Kicker – Flying high over LA

NICK EICHER, HOST: Airline pilots have really excellent eyesight.  

And we trust those eyes. We’re all counting on them.

But is it possible that sometimes those eyes play tricks?

To listen to this radio exchange, you might think so. It’s a pilot for American Airlines describing something you wouldn’t expect as his flight approached LAX: Pilot-speak for Los Angeles International.

AUDIO: Tower, American 1997, we just passed a guy in a jetpack.
American 1997, okay. Were they off to your left side or your right side?
Off the left side, maybe 300 yards or so, about our altitude.

Sounds crazy, right? A guy in a jetpack. 

Industry expert David Mayman was doubtful that the pilot saw what he thought he saw. He reported seeing the apparent jetpack flyer at an altitude of about 3,000 feet. 

Mayman says that high is “very, very unlikely with the existing technology.”

Well, alright. Tell that to the pilots of two other flights who said they saw the guy too.

One thing’s for certain, if it was a guy with a jetpack, he had no business being that close to the world’s third-busiest airport.

If it wasn’t, well, then I’m wondering about not one but three pilots flying big planes—seeing things.

The Los Angeles Times reported the FBI is looking into it, so to speak.

It’s The World and Everything in It.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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