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Peak 2020: Pilots reportedly saw someone flying in a jetpack on final approach to LAX

Sept. 02, 2020
3 min read
Peak 2020: Pilots reportedly saw someone flying in a jetpack on final approach to LAX
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Could this be the strangest aviation story of the year?

On Sunday, Aug. 30, two jets were approaching Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to land. As they descended through 3,000 feet, pilots from both airliners reported seeing someone flying in a jetpack nearby. (Yes, you read that right: a jetpack.)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a short statement: "Two airline flight crews reported seeing what appeared to be someone in a jetpack as they were on their final approaches to LAX around 6:35 p.m. PDT Sunday.” The FAA didn't have more to say, but they're investigating. Perhaps they too are perplexed.

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The first flight, American Airlines 1997 from Philadelphia, radioed that "tower, American 1997, we just passed a guy in a jetpack," The Associated Press reports. Another pilot later the same afternoon reportedly said the same thing. He told the tower "We just saw the guy pass by us in the jetpack."

At this point, the LAX control tower probably also was shocked — and perhaps a bit dubious. But the rouge jetpack was reportedly just 300 yards from the jets, which is most definitely a safety concern.

So the controller warned a third flight, JetBlue Flight 23 from New York, getting ready to land, "person in a jetpack reported 300 yards south of the LA final at about 3,000 feet, 10-mile (16-kilometer) final.”

Fortunately, all planes landed without incident. But who was the "person in the jetpack?"

Three days later, and we still don't have any details. In addition to the FAA, the FBI is also investigating the incident, according to L.A.'s FOX 11.

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More from TPG: When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide to coronavirus travel restrictions

Without video recording, we may likely never know what exactly these pilots saw. But it's 2020. Anything could fly.

The chances it was a person in a jetpack are slim, according to the CEO of the Los Angeles-based company Jetpack Aviation. In a statement to the AP, David Mayman said "it's very, very unlikely with the existing technology.”

If it wasn't a jetpack, it might've been a drone.

And if it wasn't a drone, maybe it was one of those massive helium balloons that escaped from a party at sea level. Or a big bird?

The way 2020 has gone, anything is possible. We may never know what exactly happened. But if it was a person with a jetpack, perhaps they were trying to make it to another galaxy far away. One without a pandemic, hopefully.

Featured image by Getty Images

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees