A video posted to YouTube by a pilot flying out of Torrance Airport in Southern California appears to show a manned jetpack flying at about 3,000 feet over the ocean southwest of the Palos Verdes peninsula. In a description of the video, the pilot who captured the footage, a Sling Pilot Academy flight instructor, wrote, “The video appears to show a jet pack, but it could also be a drone or some other object.”
In widely reported incidents this year, airline pilots flying into Los Angeles International Airport reported seeing a manned jetpack in close proximity. One such incident was at 6,000 feet northwest of LAX, and this may have been inside Class B airspace, where drone operations are not normally permitted. The Palos Verdes incident location is underneath Class B airspace in an area where there are fewer restrictions on drone flying, although this is also a congested area due to heavy flight training activity.
The possibility that this could be a real manned jetpack is extremely remote. Currently, flyable jetpacks are made by JetPack Aviation in Chatsworth, California. In an interview with JetPack Aviation founder David Mayman about the earlier incidents, he said that his company’s five jetpacks are “under lock and key.” Like the Sling Academy instructor, Mayman speculated that the jetpack sightings could involve a drone attached to a lightweight doll or dummy. JetPack Aviation’s jetpacks do not have enough endurance to take off, fly to 3,000 or 6,000 feet, loiter, and land.
In fact, there are several videos on YouTube showing drone pilots flying attached or tethered to blow-up dolls.