Piloting a commercial flight can be pretty tedious for most pilots. Sure, it’s a gorgeous view all the time but said view can get quite monotonous. There’s only so much of the sky, birds, occasionally other aircraft and weird-shaped clouds you can get excited about. Things can get real interesting real quick though if you report back to the airport tower with “… we just passed a guy in a jetpack.”
We all know from Avengers: Endgame that Tony Stark’s Iron Man sacrificed his life to save the universe, so what gives? Well, according to a few pilots approaching Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Sunday night, things got real interesting real quick.
Transcripts of the audio of the communication between the American Airlines pilot and the LAX control tower seemed pretty casual but got the message across:
AA1997 Pilot: Tower, American 1997, we just passed a guy in a jetpack.
Tower: Okay, thank you. Were they off to your left or right side?AA1997 Pilot: Off the left side, maybe 300 yards or so, about our altitude.
Bless the soul of whoever the air-traffic controller was on the other end of that exchange as to reply so nonchalantly about someone in a jetpack flying around 250-metres from commercial planes about to land at one of the busiest airports in the world.
Now you might be thinking that jetpacks already exist so what’s the big deal? Well for starters, there’s the obvious danger in cavorting around planes filled with hundreds of people about to land.
Secondly, the planes were about 3,000 feet (900 metres) above ground. That’s pretty unheard of among the existing jetpacks that struggle with range and a limited flight ceiling.
You might recall that former Mythbuster Adam Savage built a replica of the Iron Man suit largely constructed of 3D-printed titanium. Five 1,000hp mini jet-engines on the suit actually allowed it to fly but just 4.5-metres above the ground.
Then there’s Yves “Jetman” Rossy. A Swiss military-trained pilot, he invented a few experimental individual jetpacks with carbon fibre wings for flight at a much more elevated height. However, his suit requires him to jump out of another aircraft to achieve those heights. Air traffic controllers at LAX would be aware of another flight in the vicinity if that was the case.
As of now, the identity of the jetpacker remains elusive; as does his or her common sense. It might seem pretty daring to attempt that but the potential for real danger is clear and present, especially with the lives of hundreds of people at stake.
Seeing that Robert Downey Jr has confirmed his Marvel commitments are completed, all suspicion for this incident falls on War Machine or The Falcon.