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The First 'Practical' Jetpack May Be On Sale In Two Years

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the for-sufficiently-impractical-values-of-practical dept.

Transportation 127

Daniel_Stuckey writes "This week, New Zealand-based company Martin Aircraft became certified to take what it calls 'the world's first practical jetpack' out for a series of manned test flights. If all goes well, the company plans to start selling a consumer version of the jetpack in 2015, starting at $150,000 to $200,000 and eventually dropping to $100,000. 'For us it's a very important step because it moves it out of what I call a dream into something which I believe we're now in a position to commercialize and take forward very quickly,' CEO Peter Coker told the AFP."

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Could somebody... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558427)

Could someone just lend me $150,000.. I have something I need to buy.

Re:Could somebody... (5, Insightful)

capnkr (1153623) | about a year ago | (#44558599)

You'd better "earmark" a portion of that $150K for some serious hearing protection...

Watched the video and *phew* is that thing ever noisy, and in a range which is bothersome - like an overlarge mosquito.

Re:Could somebody... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44561787)

And what about flying debris this thing will kick up?

Re:Could somebody... (3, Funny)

durrr (1316311) | about a year ago | (#44558617)

It's a ducted fanpack not a jetpack.
Not to be mistaken for a ducted fannypack.

Re:Could somebody... (3, Funny)

RenderSeven (938535) | about a year ago | (#44558831)

Sure! Please forward your name, social security number, and bank information and I'll have the funds transferred to, er, from Nigeria immediately.

It's not a jet pack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558437)

Just sayin'

Re:It's not a jet pack (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#44558513)

Yeah, more like a 400lb deathtrap with a seatbelt.

Re:It's not a jet pack (2)

91degrees (207121) | about a year ago | (#44562643)

At least having a seatbelt makes it a safe deathtrap.

Re:It's not a jet pack (3, Insightful)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about a year ago | (#44559185)

Just sayin'

Yep, noticed that 33 seconds into the video when it didn't run out of fuel.

Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558459)

From the people that brought you the horseless carriage comes... the chairless helicopter!

Practical (4, Insightful)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year ago | (#44558479)

30 minutes max... 400 pounds.... starting at $150,000

I think this guy has a skewed idea of practical.

Re:Practical (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558561)

50km/hr for 30 minutes is 25km.

Halve that for a return trip, and halve it again for a safety margin, and anyone who lives within 6km of work now has a viable method of commuting that completely avoids traffic.

Re:Practical (1)

durrr (1316311) | about a year ago | (#44558795)

It says 60mph in the vice article. And depending on your workplace you could perhaps refill the jetpack before you fly back home.
Even if we're conservative with our fuel use that still let us live some ~15 kilometer from work and reach it with little concern for traffic and roads, in ~10-15 minutes only! Now weather is a different matter. As is fuel use... and maintenance requirements.

For $100k, if it's easy to fly and safe I could see it become quite common. Once they get the range up a bit more along with less noise it could be a must have.

Re:Practical (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | about a year ago | (#44561161)

It says 60mph in the vice article.

With traffic, it'll be 50mph :-)

Thing is, I can imagine this thing carrying a parachute for an emergency, but it would have to be flying real high to be able to deploy it in time if engine cuts out unpredictably. Still leaves the question of take-off and landings (if engine dies when you're say 50 feet of the ground...). With airplanes and helicopters you can at least glide back.... with this thing, it would just fall like a rock.

Re:Practical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44559597)

Or need 30 minutes of air time to search rugged bush for someone who is missing?
Or have one on a firefighters ladder truck for high rise rescue, or coastal rescue, much faster to fire up the fan(ny) pack than get an RIB out though heavy surf. Pleasure flights and joy rides, and the flight time is simlar to other ultra light aircraft you can fly without a full pilots licence. Easier to store than a gyro copter, that still can't hover and is not VTOL.
Aerial photography? Much cheaper than a chopper flight.
The Bell Rocket belt still gets used for publicity and demo flights, and that can only fly for 30 seconds or so.
I think the Martin Jetpack will make a killing!

