Iron Man might be dead in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he appears to be very much alive in the real-world vicinity of the Los Angeles International Airport, where pilots have reported seeing a sky-high individual with a jetpack.
The mystery man or woman was spotted cruising around the airport at a high altitude on Wednesday evening, according to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and air traffic controller recordings from LAX.
“A Boeing 747 pilot reported seeing an object that might have resembled a jetpack 15 miles east of LAX at 5,000 feet altitude,” the FAA said.
“Out of an abundance of caution, air traffic controllers alerted other pilots in the vicinity.”
Audio recordings from the airport suggest there was a person flying that jetpack, though his or her identity remains unknown.
“Skywest 3626, use caution. The jet man is back,” an air traffic controller can be heard saying on Wednesday evening, in audio obtained by CBS Los Angeles. “Let me know if you see him.”
The controller then presses the pilot for more info. “SkyWest 3626, did you see the UFO?”
“We were looking,” the pilot responds, “but we did not see Iron Man.”
Jetpacks are experimental, expensive, noisy and hard to find on the commercial market. However, someone appears to have figured out how to build and fly one at high altitudes in California, where he or she has been spotted at least four times to date.
The sightings date back to last August, when two commercial airline crews reported seeing a person with a jetpack. One crew said that he or she came dangerously close to their aircraft, which was carrying passengers at the time.
A China Airlines flight later reported seeing “someone in a jetpack” at 6,000 feet in October.
“We just saw a flying object like a flight suit that’s passing by us,” the crew said.
The FBI and the FAA have been investigating the sightings for months, though they’ve been unable to determine the origin of the jetpack.
The FBI suggested last November that the object might be a drone designed to look like a man in a jetpack, and that it’s unlikely that an actual person might be piloting it.
However, the reports have persisted for over a year.
An L.A.-area flight school claimed to have captured actual footage of the “jetpack man” in December, when he or she was spotted at around 3,000 feet off the coast of Palos Verdes.
The object in the video strongly resembles a human figure with a jetpack on their back, but it remains unverified.
The FAA says it’s still investigating the strange jetpack phenomena and has yet to identify the person behind it.
Perhaps they’re simply waiting for the person to come forward and say what all the Marvel fans want to hear: “I am Iron Man.”