The LA Jetpack Joyrider Spotted Last Year Was Probably A Trolling Drone Pilot


Jack Dunhill

Social Media Coordinator and Staff Writer

clockJan 22 2021, 11:50 UTC
jetpacker in front of plane

Is it a plane? Is it a bird? No, it might not even be Superman. Image credit: Khakimullin Aleksandr/

If you can cast your mind back to last summer, you may remember news of a jet pack joyrider that was spotted above Los Angeles Airport, flying over 900 meters (3,000 feet) in the air without a care in the world. Investigations were launched by every government agency possible – even the FBI – but to no avail. No one could understand who it was nor why they were there, and the mystery remained.  

Well, it may finally be solved, and the answer may not be what you expect. 


In documents received through the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) by The Black Vault – regular sharers of declassified military information and UFOs – discussions between Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials and air traffic controllers reveals a pilot told the FBI in August that "jet pack guy", as he's come to be known, looked just like a dummy drone he'd seen on YouTube.

In the video from a radio-controlled Heli meeting in Wolfhagen, Germany, a pilot demonstrates their creation of an RC drone carrying a mannequin. The mannequin is dressed in camouflage clothes, with a rotor engine on each shoulder to propel the drone off the ground at a decent speed. The thing is, the drone looks awfully like what the control tower and pilots reported in their original sightings and videos of the sightings above LA. See for yourself below.

The video shows a drone carrying a mannequin, captured at the RC Heli meeting in Wolfhagen, Germany. Credit: RC MEDIA WORLD


Whilst the case is certainly not open and shut, the drone currently stands as the most likely option. Current jetpacks in operation can reach heights of 1,830 meters (6,000 feet), but sustained upright flight like the person reported would never reach near that. As reported by The War Zone, David Mayman, chief test pilot of Jetpack Aviation, “does not believe there are any ‘jetpack’ operators who could get to 3000 feet and sustain it.” 

Alongside that, the video that circulated in September 2020 showing a ‘jetpack pilot’ flying around South Gate, CA, shows the individual flying extremely stiffly. Comparing that to the current jetpack pilots we know of, which requires jets attached to the arm for stability, it looks pretty different.  

The videos showing the jetpacker surfaced in August 2020, with the mysterious flying person – which would technically make them a UFO – flying above LAX at 3,000 feet being reported by pilots. Barely a month later they were seen again, this time upping their game to an impressive 6,000 feet northwest of the airport. The FAA reported the incident, but little came of the investigation. Then, in December 2020, a video was posted on Instagram by Slingpilotacademy of a flying object of similar appearance flying above water south of LA. The object was flying at an insane speed and remained too far from the pilot to get a clear visual. 



Despite capturing the imagination of the Internet and the intense scrutiny by government agencies, the mystery ensues. So, have a look at the evidence for yourself – is it a drone, or is it an adrenaline-fuelled joyrider desperate for the thrill of the chase? 

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  • mystery,

  • jet pack