Internet Sleuths Think They’ve Identified The ‘Jetpack Guy’ In Los Angeles And It Might Not Actually Be A Person

jetpack guy los angeles identity drone

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Based on everything the Back to the Future sequel led me to believe, we should currently live in a world where it’s possible to get wherever you need to go without ever touching the ground. Sadly, it seems like we’re going to have to wait a while until flying cars and hoverboards become the norm, but it’s good to know we’re headed in the right direction based on the recent advancements in jetpack technology.

Last year, someone in Dubai showed Elon Musk what the real real-life version of Iron Man looks like when he strapped on a jetpack and almost hit 150 MPH on his way to flying 5,000 feet in the air, and there may soon be a day when hikers who find themselves stranded in the wild will see a paramedic swoop in on one to rescue them.

While those EMTs may be planning on using jetpacks for a good cause, someone in Los Angeles stirred up some trouble last August when pilots spotted a guy flying alongside their plane as it was landing at LAX. The FAA quickly launched an investigation, but they failed to track down the same person who presumably got their jetpack on in the vicinity of the airport the following month (and may have also been captured on video in December).

Some internet sleuths joined the feds who were looking into the issue, and according to Gizmodo, a website called The Black Vault filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain copies of conversations between the FAA and members of air traffic control, and it turns out “Jetpack Guy” might not even be a person at all—and the “jetpack” might not even be a jetpack.

It appears one of the pilots that saw the Unidentified Flying Person told investigators he’d watched a YouTube video featuring a mannequin attached to a Duocopter drone that looked virtually identical to what he’d observed outside his aircraft (it’s worth noting it was filmed in Germany, so it seems unlikely the people behind it are responsible for what’s going on in California).

Now, as much as I’d like to believe there’s a guy in Los Angeles who’s been doing his best to imitate the gremlin that terrorized William Shatner on an episode of The Twilight Zone, if you buy into Occum’s razor, someone throwing a drone onto a dummy seems like a much more likely explanation—and it’s also kind of a  bummer.

Connor O'Toole avatar
Connor Toole is a Senior Editor at BroBible based in Brooklyn, NY who embodies more of the stereotypes associated with the borough than he's comfortable with. Frequently described as "freakishly tall," he once used his 6'10" frame to sneak in the NBA Draft before walking around the streets of NYC masquerading as the newest member of the Utah Jazz. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to land him a contract, so he was forced to settle for writing on the internet for a living instead. If you're mad about something he wrote, be sure that any angry tweets you send note the similarity between his last name and a popular insult, as no one has ever done that before.