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FBI Seeks Information on Los Angeles “Rocket Man”

FBI Seeks Information on Los Angeles “Rocket Man”
Joe Cortez

Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating reports of a flyer on a jetpack near Los Angeles International Airport. At least two aircraft reported to air traffic controllers seeing the “rocket man,” which has spawned a search for more information.

Two federal agencies are looking for information about a “rocket man” who was last spotted by at least two pilots near Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The New York Times reports both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Aviation Administration are looking into the potential airport incursion incident, taking place Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020.

“We Just Passed a Guy in a Jetpack”

According to transcripts of conversations with air traffic controllers, at least two airliners saw the jetpack flyer. The first was an American Airlines flight arriving from Philadelphia. The pilots told the tower: “We just passed a guy in a jet pack,” reporting the rocketeer 300 yards away from their aircraft and at the same altitude as their aircraft.

The second sighting came from a JetBlue flight, who subsequently warned another pilot to be aware of the jetpack flyer. Both the FBI and FAA are now looking for more information about the person who may have been interfering with airport operations.

“Two airline flight crews reported seeing what appeared to be someone in a jet pack as they were on their final approach to LAX around 6:35 p.m. Sunday,” a spokesperson for the FAA said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “The FAA alerted local law enforcement to the reports and is looking into these reports.”

A subsequent statement from an FBI spokesperson to the Los Angeles Times confirmed their involvement in the investigation.

Reports Note Increased Number of Airport Incursions

The jetpack incident is further evidence how airport incursions can be dangerous for aircraft. According to a report by Willis Towers Watson, incidents involving drones alone have increased by around 730 percent, which can risk the safety of both aircraft operators and passengers.

To mitigate those situations, the FAA is looking for new technology to prevent drones from entering the space around airports. Selected technologies will be given a practical trial at a test facility, before graduating to a test at a randomly selected airport in the United States.

View Comments (6)


  1. Azureas

    September 3, 2020 at 4:53 am

    Drone impact effect on a small airplane wing (Mooney M20)

  2. PushingTin

    September 3, 2020 at 6:03 am

    Bet it was a not a person, but a dummy and a drone made to look like a ‘rocket man’.

  3. PushingTin

    September 3, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    Not saying a drone isn’t dangerous, just that the rocket man part is probably a hoax. How many systems are capable of that, and why risk it in such a way (legally and physically).

  4. deduckfan

    September 3, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    Have they checked Elton John’s alibi?

  5. fleef

    September 5, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    ok- at WHAT altitude was he, that it was the same as the airline?? were they 100 ft off the ground? a thousand?? the article sure leaves a lot out.

  6. SamirD

    September 7, 2020 at 5:54 am

    Why was he near the airport if he doesn’t need an airport? Keep it a secret and fly for free!

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