Re:Practical (1)

rullywowr (1831632) | about a year ago | (#44561631)

Or have one on a firefighters ladder truck for high rise rescue, or coastal rescue, much faster to fire up the fan(ny) pack than get an RIB out though heavy surf.

Oh yeah, because having a large ducted fan near a fire is always the best way to put it out.

Re:Practical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44560549)

Of course if you have the disposable income to get that thing, you can easily pay somebody else to do the driving on your workday commute for you. Or you're likely to be in a position at your job where you have a say in whether or not you telecommute. As far as practicality goes, his ducted fan flyer is pretty much a toy outside a few mundane uses.

Re:Practical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44562201)

I live 5km from work. I walk to and back from work every day.
It doesn't avoid traffic completely but it is good enough and keeps me in shape.

This is however great for those who live between 5 and 6 km from work.

Re:Practical (2)

macson_g (1551397) | about a year ago | (#44562327)

anyone who lives within 6km of work now has a viable method of commuting that completely avoids traffic

It's called 'bicycle', and it's slightly cheaper than 150k$.

Re:Practical (1)

Spudley (171066) | about a year ago | (#44562419)

50km/hr for 30 minutes is 25km.

Halve that for a return trip, and halve it again for a safety margin, and anyone who lives within 6km of work now has a viable method of commuting that completely avoids traffic.

Anyone who lives within 6km of work and earns a bucketload of cash.

That narrows it down a bit further.

Still I'm sure they'll manage to sell enough of them to make some money. At least until the first fatal accident, anyway.

Re:Practical (3, Informative)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about a year ago | (#44558569)

It *is* practical, if you are a narcissistic, sociopathic, self-anointed demigod, bent on showering the world with your Putin-esque, machismo mojo.

Re:Practical (2)

RenderSeven (938535) | about a year ago | (#44558849)

It *is* practical, if you are a narcissistic, sociopathic, self-anointed demigod, bent on showering the world with your Putin-esque, machismo mojo.

So, for politicians, CEO's and actors?

Re:Practical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44559015)

Hell, I'd take one if I could afford it. I commute about 10km as the crow flies, so it would be perfect.

Re:Practical (1)

Quasimodem (719423) | about a year ago | (#44559591)

Actually, I believe you would need two (2) Jetpacks to fly a cow.

And then all those long bovine flying lessons.

Re:Practical (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44560181)

That might have been a 2 on a scale of 1-10 funny, if the ac had misspelled crow, cow. Since he didn't, it's an 11 on a scale of 1-10 stupid.

Re:Practical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44560621)

So, for politicians, CEO's and actors?

And BMW drivers...get these jerks off the road.

Re:Practical (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year ago | (#44558723)

I think this guy has a skewed idea of practical.

It's all relative. This is at least conceivably practical for specialized, high-value uses. When you compare to earlier jet packs, which had similar cost and weight but lasted only three or four minutes, it's quite practical.

Re:Practical (2)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about a year ago | (#44558821)

If you could get a single paramedic across town in 5 minutes, versus the time it'd take several to mount and spin up a helocopter, etc. this seems fairly practical to me. That said, a jetpack just seems impractical at this point - it's science fiction. We can't illicit enough thrust from something so compact as to be practical.

That said, it's got a 30 mile range. They really need to think about a rotobird variant, either single or double blade. I'm guessing it could be done for less than $50k, bringing it well within range of the motorcycle/thrill seeker enthusiast...

Re:Practical (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#44559059)

If you could get a single paramedic across town in 5 minutes,

Then you still have to get him, and the patient, back. And you may not have heard, but Americans are getting heavier by the year -- we're having to upgrade to heavy duty gurneys, MRI machines with reinforced steel loaders... people are having to be cut out of their homes for transport because they've turned all Jabba the Hut. You're not going to take two average americans, put them on a scale, and come in at under 400 pounds. Sorry. But even if you could, people lie about their weight and that means you'll be showing up with a medic dropping in ala Minority Report... only to wind up doing absolutely nothing. And this is ignoring the medical equipment he has to carry!

No. This not "fairly practical". This is barely even feasible, and certainly not a replacement for existing technology.

