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Jet Packs, Finally On Sale

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the pretty-penny-pretty-fun dept.

Toys 132

Bad_CRC1945 writes "The good news: Not one, but two companies are selling jet packs. The bad news: The tech has a long way to go. In the past, potential buyers have been stymied by two problems: Rocket belts aren't for sale, and even prototypes run on modern-day fuel (as opposed to whatever the Jetsons use) which means rocket belts can weigh upwards of 100 pounds, with only enough fuel to stay aloft for under a minute." That second problem's still with us, but the article hints that jet-fuel options (for the brave) could considerably extend users' time aloft.

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I've always wondered (2, Interesting)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#33407862)

What exactly is the point of jetpacks supposed to be? They don't seem to be useful for any civilian or military purposes that other technologies aren't more appropriate. Is the obsession with jetpacks just about being like a comic book superhero?

Re:I've always wondered (1)

synnthetic (103582) | more than 4 years ago | (#33407872)

...StarCraft 2

Re:I've always wondered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33407894)

Your tune will change when we find element zero and can create anti-gravity.

Re:I've always wondered (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33407904)

What exactly is the point of jetpacks supposed to be? They don't seem to be useful for any civilian or military purposes that other technologies aren't more appropriate. Is the obsession with jetpacks just about being like a comic book superhero?

Purpose: putting yourself and others at risk. Also known as fun for some people (not for me).

Re:I've always wondered (-1, Troll)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | more than 4 years ago | (#33407936)

Of course not, you're a boring dick

Re:I've always wondered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33409222)

+1 Insightful

Re:I've always wondered (4, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#33407920)

Is the obsession with jetpacks just about being like a comic book superhero?

Pretty sure the answer is yes.

If one wants to fly without an airplane around them, an approach like the Martin Jetpack [wikipedia.org] works much better. Far longer flight time and much more altitude. Cheaper fuel too.

Re:I've always wondered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33408070)

http://www.martinjetpack.com/news/deal-paves-way-for-jetpack-factory.aspx

Re:I've always wondered (1)

RapmasterT (787426) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410436)

except that after 25 years of development, the Martin Jetpack continues to not exist (beyond prototypes that don't perform to published theoretical specs). Hell, if we're pitching things that don't exist against things that do, why not run with anti-gravity and trump them all?

Re:I've always wondered (1)

HBoar (1642149) | more than 4 years ago | (#33411226)

It exists, and it works very well. I know a few of the engineers/test pilots working on it. They even had a journalist flying it some six months ago or so. They're in the final stages of safety testing before it goes into production as I understand.

Re:I've always wondered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33410962)

http://www.martinjetpack.com/news.aspx

The 25 plus years in development is one guy and a couple of mates in a backyard garage, although not technically a "Jet engine" this is still the best contender for a usable device.
Check out the specifications, it works for 30 mins on 5 gal of petrol. a lot of factors ie speed,fuel load etc have been limited so it stays in its aviation class

Re:I've always wondered (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#33407958)

What exactly is the point of jetpacks supposed to be? They don't seem to be useful for any civilian or military purposes that other technologies aren't more appropriate. Is the obsession with jetpacks just about being like a comic book superhero?

Look, sometimes you need an emergency escape plan, like if the Slayer comes after you just because you try to take over Sunnydale. I mean, c'mon, ALL the cool evil kids try to take over Sunnydale! It's a right of passage!

Besides, if you're a Joss Whedon fan with a jetpack, you can be like a leaf on the wind! A very LOUD leaf on the wind. With a similar lifespan as a Whedon show, probably.

And in conclusion, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, might I just add that if you don't understand the appeal of a jetpack, you're dead inside. And that's sad.

Re:I've always wondered (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#33407968)

Wow, I'm tired. Rite of passage, not right. Ugh.

On a more realistic note... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408036)

Look, sometimes you need an emergency escape plan, like if the Slayer comes after you just because you try to take over Sunnydale.

That 19-minute jet-turbine version discussed in TFA seems like just the thing one might need after robbing a bank (or a similar institution) in an urban setting.
Just remember not to rob the Gotham National Bank.
Not only is it a mob bank, but Batman has stashed some irradiated bills there too, PLUS Joker already has plans regarding that particular bank.

Re:On a more realistic note... (-1, Flamebait)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408106)

Nice job breaking it, loserboy nerd. Seriously, what it with you loserboy nerds? Why the fuck did you have to spill Batman's plans for every freak in the Rogue Gallery to read about it? Hurm? Do you fucking want the bad guys to win? Oh, I get it: you're one of those weird f4nb0is who root for the bad guys. You'll be sorry when the Masked Jocks beat you up and shit on your face(TM).

Re:I've always wondered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33410822)

Averaging all the seasons of all of Joss Whedons shows together, you get just under 4 seasons. I'm pretty sure that makes him above average for TV series longevity. He's also managed two feature films from his show ideas (one of them before the actual series was made). That's doing pretty well.

Re:I've always wondered (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 4 years ago | (#33411002)

pedantic.
Joss Whedon worked on the Buffy film, but it was not his idea, not his premise, and not even something normally credited to him primarily. Because he was one of the members of the writing team, he was able to secure head writer and a bunch of other spiffy titles for the TV show, and from there substantially changed the character. You might as well give Kevin Smith writing credit for Star Wars, since he later wrote some stuff that referenced it.

Re:I've always wondered (2, Insightful)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408086)

Humans have always wanted to fly like birds can.

Flying without a plane is as close as you can get to that?

Just to be able to fly from one point to another, no need for a car or other vehicle. No traffic.

Re:I've always wondered (3, Insightful)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408234)

until the sky fills with jetpack equipped people, and one gets there faster by walking.

Re:I've always wondered (1, Funny)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 4 years ago | (#33409714)

until the sky fills with jetpack equipped people, and one gets there faster by walking.

Yey! I can't wait to have a sky full of asian women "driving" a jetpack ;)

Re:I've always wondered (1)

Dr Herbert West (1357769) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410396)

Why is Amiga modded flamebait? Every asian I know makes fun of the way asians drive. Just because it's a stereotype doesn't mean it's not true.

Re:I've always wondered (0)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410784)

Just because it's true doesn't mean it's not flamebait, too.

Re:I've always wondered (2, Funny)

lennier (44736) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410976)

Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails
Pilots of the purple twilight dropping down with costly bales
Heard the heavens fill with thunder, and there rain'd a deadly dew
From the nations' airy navies grappling in the central blue

Dunno about other humans... (2, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408542)

Dunno about other humans, but for me it would be mostly about the "without a plane around me" part, when I have to travel long distance. Airlines suck, frankly.

I remember the last time I was in an aircraft, with some leg space that was too small even for a 5 ft tall woman who was with us, listening to a screaming kid, and peering down into some airliner joke food that was at most good for a goat, I remembered the famous Da Vinci quote, "When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." I thought, you can tell the fucker never tasted _this_ kind of flight :p

If a jetpack could get me from here to there without that hassle, I'm all for it.

Heck, I'd even fork over the money for a zeppelin flight, if they can have some more humane accommodations.

Re:Dunno about other humans... (1)

darthwader (130012) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408908)

If the technology were available to everyone, it would cost more than a first-class ticket on an airliner. Yet most people don't buy first-class tickets. Many of the discount airlines don't even have first class, because they know not enough people are willing to pay for it.

There's the old joke that everyone complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Everyone complains about airline comfort, but very few people do anything about it -- and with airlines, you actually can do something about it.

Airlines give people what they pay for. If you pay for the cheapest flight possible, you're going to get the cheapest flight possible.

Re:Dunno about other humans... (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410798)

for me it would be mostly about the "without a plane around me" part,

I hope you enjoy a bird to the face crushing your skull, then. Travelling at any sort of speed for long distance travel means any sort of collision would be fatal without that plane around you, and you aren't very aerodynamic, so you won't be turning well.

Re:Dunno about other humans... (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 4 years ago | (#33411146)

Decisions, decisions... bird to the face vs risking a thrombosis in the legs after being packed like that in an airplane... I'll take the bird, if I have the choice ;)

About the speed, though (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 4 years ago | (#33411234)

Well, it occurs to me that I wouldn't really need supersonic speeds or anything, actually. People survive motorcycle trips just fine at, say, 100mph, with just a helmet on. And that's not even particularly fast for a motorcycle.

