Air traffic control recordings and documents show the latest jetliner pilot to report seeing what looked like a person flying in a jetpack near Los Angeles International Airport offered a description of the flying-person’s clothing, according to records obtained from the FAA by the NBC4 I-Team under the Freedom of Information Act.
A Kalitta Air cargo pilot, using the call sign “Connie 363,” made the most recent report July 29 while lining up for final approach to the south runways at LAX, according to an FAA recording made directly from its communications network.
“Connie 363, possible jet pack man in sight at position Gate,” the pilot said while descending through 5,000 feet near the 710 and 105 freeways.
“Was he off your left or right sir?,” the controller asked.
Local news from across Southern California
“Uh, right wing, red outfit,” the pilot replied.
The controller, working from a remote air traffic control center referred to as “So Cal Approach,” then warned other pilots to be on the lookout for the flying object.
“Attention all aircraft use caution for the jetpack. He is just north of the final around 5000 at 'Gate' last reported.”
Minutes later, the same controller asked a FedEx cargo pilot to look for the object.
“FedEx 326 heavy let me know if you see that, uh, jet man. He was reported just up here right just now,” she said.
“I'm looking I have no [inaudible] so far, I’ll let you know, FedEx 326 heavy,” the pilot replied.
“Okay, they're all calling them Iron Man,” the controller said.
The incident was summarized in an FAA “Mandatory Occurrence Report,” which are used to document a variety of unusual events. The initial report, also obtained by the I-Team, said an LA County Sheriff’s Department helicopter crew was notified about the sighting, as it was reported in airspace above an area patrolled by the sheriff’s department.
Minutes later, the same controller, while apparently briefing another air traffic controller, said that no other pilots in the same area at the same time saw anything similar.
“Man in the jet pack was reported right here about 15 minutes ago now and no one else reported them so I think he got scared,” the controller said.
Multiple law enforcement sources have told the I-Team that, to date, no corroborating witnesses or evidence -- like cellphone video -- have been found for the July 2021 report. The first two pilot reports in August and October 2020 have reportedly led to similar dead ends.
The I-Team has confirmed that sometime after the second sighting in 2020 an LAPD helicopter crew recorded video of a flying object that resembled a, “scarecrow,” possibly being carried aloft by balloons. The LAPD denied our request for a copy of the video, which has been shared with both the FBI and FAA.
The FBI said Wednesday there was no new information to share publicly on the case, characterizing it as an open and ongoing investigation.