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Practical Jetpack Available "Soon"

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the coolest-desire-left-to-mankind dept.

Toys 237

Ifandbut was one of several readers to point out the arrival in Oshkosh of the first practical jetpack. It was invented by a New Zealander Glenn Martin, who has been working on the idea for 27 years. He plans to sell the gizmos for somewhere in the neighborhood of $100K. While previous attempts at jetpacks have flown for at most a couple of minutes, Mr. Martin's invention can stay aloft for half an hour. Both "practical" and "jetpack" may need quotation marks, however: The device is huge and it's incredibly noisy. And, "It is also not, to put it bluntly, a jet. 'If you're very pedantic,' Mr. Martin acknowledged, a gasoline-powered piston engine runs the large rotors. Jet Skis, he pointed out, are not jets, and the atmospheric jet stream is not created by engines. 'This thing flies on a jet of air,' he said. Or, more simply, it flies."

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237 comments

Huh? (4, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393203)

TFS concedes this is neother "practical" nor a "jet pack", yet still trumpets the headline "Practical Jetpack Available 'Soon'"? Well, I guess all it needs is a line at the end saying, "Ha -- made you look!".

Re:Huh? (5, Funny)

Emperor Zombie (1082033) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393333)

Yeah, but "Impractical Not-Really-A-Jetpack Maybe Available Sometime" doesn't have quite the same ring to it, does it?

Re:Huh? (4, Interesting)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393625)

To be honest, I definitely would be interested in a story titled "Impractical Not-Really-A-Jetpack Maybe Available Sometime" - it's just too odd to pass up. Now be honest: who here wouldn't have thought "What the...?? Lemme see what's this all about."

BTW, I really like the word "pantaloons". But, I am easily amused - even "trousers" makes me smile.

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24394081)

It brings to mind the Ogden Nash rhyme:

A child does not have to be very clever
to realise that "soon" means "never".

Re:Huh? (4, Funny)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393589)

It's an editing error. The original submission was "practical" "jet" "pack" "available" "soon".

Re:Huh? (4, Funny)

grahamd0 (1129971) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393713)

I'd feel sufficiently menaced by villains flying in on those things as to call them "practical" in the super-villainy market.

Of course they'd have to come in black... and a laser beam would be a nice option.

Re:Huh? (1, Funny)

chunk08 (1229574) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393885)

laser beam would be a nice option.

Wait... flying sharks with lasers?
*runs and hides*

Re:Huh? (4, Funny)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394021)

IMHO it's "very practical", in the sense that how practical can strapping your ass to a 200-hp gas engine with two washing machine-sized rotors really be?

Jet Packs Are Still Hype! (1, Interesting)

mattnyc99 (1008511) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393279)

We've discussed this before [slashdot.org] ! I mean have you watched that video? The thing barely gets off the ground!

Re:Jet Packs Are Still Hype! (-1, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393551)

Have you seen the new video?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBGIQ7ZuuiU [youtube.com]
I may take out a second mortgage to get one of these. She gets at least 100 feet int the air!

Jeez, do some research before posting.

Troll? (-1, Offtopic)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393661)

hmm, interesting take on the term.

Re:Jet Packs Are Still Hype! (1, Redundant)

deft (253558) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393591)

There's a BIG difference bwteen holding it a few inches off the ground as a demonstration, and not being able to go a few inches off the ground.

Wait, are you the the old guy from the muppet show balcony?

Re:Jet Packs Are Still Hype! (4, Informative)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393599)

Wrong jetpack. This is the one tfa talks about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyb6vnX1My0 [youtube.com]

It barely gets off the ground too though

Re:Jet Packs Are Still Hype! (1)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393753)

Thanks for the video; this is what the article should have been. It combined technical detail with moving video.

Re:Jet Packs Are Still Hype! (1)

cephah (1244770) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393801)

At it's current state it requires two people constantly following it, protecting it when/if it should fall to the ground by accident. You have to wonder about the safety precautions when they claim it'll reach 500 feet in 6 months. I wouldn't want to try it, that's for sure.

Re:Jet Packs Are Still Hype! (-1, Offtopic)

meeya (1152133) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394007)

Did Rick Astley used to fuck your butt or you used to suck his dick ?

Needs stability control (5, Interesting)

eggfoolr (999317) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393287)

Lucky the $100k includes a couple of guys to hold it for you!

I suspect he either needs a fly by wire computer that manages stability or a third fan. Either way I think we're a wee way off from a production model.

At first (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24393301)

It looked like someone linked to The Onion.

I'm not sure if it would be any more funny had it actually been linked from The Onion.

Coolest Desire left to mankind? (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393323)

I'd put that at cold fusion, maybe strong AI. And more in line with this, a space elevator. Jetpacks might be pretty cool, but honestly, I'd rather just take a ride up where there's no gravity and float around for a bit.

Re:Coolest Desire left to mankind? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393423)

I really hope zero gravity experiences become less expensive. 20k - 50k and i would do it, that's the price point. it's one of the things i'd love to do before i die along with stand on the top of everest, see the northern lights and ride a bike from the tip of france to the most eastern point of russia.

Re:Coolest Desire left to mankind? (1)

maglor_83 (856254) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393463)

ride a bike from the tip of france to the most eastern point of russia.

Any reason you want to start in France and not Spain or Portugal? If you're going that far you may as well do it properly.

Re:Coolest Desire left to mankind? (1)

John Courtland (585609) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393617)

I hope he's done having children at that point. I can't imagine how ruined your genitalia would be after a 8000 mile or so ride.

Cold fusion and AI? (1)

Sybert42 (1309493) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394113)

Strange priorities. AI changes everything, while cold fusion just removes temperature requirements from a reaction.

Finally, something for my Flying Car (5, Funny)

Onetus (23797) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393325)

Excellent, now my mechanic will be available to get to my flying car (which is also coming "soon") no matter where it is.

Re:Finally, something for my Flying Car (1)

cervo (626632) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393665)

Heck even I remember seeing these things in the Weekly Reader magazine when I was in grammar school and that was during the 80's. The article seemed to be predicting in the next few years (I think around 10). And here we are almost 20 years later and the flying car is like Duke Forever.

Finally, a real superhero emerges (1)

Missing_dc (1074809) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393331)

You hear a voice resounding off the local buildings

" Here I come to save the day!! "

(of course it would require modulating the sound produced by the rotors to act as a giant megaphone to be heard anywhere near this thing)

I for one... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24393337)

... welcome our hearing-impaired jetpack flying overlords.

My news is far more important! (5, Funny)

Channard (693317) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393343)

I have succesfully created working artificially intelligent android!

Okay, so it's not so much an android as a small two foot tall robot.

And by 'robot'.. I mean a cat wearing a cardboard box.

------------------ See! I can make my inventions sound grandiose by making things up, too!

Practical, yeah... (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393345)

I can see this featured in the next Weird Al video.

Didn't the myth busters try to make one and failed (2, Insightful)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393351)

Didn't the myth busters try to make one and failed at it?

Re:Didn't the myth busters try to make one and fai (4, Insightful)

hellwig (1325869) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393515)

Yeah, but they worked in TV time, which meant they had a week before the producer got bored and told them to do something else. This guy has been working 27 years, so I wouldn't doubt he put a little more effort in over that time.

Besides, the mythbusters fail to reproduce a lot of things, even when they know before hand it's not really a myth but actual fact.

Re:Didn't the myth busters try to make one and fai (2, Informative)

mjensen (118105) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393547)

Yes. Couldn't lift itself off the ground, let along a 180lb pilot.

That said, they also added a lot of structural integrity (mass) before the first flight, that they possibly could have done after first flight to check the limits.

Protection from Pedantry (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393363)

"It is also not, to put it bluntly, a jet. 'If you're very pedantic,' Mr. Martin acknowledged..."translation: We've submitted this to Slashdot, and wish to head off the Legion of Pedantry and the Battalion of Righteous Verbiage before they cause the discussion to degenerate into useless babble that doesn't help us get VC funding.

Re:Protection from Pedantry (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393395)

D'oh. Preview is my oft-ignored friend. There goes the humor. Should read:

"It is also not, to put it bluntly, a jet. 'If you're very pedantic,' Mr. Martin acknowledged..."

Translation: We've submitted this to Slashdot, and wish to head off the Legion of Pedantry and the Battalion of Righteous Verbiage before they cause the discussion to degenerate into useless babble that doesn't help us get VC funding.

Re:Protection from Pedantry (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393823)

"It is also not, to put it bluntly, a jet.
Actually looks more like the old Cobra "Trouble Bubble" from the mid80's than a proper jet pack.

I Read TFA ... And Lawled (5, Funny)

strelitsa (724743) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393367)

In June 1997, seven weeks after the birth of his second child, Mr. Martin figured his prototype was now powerful enough to lift its first flier, so long as that person weighed less than 130 pounds. So he turned to his wife. "I said, 'Hey, Vanessa, what are you doing tonight?"

Mrs. Martin agreed to be her husband's levitating guinea pig.

...

She said she felt, in a way, that she had conquered it - "the taming of it, that's so exciting." It was, she said, "probably the best experience of my life."

Doesn't say a lot about being married to Mr. Martin or Mr. Martin's prowess in the sack, does it?

Re:I Read TFA ... And Lawled (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393451)

It does say a lot for wanting Mr. Martin to sell these.

Re:I Read TFA ... And Lawled (5, Funny)

Slacksoft (1066064) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393523)

Never know, she could have joined the 3-feet high club with Mr. Martin ....

Pedantry (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24393381)

"It is also not, to put it bluntly, a jet. 'If you're very pedantic,"' Mr. Martin acknowledged, a gasoline-powered piston engine runs the large rotors. Jet Skis, he pointed out, are not jets, and the atmospheric jet stream is not created by engines.

Certainly one is permitted a bit of license in terminology. In fact, if you really get down to it, Jet Li is not actually a jet either.

Jet Packs & You (4, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393383)

The concept of a personal flying machine (e.g. Cars, Bikes, Jet Packs) is two fold at the moment.

1) Energy / Power (inc. Storage & Delivery)
2) Safety

Now I'm going to assume for the sake of this post that we could solve the second one if it was viable to do anyway.

The real kicker is really energy. We need a very rich energy source that is cheap, light, small in volume, and safe.

We can often tick two or three of those boxes but no energy source comes remotely close to hitting all four. Hydrogen for example is light, small in volume, but there are questions over safety and cost.

If we invented some kind of completely safe energy source that had the energy output approaching a nuclear reactor and weighted very little we could be in flying cars within a few years.

But frankly such dreams are far off.

Re:Jet Packs & You (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393495)

Nuclear powered electric rotors!

"But frankly such dreams are far off."

You don't say~

Re:Jet Packs & You (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393613)

I'd say such dreams are actually behind us. We've reached the peak of our cheap portable energy. From here it all gets more expensive and more bulky.

Re:Jet Packs & You (3, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393635)

Hydrogen's not really all that small in volume, actually. Joule-for-joule it takes up much more space in gasoline, even when you start getting into bulky cryogenic compressed storage. Chemical or physical storage is getting there, of course, but isn't a serious option yet, and you run into the problem of gravimetric energy density. You don't want to weigh down your vehicle with fuel.

Re:Jet Packs & You (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393685)

How to pack energy up in small bundles that can be handled safely. Hmm... I know, I shall store energy as physical things, and allow you to convert back and forth using E=mc^2.

Extracting the energy from any stored form is left as an exercise for the end user.

Re:Jet Packs & You (3, Insightful)

lennier (44736) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393765)

"Hydrogen for example is light, small in volume..."

No, actually, that's exactly wrong. Being light by definition means it is NOT "small in volume". It takes a huge volume of H2 in room temperature gas form to store a similar amount of energy to a heavier molecule. The volume problem is why it's a pain to store unless you go to cryogenics, hydrides, or other complicated systems.

Re:Jet Packs & You (2, Informative)

rcw-work (30090) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393793)

The concept of a personal flying machine (e.g. Cars, Bikes, Jet Packs) is two fold at the moment.

1) Energy / Power (inc. Storage & Delivery)
2) Safety

Why, again, does this need to be something you carry on your back instead of something you step into?

Gyrocopters can be made very small, they can land almost vertically (and in a controlled manner with the engine out), the ones with pre-rotators and collective controls can take off near vertically (the ones that can only do the former need only a few hundred feet, the ones that can do neither need less than 1000 feet), they'd be a lot quieter, reasonably fuel-efficient, and less dangerous than any incarnation if this thing, which would fall like a rock on engine failure. Some of them even qualify as ultralights which means that no pilot license is needed for them.

Re:Jet Packs & You (4, Insightful)

Sibko (1036168) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394035)

Hydrogen for example is light, small in volume, but there are questions over safety and cost.

Actually, Hydrogen is light, huge in volume, very safe, and inexpensive. There's a reason it was used to fly blimps, you know.

And before someone goes around throwing the hindenburg in everyone's faces, keep in mind that it was painted with rocket fuel, and that more than half the people on board survived the crash. The same cannot be said for your average airplane.

What gets me though, is that in the face of a personal flying machine that flies around in a video, and is capable of doing so for half an hour, you go on about how personal flying machines aren't possible. Flying cars are known as Helicopters, and your average person could likely afford a hot air balloon. Personal flying machines are everywhere - from cessna's to hang gliders. They're just not as ubiquitous as automobiles, nor as practical for getting around.

Re:Jet Packs & You (1)

Tweenk (1274968) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394101)

With regard to point 2, the presented jetpack is interesting, becuase it's safer the lower you fly - directly opposite to airplanes and helicopters. It may actually have a niche market after all.

$100k? (4, Interesting)

giminy (94188) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393393)

Consider the total cost of a private pilot's license is about $10k, and the cost of a used Cessna 172 can be had for about $50k [aso.com] in great condition (which, keep in mind, can carry four people, or 2-3 people with some gear, pretty comfortably), I think that the jetpack would have a hard time selling.

I suppose that there could be some niche market for this sort of thing though...though even a well-equipped Harley costs significantly less than many cars still.

Re:$100k? (3, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393467)

Are you kidding?
First, I'd love to ahve one of these, assuming it worked as promised.

Second,... ah crap, I don't know, I just want one.

Re:$100k? (4, Insightful)

avandesande (143899) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393549)

Someobody that is going to buy this isn't to buy it in place of a cessna.... it's an expensive toy, albit a very expensive one.

Re: Not a Cessna replacement. (1)

IdeaMan (216340) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393675)

No, you misunderstood: You use this thing to get to and from your Cessna. The question is, can your Cessna hold an additional 250 lbs that bulky?

Re:$100k? (3, Insightful)

hellwig (1325869) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393593)

This should classify as an ultra-light, meaning there's no pilot's license necessary, and you aren't tied-down by most of the traditional FAA regulations. Second, try taking off or landing a Cessna in your driveway.

If you want to talk impractical, look at the Segway. The thing costs over $5000 (USD), and for what, cause you're too lazy to walk somewhere, or too uncoordinated to ride a bicycle? Why not buy a moped for a hell of a lot cheaper?

This will fall into the same niche market as the Segway. People with too much money and nothing better to spend it or their time on.

Re:$100k? (3, Informative)

rcw-work (30090) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393987)

Second, try taking off or landing a Cessna in your driveway.

Unless your driveway is in the sticks, you'll only be able to take off and land this thing there once. After that, the neighbors will have taken out restraining orders preventing you from operating it near them.

There's also this to consider... (1)

deft (253558) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393641)

You know what else you didnt think of? Considering the cost of a honda civic, and gas mileage, not to mention it has room for 4 comfortably, a great track record of fuel efficiency and reliability, we are forgetting the realization that you are seemingly pretty damn boring as a human.

Re:There's also this to consider... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24393853)

hey wow, the only thing missing from that post was the NECROTIC DOG PENIS HUR HURRRRR

Re:$100k? (3, Interesting)

chinakow (83588) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393729)

Who are these mythical 4 people who fit in a 172? I guess if two of them are small children then yes, but no luggage! :-) A pilot and me in a 172 on a day that is over seventy degrees and the pilot starts thinking about how much fuel he can have and still get off the ground. Also that niche is called Genral Aviation or GA for short. You also didn't mention that a brand new 172 costs one hundred and twenty thousand dollars ($120,000). Did I mention that air conditioning adds another $20,000? I went and looked at light sport aircraft a couple weekends ago. None of those where under $100K and LSA is supposed to be the category that gets the general public interested in aviation again. Raise you hand if $100 is less than your yearly income. $100k has been the line for upper class for a long time and here in fly-over country it certainly still seems like a good mark. So the price of this jet pack seems rather reasonable to me. If it is truly under 255 pounds and carries less than 5 gallons of fuel it would also qualify as an ultralight and not need to be certified which would make it more approachable because the pilot would not need to be licensed as a pilot either. I just looked at your link, none of those under $50k planes list engine time. Don't forget to factor another $20k for the engine rebuild as well. Notice that the new planes are listed at ~$200k. Good luck with your 172. I will spend my imaginary money on a jet pack! :-)

Re:$100k? (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393737)

Well, the price of a used Volkswagon is even cheaper; what's your point?

Re:$100k? (1)

SanguineV (1197225) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393769)

It will be a great analogy once you can fit a Cessna 172 in your garage as well as your car and can take off from your back yard. Until then, while the jetpack is obviously much less practical for family holidays, it does offer the potential for personal and convenient transport with far less infrastructure invested in airports.

I would have thought the benefits of jetpacks as personal transport are the goal. We already know how to fly from city to city, but with the congestion problems on the ground, being able to fly from block to block or even building to building could revolutionise urban planning and convenience.

Disclaimers on the safety, cost, etc. this is all some way off for the average person you find driving a car to work... if you even want the average driver in control of a jet.

Re:$100k? (1)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393859)

I totally agree. Pricing would also explain why so few Saturn V rockets are used for recreational purposes. However, it fails to explain why rusty spoons (for carving your heart out) are equally absent from the market.

Excellent (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393399)

These will be perfect for my sharks.

Murderer (4, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393415)

My neighbors can't even handle driving SUVs, but the roads are full of them (and the hell they've made of driving among them).

Turning these people into missiles with jetpacks is a great argument for prioritizing personal force field research.

Re:Murderer (3, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393473)

They will only be a problem for a little while. Mistake will weed them out very quickly.
In the mean time, stay indoors.

Re:Murderer (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393513)

Actually, it's a great argument for making these things even more dangerous, and letting natural selection take its course!

Re:Murderer (1)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393747)

My God! You're right!

You know what's even more dangerous? Airplanes!

Imagine if these things ever were allowed off the ground. People would be flying into houses all of the time. Time to work on that force field!

</sarcasm>

Re:Murderer (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393845)

If airplanes were as available as these jet packs would be, in expense and licensing, then I'd be saying exactly what you're saying. If I survived long enough to say it.

Re:Murderer (1)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393925)

How is this different than when airplanes were first available?

Don't worry, I'm sure it will be regulated soon enough.

Re:Murderer (1)

HiVizDiver (640486) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393827)

The good news is, unlike SUV's where horrible driving skills are rewarded by walking away from an accident unscathed whilst you've maimed the person in the normal-sized vehicle, the operator of this thing will likely get pureed in an accident, allowing natural selection to prove itself more than a theory.

Re:Murderer (1)

grahamd0 (1129971) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393843)

Turning these people into missiles with jetpacks is a great argument for prioritizing personal force field research.

You need a reason to prioritize personal force field research other than personal force fields?!

There'll Be A Slight Delay With Production Models (0, Offtopic)

strelitsa (724743) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393419)

They're still trying to nail down porting Duke Nukem Forever into the console-mounted Nintendo DS.

reckless and brave! (1)

Eto_Demerzel79 (1011949) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393459)

no, I'm not talking about the test pilot but the guy who had the guts to ask her...

In June 1997, seven weeks after the birth of his second child, Mr. Martin figured his prototype was now powerful enough to lift its first flier, so long as that person weighed less than 130 pounds. So he turned to his wife. "I said, Hey, Vanessa, what are you doing tonight? "

but seriously that's quite a feat to do with an ICE, especially if you take into consideration that it needs to be balanced.

As for me personally, I think I'll hold off until they figure out how to fit a microturbine [wikipedia.org] into a school-sized backpack.

Jetpack?!? (2, Informative)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393465)

How high off the ground does a vehicle need to get before it is no longer considered a hovercraft? I don't think this vehicle has ever reached that altitude. "If you can fly it as 3 feet, you can fly it at 3000 feet" is bullshit, if I understand something called "ground effect" correctly.

Re:Jetpack?!? (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393603)

Unless I'm mistaken, ground effect would not apply to lift via vectored thrust, as this thingy uses, only to aerodynamic lift via wings. It's essentially the same principle a VTOL jet uses, only on a different scale.

Re:Jetpack?!? (2, Informative)

IdeaMan (216340) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393897)

Ground effect applies to airplanes, helicopters and of course hovercraft.
I would expect the effect would be much less on this craft given that it has much less surface area than a hovercraft or helicopter.
So yeah, get at least 7 times your width up before you claim free flight (which earlier poster said there are videos of).

Re:Jetpack?!? (3, Interesting)

cervo (626632) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393631)

From TFA: "Only 12 people have flown the jetpack, and no one has gained more than three hours of experience in the air. Mr. Martin plans to take it up to 500 feet within six months. This time, he said with a smile, he will be the first."

In the article it said that the height was limited to allow people to practice at lower altitude. And I think I recall the limit being at 6 feet so far. This statement appears to be about learning to control it at 3 feet before trying to take it 3000 or in the case of the test 500 feet.

There's a good chance soon we'll have a more sensational article about a 500 ft flight soon. Hopefully it won't be part of an obituary.

Re:Jetpack?!? (3, Insightful)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393639)

Depends entirely on how much excess power it has. If he's hovering at 6' off the ground at 75% throttle, it's a pretty good guess he'll be able to go much, much higher. If he's at 90% throttle at 6', I would seriously doubt 3,000' would be possible.

Re:Jetpack?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24393707)

you dont. ground effect is only for lifting bodies. this isnt really one. the rotor discs are too small and enclosed.

Re:Jetpack?!? (1)

Pariah (88204) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393799)

Typically, you get extra lift from ground effect when your wings are within about a wingspan of the ground. (Thus, larger planes can get ground effect while they're higher up.)

This thing uses very short rotary blades, with the thrust being directed by a cowling. Since the machine itself is about six feet tall, I doubt if it's getting any ground effect even when it's ON the ground.

Coolest desire? (0)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393493)

To get a (hot) chick?

Gasoline?!? (4, Funny)

tb()ne (625102) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393517)

No, thanks. I'm waiting for a hybrid or electric jet pack before I buy. One has to be practical about buying a jet pack, given today's gas prices.

Re:Gasoline?!? (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393719)

I'm wondering about a combination of helium pack & electric fans.. might not get the speed but would still be cool.. have to wonder how big the packs would have to be to lift a 180 person though... if it gets to be "car size".. well then, may as well shoot for the flying car instead.

Didn't Mythbusters debunk this? (0, Troll)

Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393553)

This thing looks almost exactly like something that Mythbusters built from purchased plans. They're far from being idiots, and they couldn't get the thing off the ground.

Re:Didn't Mythbusters debunk this? (1)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393809)

You forgot one factor in your argument: Time spent working on project.

27 Years VS About a week.

You do the math.

I think you mean... (3, Funny)

Samah (729132) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393579)

A "Jitpeck"?

Pressure? (0)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393583)

âoeIf you can fly it at 3 feet, you can fly it at 3,000,â/quote.

Except that you're going to have different air pressure, different wind, different temperature...

Not saying it's impossible, but I really hope they don't take it directly from 6 feet up to 6000 and wonder what went wrong.

Altitude Test? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24393609)

I read TFA, and they haven't taken this thing more than six feet off the ground. I'd be happy with 50, so at least I could clear most of the trees on my way to and from work...

Truer words were never spoken (1)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393683)

That's a little anticlimatic,

That sentence of the last paragraph sums it up nicely. Technical detail was mostly absent, however, we are informed directly from the horse's mouth that "it simply flies". Thanks for clearing that one up. Not even a video for the visually fixated. Is there no better article on this?

How about (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393723)

just calling it a microcopter or something and be done with it. It seems to be neither jet nor a pack in any sense of the word(s) :(
It does have landing gear and props pointed up...we used to call those things helicopters....

I suppose the real question is how do you license it/you for use ? I didn't see anything about how one would actually use it other than a toy in your own yard. Oh well 30 minutes flight time still isn't worth dragging it out to get there unless it was straight up anyway.

That's no jetpack... (3, Informative)

elynnia (815633) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393735)

...that's a a ducted fan [wikipedia.org] . As fancy as they are, making a personal flying device out of one was just a matter of improving the power-to-weight ratio.

Although, having read the article, that may be much more simple than an actual jet-engined jetpack for the time being.

-Aly.

MythBusters (2, Informative)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393773)

Looks like he succeeded where the MythBusters [kwc.org] failed. The device looks pretty much identical to the one they built.

I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24393915)

How long will it be before someone creates a mod for normal helicopters, that allows the pilot to be strapped to the front, with external controls?
That's really what this is.

The problem is... (1)

rsmith (90057) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393941)

If the engine dies, so do you.

Nope, there's a backup (3, Informative)

localroger (258128) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394009)

The existing device includes a ballistic recovery system, basically an explosive-launched parachute that you deploy when something goes wrong. The main trick with that is to be flying high enough for the parachute to deploy and float you down. It's a common thing in ultralight aircraft and probably accounts for a lot of the cost. Most ultralight fatalities occur because the failure occurred too low for the BRD to deply, or it fouled in a propeller or something.

NIGG7A (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24393979)

to this. For is mired in an tired argument5 whole has lost In addition, Kreskin share. *BSD is we get there with used to. SHIT ON

Failure modes? (0, Redundant)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394091)

I've said it before that the main problem with these devices is that there is no graceful failure mode - unless you consider "spudder, spudder, AHHHHHHHH, splat" acceptable.

6 Ft? (1)

Powerbear (1227122) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394103)

The highest the inventor has ever flown is 6ft and he ruined it demoing for the reporter by sucking in tree branches..doesn't instill confidence.

With 600lb thrust and a 450lb vehicle and operator weight, the craft only has 3.2m/s2 of vertical acceleration.

If you're 14.4m (50ft) off the ground and decending in excess of 9.6m/s (21mph) you're not going to decelerate to zero before hitting.

Dopey? (1)

Anonymatt (1272506) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394129)

Yes, but say you've just played a sold-out stadium show and need to make an impressive getaway...

If you can't wear it, what's the point? (3, Interesting)

DrBuzzo (913503) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394139)

I wrote about jet packs and if you're interested in information on the realities of jet packs and what they are and need to actually work it's here: http://depletedcranium.com/?p=103 [depletedcranium.com]

Anyway, I'd maintain that the point of a jetpack that makes it especially cool is that it's a pack, as in a back-pack. You thus have air mobility without a vehicle that you have to leave behind once you land. For example, you can strap it on, fly then land in a parking lot, walk into a store and then walk out and take off. If the jetpack needs to be left in a parking space and you can't just bring it wear it with you then it defeats the purpose.

There are already ultra-light helicopters and they do effectively the same thing. All that makes a jetpack special is that it is "truly" wearable. And in order for this to happen you need to keep the weight reasonable - like under a couple hundred pounds at the very most. A person can carry one third of their weight on their back with relatively good comfort and endurance. They can carry more if it's for a short period of time and they're not going very far. If it's an issue of carrying the thing up to your office or something then it might be able to weigh a significant amount of body weight. Still, it could cause injury if it were dragged very far.

To achieve this you need a very light weight jet engine with a very high SFC. (Specific Fuel Consumption). To this end there is one jet engine which stands out, the Williams FJ-22. It weighs only 85 lbs, it has 700+ lbs of thrust and it's reported to have a very high fuel effeciency. High enough for a jetpack? Not known. The unfortunate thing about the little jet is that it only made it to the prototyping phase and after the largest client for the jet, Eclipse Aviation, pulled out, the design was shelved. Thus, it seems that such an engine won't be avaliable in the near future.
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