Thing is, if you sum up the actual average speed for the airplane trip, that is dividing the distance by the total time, including:

- half an hour to an hour driving to the airport (unless you're unfortunate enough to actually live near it. They're loud)

- coming one hour early at the airport, so you can make it through the baroque security checkes in time

- 45 minutes waiting in the airplane because the retards forgot to also pack the luggage (I swear it happened more than once)

- about an hour total time at the other airport, including the waiting for the luggage and all

- driving from the other airport to wherever you actually want to be

etc

then you don't really need ridiculous speed to actually beat the airliner there, if you can go in a straight line and don't deal with road congestions. Thing is, most of the short and medium range flights aren't exactly supersonic either.

I'm pretty sure for example that for a Berlin to Vienna trip, you could actually beat the airlines if you flew in a straight line at 100mph without all those delays. Granted, it's only 325 miles, but that's kinda the point. The jetpack wouldn't be something for when you need to fly from Miami to Seattle, but if you need to do a 300-400 miles trip, and assuming that technology gets to the point where that's possible on a single gas tank, you could actually beat an airline nowadays even on a really tame speed.

Re:I've always wondered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33408148)

You've never wanted to fly around without a airplane surrounding you? I mean, yeah, it is dangerous. Some people understand that risk and decide to take it anyways, because they think that whatever the risks, the idea of flying without an airplane is simply worth it.

Re:I've always wondered (1)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408370)

***What exactly is the point of jetpacks supposed to be? ***

There will be some uses for them. Carrying cables across canyons; access to otherwise difficult locations; maybe even some rescue operations eventually. But they are likely to be noisy, dangerous, to have limited load capability. The experimental devices built in the past are said to have a history of leg and leg joint injuries.

Re:I've always wondered (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408634)

If that were the real goal then tip-jet helicopters are more likely better suited to that one person utility flight role http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/helicopters/q0141.shtml [aerospaceweb.org] . Last time they tried them was near fifty years ago, likely with substantially better jet engine technology and composite materials they can do a much better job of them now.

Re:I've always wondered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33408540)

You use them to get to work without the hassle of modern traffic. Jeez, show a little initiative and have some imagination else this idea will *never get off the ground.*

ba-dum-ching

Re:I've always wondered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33408558)

It's the same obssession Space Nutters have with other impractical, useless and utterly infeasible things like asteroid mining, orbital solar power, colonizing Mars, etc...

Re:I've always wondered (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410806)

Exactly, except that none of your examples are infeasible or useless, and only currently impractical.

Re:I've always wondered (1, Interesting)

iamacat (583406) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408612)

What other technologies are appropriate for a soldier quickly getting from point A to point B in the middle of a battle, especially in urban/mountain setting?

Re:I've always wondered (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408676)

Shotguns.

Re:I've always wondered (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410812)

I believe you mean rockets, sir?

Re:I've always wondered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33411204)

No, I'm pretty sure Sulphur meant Shotguns (it's important to have a capital "S").

Re:I've always wondered (1)

digitalaudiorock (1130835) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408922)

What exactly is the point of jetpacks supposed to be? They don't seem to be useful for any civilian or military purposes that other technologies aren't more appropriate. Is the obsession with jetpacks just about being like a comic book superhero?

Either that or an odd fascination with Wile E. Coyote...

Re:I've always wondered (1)

RapmasterT (787426) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410440)

Good point. It's not like people just fly for no reason. I mean except for recreational pilots, parasailers, hang gliders, ultralights, gyrocopters, and a few I've forgotten. Except for all those hundreds of thousands of people, nobody would be interested in pointless flight. total waste of time.

GNAA initiation first post (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33407864)

Are you GAY?

Are you a NIGGER?

What? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33407876)

Why do people think that jet fuel is some futuristic stuff? It is basically kerosene.

A not so big secret is that jet engines became popular, not because they were super-efficient, but because they could burn crappy cheap jet fuel. Thus a less efficient jet engine could run faster and cheaper than a piston-engined aircraft.

Re:What? (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#33407888)

Why do people think that jet fuel is some futuristic stuff? It is basically kerosene.

A not so big secret is that jet engines became popular, not because they were super-efficient, but because they could burn crappy cheap jet fuel. Thus a less efficient jet engine could run faster and cheaper than a piston-engined aircraft.

well... modern jet fuel is a little bit more complicated then this. Deicing agents and the such.

Re:What? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33408026)

Re:What? (0)

luther349 (645380) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408020)

no they became popular for there speed. airliners wanted faster and larger aircraft. and jet engine deliver there. small prop driven aircraft are still the safest to fly. a huge commercial jet airlines falls like a brick when something goes wrong. unless you take a wing off a small aircraft your probably going to survive any sort of engine failer even if it means landing dead stick.

Re:What? (2, Interesting)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408042)

That's funny. People have landed a huge commercial jet dead stick [wikipedia.org] before. Nor do they fall out of the sky when something goes wrong unless they lose a wing.

Re:What? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408468)

Which is why Boeing allows the pilot to override the plane's autopilot. I'd be curious as to how well an Airbus plane would manage that.

Re:What? (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408602)

That's funny. People have fallen two miles out of an airplane into a rainforest and walked to safety. Google Juliane Köpcke sometime. Bottom line, freefall survival is largely up to luck and doesn't indicate a great aircraft design. Terminal velocity is similar to a head on highway collision and favorable winds/landing spot/surface angle can make it survivable. It certainly helped that the girl in question was wearing a seatbelt (and fell together with the seat) and the pilot in question flew gliders for a hobby.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33408854)

Of all the spelling errors in your post, "failer" is the one that takes the cake. You, sir, are a failer.

Er,no - it's engine scalability. (4, Informative)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#33409208)

Completely wrong. Piston engines are limited by the essential geometry of the cylinder/valve combination, plus the maximum piston speed which is geometry independent. Once a spark ignition cylinder exceeds about 500cc, its specific output starts to drop. Beyond 2 liters, diminishing returns set in with a vengeance. Mechanical complexity thus sets a limit to aircraft engine horsepower. (Marine engines can be huge because they don't have to worry about weight.) Turbocharging and supercharging eventually reach the point at which a lot of the thrust is being produced by the exhaust - at which point, replace the mechanical complexity of the piston engine with a relatively simple burner, and you have a jet engine which is simpler, lighter and more reliable.

Bottom line: above a few thousand KW, piston engines for aircraft are simply too complex, expensive and unreliable. The fuel is immaterial.

Re:Er,no - it's engine scalability. (2, Informative)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#33411016)

One prime candidate for the largest piston-driven aircraft engine ever built, the Lycoming R-7755 [wikipedia.org]

You think you have oil consumption problems? Meet the Lycoming R-7755, a 36-cylinder, 5000-hp, turbosupercharged monster displacing 7,755 cubic inches (bore/stroke 6.375 X 6.75 in.) and weighing a mere three tons, give or take a beer keg.

Two of these babies were built in 1946 (one carbureted, one fuel-injected), for the Convair B-36. Pratt & Whitney won the engine contract, ultimately, with its 28-cylinder R-4360 after the Lycoming proved too unreliable. Had Lycoming gotten the contract, the B-36 would have gone into the air with 216 cylinders and 432 spark plugs. Imagine trying to keep 432 spark plugs clean, operating on postwar 115/145 avgas.

The R-7755 was innovative in a number of ways. It was liquid-cooled, which is why the cylinders line up in a perfect line (in 9 rows of 4). Each bank of cylinders had an overhead camshaft. (I don't know of another radial with an overhead cam, do you?) Each cam, in turn, had two sets of lobes: one for high power, the other for long-distance economy cruise. When the pilot chose a different setting, the entire cam would slide lengthwise a couple inches to engage the other set of lobes.

The Air Force spent 10 years battling engine problems in the B-36, many of them related to poor cylinder cooling, others involving carb ice and carburetor fires. None of which would have been a problem with the Lycoming R-7755. Largest Lycoming [blogspot.com]

*Rocket* belt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33407896)

Less exciting? WTF.

30s flight???? (3, Informative)

miknix (1047580) | more than 4 years ago | (#33407928)

On a full tank of hydrogen peroxide the belt weighs 124 to 139 pounds (the bigger the pilot, the bigger the belt), and provides 30 seconds of flight.

From TFA.

Re:30s flight???? (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408062)

That was in 2007. Now, because of the inflation of the Universe and the Moore effect the flight time has almost doubled.

Re:30s flight???? (1)

Johnno74 (252399) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408116)

I wonder if that includes the time inbetween running out of fuel and slamming into the gound.

Just don't spill it on you (2, Interesting)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408326)

Since if it's anything close to the purity they used to use in ME-163 (T-Stoff) it'd give you severe chemical burns.

Re:30s flight???? (2, Interesting)

dominious (1077089) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408660)

also from TFA:

"Thirty-three seconds of fuel makes an inexperienced pilot twitchy." The solution? Ditch the rocket belt, and build a bona fide jet pack (okay, jet belt). Widgery plans to release the T73 Turbine by the end of the year; it's a $200,000 model that will burn jet fuel, allowing it to stay airborne for 19 minutes.

Longer flight possible (1)

nawitus (1621237) | more than 4 years ago | (#33407938)

You could stay up to 10 minutes in the air using a proper jet engine, and I remember reading a company developing such a jet pack. However, that's pretty much the same as strapping a Williams X-Jet to your back, which is old technology.

Re:Longer flight possible (2, Informative)

infolation (840436) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408000)

(from TFA) Widgery plans to release the T73 Turbine by the end of the year; it's a $200,000 model that will burn jet fuel, allowing it to stay airborne for 19 minutes.

News from 2007 now? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33407998)

The article appears to be from June 14, 2007. Here's one from this year:
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/aviation/diy-flying/martin-aircraft-jet-pack-for-sale

sport plane (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408004)

wasent the issue with jetpacks heat and cold burning fule being expensive and not efficient. and for 200k you can buy a sport aircraft liance and all. and can fly it pretty much anywhere unlike a ultralight or jetpack.

Re:sport plane (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408480)

Heat was, as was fuel. But I think there were other issues such as balancing the thrust, properly controlling it and putting the individual back on the ground gently enough not to break any bones.

And yet... (3, Interesting)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408030)

... neither of them provide more performance than Captain Keds got out of his when he punched out of the big paper mache football and flew around the field at halftime of Superbowl 1 in 1967. Armadillo Aerospace is top notch in H2O2 propulsion systems, and they aren't building one. I bet there's a good reason.

Re:And yet... (1)

M3lf.cz (983459) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408850)

Well, they already built something like that [armadilloaerospace.com] a while ago. But they are currently concentrating on suborbital VTVL rockets anyway.

The Future Today in 30s - makes perfect sense (2, Funny)

NZheretic (23872) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408032)

In 1980 they said that by 2010 some of us would be using jet packs to commute to work.
What they did not foresee in 1980 was the rise of telecommuting and that those same commuters would not have to travel very far.
Hence the need for only thirty seconds of flight time - it all make perfect sense.

Re:The Future Today in 30s - makes perfect sense (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408054)

What they did not foresee in 1980 was the rise of telecommuting and that those same commuters would not have to travel very far.

More to the point, even though it is 2010 the laws of physics still apply, and there haven't been significant breakthroughs in compact power plants for jet packs.

Re:The Future Today in 30s - makes perfect sense (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408246)

because in 1980 at&t was still boss of the lines, and the connections where barely there for text.

Jet fuel? (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408048)

You pansy. Strap some JATO rockets on your back and light those suckers!

They'll have to do better than 30 seconds (1)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408052)

before I change my sig. I like this one.

Re:They'll have to do better than 30 seconds (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408108)

Is it sad that I thought about your sig when I saw the article?

Re:They'll have to do better than 30 seconds (1)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408300)

It certainly means that we both spend too much time here.

Re:They'll have to do better than 30 seconds (1)

dominious (1077089) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408666)

well, keep checking:

FTFA

"Thirty-three seconds of fuel makes an inexperienced pilot twitchy." The solution? Ditch the rocket belt, and build a bona fide jet pack (okay, jet belt). Widgery plans to release the T73 Turbine by the end of the year; it's a $200,000 model that will burn jet fuel, allowing it to stay airborne for 19 minutes.

Hydrogen peroxide is not inert! (3, Interesting)

melonman (608440) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408056)

TFA suggests that replacing "inert" hydrogen peroxide with propane will make jet packs more dangerous. Maybe, maybe not, but hydrogen peroxide is a powerful oxidant that attacks many organic compounds (eg people) and can explode. It's not inert by any stretch of the imagination - how useful would an inert rocket fuel be in any case?

Strapping a propane cylinder to your back might not be great either, but I suspect propane is easier to manage.

There's a summary of H202 safety risks here [wikipedia.org]

Re:Hydrogen peroxide is not inert! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33408076)

H2O2 inert? My thoughts exactly, when I read the article. The WWII Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet rocket-powered fighter used hydrogen peroxide which could, if mishandled, literally dissolve the pilot or ground crew. At worst it resulted in a rather huge explosion. Inert my foot!

Re:Hydrogen peroxide is not inert! (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408708)

I came here to say this. If I'm strapping on a backpack tank, I'll pass up the H2O2 in favor of, well, just about anything else. Certainly, jet fuel and propane are positively benign by comparison.

Real jet packs semi feasible. (2, Interesting)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408078)

The problem with jet packs has been specific impulse. You simply cannot get enough power density into something you can heft on your back and walk around with, at least not without any usable flight time or performance.

I've often thought small jet engines used in RC planes (~40lbs thrust) could be stacked up (6-8) of them to give you a jet pack. But nowadays you can buy a small jet engine designed for UAVs that might weighs 40 pounds and produces 200+ pounds of thrust, these kind of engines have been fitted to gliders.

In terms of a true jet pack. Allowing some weight for fins, a fuel tank and harness you have a 170lb dry weight with three engines. Not much of a real 'pack' then.

So the problems remain, even with the high specific impulse of a jet. You would need to add about your own weight in fuel for one hours flight time.

More ingenious gadget to me, would be a hot air balloon that fits and deploys from a backpack using the same technology that allows large parachutes to be packed into small spaces.

Re:Real jet packs semi feasible. (3, Interesting)

Baron_Yam (643147) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408096)

Instead of a hot air balloon, why not inflatable wings? You strap on the pack (which really should come with 'training wheels' so you don't crack your knees on landing) and when you get to 100' and have some horizontal velocity, out pop the wings to give you some extra lift.

It's not as crazy as it sounds; Back in WWII we had entire ultralight airplanes that would inflate out of a suitcase... and apparently the test pilots said they were very smooth in flight.

Re:Real jet packs semi feasible. (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408242)

"It's not as crazy as it sounds; Back in WWII we had entire ultralight airplanes that would inflate out of a suitcase... and apparently the test pilots said they were very smooth in flight."

ULTRALIGHTS in WWII ? I call bullshit. The lightweight stuff needed for an 'ultralight' craft ,with the exception of Aluminum, did not exist in a viable form, to make an 'ultralight' craft.

Inflate? Have you ever slept on a WWII air mattress? Did you ever have to pack one around with you?
Those things weighed a lot and were not firm enough for use as inflatable wings. They would need some sort of structure to give the inflatable stuff ridgidity(sp). That alone would add too much weight to the aircraft.

CitationS needed. Dad flew aircraft back in WWII. While he was not an expert, he did see a semi-dirigible monstrosity being tested for use. It was for easy transportation to the field of
operations, it was a miniature version of the Hindenburg, as he recalled to me many years ago.

Show me some sources, more than one. It is ALL declassified by now.

Re:Real jet packs semi feasible. (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408722)

Goodyear Inflatoplane [wikipedia.org]

Quite a bit more than a suitcase. It would fit in the back of a pickup, or perhaps a couple of them in a one-ton truck with a crane for unloading.

Re:Real jet packs semi feasible. (1)

M3lf.cz (983459) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408916)

But nowadays you can buy a small jet engine designed for UAVs that might weighs 40 pounds and produces 200+ pounds of thrust, these kind of engines have been fitted to gliders.

a jet powered Blanik glider [youtube.com]

Re:Real jet packs semi feasible. (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 4 years ago | (#33409180)

If battery tech were no object (infinitely powerful and capacity), and carbon buckyballs/nanotubes were trivial to make, how light, big and quiet in theory could we make a 'jetpack'?

Forget Jetpacks- I want Dick Tray Flying Trashcans (4, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408084)

I remember back in the early 80s some DoD contractor had a prototype of a flying "trashcan" like in the Dick Tray comics.
I thought it had some sort of jet engine with a steerable nozzle on the bottom. I think it was probably the Williams X-Jet, [wikimedia.org] but I swear it was painted stealth black.

I used to dream about having one of those, and even as an adult I think it would be so cool to fly one of those around.

I'm guessing that the program probably got canceled because of stability problems. But I would expect that now, with high speed DSPs and gyros like Dean Kamen has used for his scooter and his ubercool wheelchair, that the stability problems could be overcome.

Difficulty for maneuver (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408152)

If I remember correctly, one of the difficulties faced by the guy who made jetpacks in Mexico was that they were very difficult to mantain stable...

My though is that it should be trivial to equip the thing with an array of small jets (in addition to the big ones used for propulsion) which are connected to a "leveling system" controlled electronically (a few gyroscopes or leveler ICs with some logic will solve the problem).

"Trivial..." (2, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408524)

Remind me never to offer you a job. If you think that stabilising a variable-geometry (people can move) rocket system with "a few gyroscopes...with some logic" is trivial, you are either a genius to make Newton look like a moron, or you have absolutely no idea of what you are talking about. I venture to suspect the latter.

There is a reason why the term "rocket science" is used to suggest something is more than a bit difficult. But thank you for giving an old-timer a bit of amusement at the expense of what I suspect is one of today's teenagers.

Re:"Trivial..." (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33410826)

I can build it with lego bricks, in my basement!
Rocket Science is what old-timers think of when they need to use slide rules, we have php now buddy, we can code a rocketship in a webpage!

Old Article.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33408182)

Slashdot are posting articles from 2007 as "breaking news" now?

So we've got the jetpack (1)

funkatron (912521) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408306)

Do they sell trousers with heat proofing around the arse? This seems to be a detail most tv/film jet packs ignore.

Re:So we've got the jetpack (2, Funny)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408516)

Just wear a pair of Depends(R). It'll cover the heat load of 30 seconds of flight, and the other kind of load encountered when a pilot discovers they have counted to 30 too slowly.

Martin Jet Pack 30min's jetting on 5gal reg gas! (1)

cellurl (906920) | more than 4 years ago | (#33408322)

I didn't see this mentioned, but this is big news.
The
New Zealand's Martin Aircraft Company
as you probably know has the holy grail of jetson-travel.
I vow to fly one.
martin jet pack [youtube.com]

Speed up dude [wikispeedia.org]

Williams engine turbo jetpack (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#33409330)

The best design in this line was the Bell gas-turbine powered jetpack, powered by a Williams jet engine. Burned jet fuel, ran for about 20 minutes. That was in 1965.

Sam Williams (1921-2009) seems to have been one of the few, if not the only, person who could design good little turbine engines. He did the one for the jetpack, the ones for US cruise missiles, the one for the Army's flying platform VTOL, and his company, Williams International, makes engines for small business jets.

The basic frustration with small turbofan jet engines is that below bizjet size, they don't get much cheaper. That's why general aviation is still mostly piston-powered. The minimum economic size seems to be suitable for a 5-6 passenger bizjet. This is not for lack of trying. About a half-dozen companies have gone bankrupt trying to build small general-aviation jet aircraft.

So a jetpack with reasonable flight time is quite possible, if you're willing to pay what a business jet costs.

Re:Williams engine turbo jetpack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33409952)

I bet the FAA certification process doesn't help any either. For the upstart companies without the gov't contracts, I bet that eats half the budget right there. Although it was originally put into place for good reason.

It's why the piston engine technology available in most civil aircraft is often decades behind what people have in their cars. Car engines can be lighter weight, have electronic engine management, get better fuel economy and produce more power per unit weight with turbocharging and direct fuel injection, better reliability with much longer service intervals, etc. Piston aircraft engines are often carbureted and still require manual control of mix and choke. We're talking 1930's tech here. Seriously.

Re:Williams engine turbo jetpack (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410448)

The small ones require similar fuel and air management tech to the large ones, so unless costs are cut in the core engine sections by dramatic material improvements, they will stay expensive.

Available Now! The Jet Pack - Mitchell & Webb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33410338)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDIojhOkV4w

Practical? No. Fun? Yes! (1)

Mark of THE CITY (97325) | more than 4 years ago | (#33411106)

How many halftime shows?

How many Bond films?

Wings? (1)

GWBasic (900357) | more than 4 years ago | (#33411192)

So I'm not an aviation engineer, but couldn't someone combine a jetpack with some wings so that naturally-occurring lift could be used to reduce fuel consumption once the person was above trees and buildings? Perhaps two 5-foot wings that could be folded and stored in a closet? Would you need 2-3 minutes of fuel in order to take off, stop, and land safely?

Are you kidding? (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 4 years ago | (#33411236)

US$155,000, the cheapest one, for 33 seconds flight time?

How about US$139,000 for one hour? http://jetlev.com/Pages/tech.html [jetlev.com]

Sure, it's gotta be over water, but it runs on four-stroke engine with ordinary petrol and you get ONE HOUR!

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