idaho 30: "30 affirmative."
LAX Tower: "It was reported by a heavy Boeing 777 about seven miles southwest of you the location."
Idaho 30: "Affirmative."
The air traffic controller then reroutes traffic around the area where the object was spotted, which was apparently northern Los Angels. She continues to vector Idaho 30 into the exact area where it was seen to investigate. A few minutes later Idaho 30 chimes in.
Idaho 30: "Idaho 30 not seeing anything."
LAX Tower: "Idaho 30, roger that, thanks for your help and you can just continue your descent into your destination."
A number of minutes pass and the air traffic controller mentions the jetpack incident again while talking with Alaska Airlines Flight 1864. This exchange also further confirms that Idaho 30 was a law enforcement aircraft or helicopter.
LAX Tower: "Alaska 1864, about 15 minutes ago there was a jetpack reported about 5 miles ahead, around 6,000, but I had some law enforcement come out and check it out and they didn’t see anything, so, use caution though."
Alaska 1864: "Thanks, 1864, we'll be looking."
You can listen to the full recording below:
While we don't know exactly what the pilots saw in this case, as The War Zone highlighted after the reported encounter on August 30, there are very real and quite capable jetpack-like designs out there for those able to afford them. This includes Yves "Jetman" Rossi's jet-powered wingsuit.
Of course, there is also the possibility that pilots who reported this new sighting were simply mistaken or that the air traffic controller misconstrued their statement regarding an unidentified flying object, although this is less likely as we now have an official FAA statement on the matter.
Whatever the crew of China Airlines Flight 006 saw, the FAA, FBI, and local law enforcement are already looking into it, as will The War Zone. We will update this story with any more information about this latest sighting that becomes available.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com