We can't illicit enough thrust from something so compact as to be practical.

I think you're confused. What you meant to say was we don't have anything with a high enough energy density and can be easily converted to power/thrust to be a useful fuel source for a jet pack. Thrust isn't the problem; I could strap a DC-10 engine to your back. It would definately provide enough thrust. It would simply crush you to death on landing. -_-

That said, it's got a 30 mile range. They really need to think about a rotobird variant, either single or double blade.

Jet. Pack. 'nuff said.

I'm guessing it could be done for less than $50k, bringing it well within range of the motorcycle/thrill seeker enthusiast...

First, a motorcycle rider isn't in the same category as a "Thrill seeker". Maybe the people that ride around in Ninjas and crotch rockets... but the rest of us who ride have a term for those people: Organ donors. Most people ride motorcycles because they're liberating, they're fuel efficient, and because they have fast reflexes. Mostly that's because of people who drive cars stupidly... motorcyclists are amongst the most safety-conscious people on the road. Okay, rant done.

Second... $50k? Really? Would you trust strapping yourself into a device that, should any major component fail will have the last few seconds of your life be you screaming "OH FUUUUUUUUUUUU---" as you crater into the Earth... that was built by the lowest bidder?

Jet packs have a very thin safety margin. You can't get away from that. So if you want something that's even remotely safe, you're going to need something that is regularly maintained by experts, and whose components are of the absolute highest quality. Because out of the hundreds of components required, only one has to fail to lead to a human hamburger moment. $50 is unrealistic.

Re:Practical (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#44559209)

The jetpack should provide more than enough thrust for a paramedic, a small bottle of oxygen, a handful of epi pens, and a portable AED. That rapid first response could be quite valuable in terms of stabilizing the patient in many cases even if it does still take a few extra minutes for the ambulance to arrive.

That said, even in spite of that, the entire concept still borders on insane. :-)

Re:Practical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44559311)

If you could get a single paramedic across town in 5 minutes,

Then you still have to get him, and the patient, back.

Yes, and while you're waiting for that ambulance to arrive you have a paramedic on-site keeping the patient alive.

I've seen this sort of thing from you so often that I'm starting to wonder if you intentionally miss the points people are trying to make, or if you're in such a hurry to rant about how the US is going to Hell that you've stopped reading the posts you reply to.

Second... $50k? Really? Would you trust strapping yourself into a device that, should any major component fail will have the last few seconds of your life be you screaming "OH FUUUUUUUUUUUU---" as you crater into the Earth... that was built by the lowest bidder?

If it's been through the famously anal regulatory system that is the FAA (or local equivalent), then yes. Do you somehow think that Boeing et al don't try to make their aircraft as cheaply as possible too?

Re:Practical (1)

unkiereamus (1061340) | about a year ago | (#44560111)

First, a motorcycle rider isn't in the same category as a "Thrill seeker". Maybe the people that ride around in Ninjas and crotch rockets... but the rest of us who ride have a term for those people: Organ donors. Most people ride motorcycles because they're liberating, they're fuel efficient, and because they have fast reflexes. Mostly that's because of people who drive cars stupidly... motorcyclists are amongst the most safety-conscious people on the road. Okay, rant done.

I take some objection to that notion. Possibly thrill seeker is a little extreme, but motorcycle riders can certainly be be categorized at least as being non-risk adverse. There is no doubt that riding a motorcycle is vastly more dangerous than driving a car, is you're someone who categorizes that as important, and especially if you're not going to counterbalance that fact in the decision making process that motorcycles are vastly more fun than cars (or as you call it, liberating), then you're not going to ride one.

I understand your desire not to be lumped in with squids, which is perhaps what GP was thinking, but motorcycle riders are thrill seekers.

Right now, btw, I have the credentials to talk about this, given that I'm currently bed confined s/p surgery to fix the leg I broke after my front tire blew out (a week and a half after I replaced both tires!)...and I'm anxious because I expect to get my bike back tomorrow so I can find out what I'm going to need to do to it to get it running by the time I'm healed.

Re:Practical (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#44562233)

Then you still have to get him, and the patient, back.

No you don't. There are already motorbike and bicycle paramedics who can get the patient assessed and stabilised before the ambulance gets there.

Not that I expect this to be a practical alternative, but that point at least is invalid.

Re:Practical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44559237)

"elicit"

Flying cops?

Re:Practical (5, Funny)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#44558883)

30 minutes max... 400 pounds....

A Pentium 4 laptop on battery?

Re:Practical (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#44559001)

The price is "a bit" impractical. If this 400lb includes the chute with an automatic ejector that triggers upon loss of thrust (measured by an accelerometer), then it's OK. It'd be a deathtrap without a chute that will unfurl and slow you down with a minimum loss of altitude. I'd think if the survivable loss-of-thrust altitude was 25m, I'd consider buying it after it dropped to $65k or so. This means that the chute must have pyro ejectors and whatnot, and it better be demonstrated that it actually works :)

Re:Practical (1)

Quasimodem (719423) | about a year ago | (#44559735)

That 150 grand breaks down as 10 thousand for the Jetpack, 60 thousand public damage and liability insurance and 80 thousand hospitalization / life insurance with an extra 50 thousand if you wish to be covered for "collision with the ground."

fuel is on top of that as well FAA fines / jail ti (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44561353)

fuel is on top of that as well FAA fines / jail time if you mess with other air traffic.

Next up... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558485)

Now we just need to get a Kickstarter going to fund Spinfusor development.

Ultralight VTOL (1)

radtea (464814) | about a year ago | (#44558497)

This is the VTOL equivalent of the ultra-light aircraft: take away everything but the barest essentials, and a "jet pack" is what you have left.

Unlike conventional ultralights, "the barest essentials" in this case don't even include wings, due to the greater thrust of jet engines.

Computer control is clearly very important to making this thing work--I bet there is a very clever stablization algorithm at work in the background, and various emergency control and landing modes that make it relatively idiot-proof.

Re:Ultralight VTOL (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year ago | (#44558623)

due to the greater thrust of jet engines.

This machine uses ducted fans. Not jets.

Re:Ultralight VTOL (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#44559019)

Emergency control? On what, a ducted fan? If you lose thrust, there better be a bunch of pyros that eject and forcibly unfurl a chute for you, otherwise you're dead.

Re:Ultralight VTOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44559617)

Yes there is. They did a high altitude hover and pyro chute deployment test last year. Awesome view!

Re:Ultralight VTOL (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | about a year ago | (#44561191)

make it relatively idiot-proof.

That sounds like a challenge!

Re:Ultralight VTOL (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year ago | (#44561207)

Back in the sixties, Popular Science had on the front cover a true jetpack developed by Bell Helicopters. I believe there was some demonstration videos. Then, something happened, as Hawking would say and nothing more was ever heard.

More like a ultralight helicopter (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#44558519)

This thing is heavier than some ultralight helicopters.

If you want an ultralight helicopter, they're available [rotorfx.com] for as little as $6,000.

Re:More like a ultralight helicopter (5, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44558543)

This thing is heavier than some ultralight helicopters.

If you want an ultralight helicopter, they're available [rotorfx.com] for as little as $6,000.

FYI, My wife will not be happy about you providing that link. You did a baaaaad thing :)

I, on the other hand, can't think of a more fun way to get myself killed! Well, not for the low, low price of 6 grand, anyway.

Re:More like a ultralight helicopter (1)

Ken_g6 (775014) | about a year ago | (#44559061)

This thing is heavier than some ultralight helicopters.

If you want an ultralight helicopter, they're available [rotorfx.com] for as little as $6,000.

FYI, My wife will not be happy about you providing that link. You did a baaaaad thing :)

I, on the other hand, can't think of a more fun way to get myself killed! Well, not for the low, low price of 6 grand, anyway.

I, on the other hand, would prefer to avoid the risk of falling to my death. So what I'd really like to get is something like this. [gizmag.com] It's an Oculus Rift + a quadcopter. (But the model they use there is too expensive.)

Re:More like a ultralight helicopter (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44559195)

I, on the other hand, am in awe of the drone possibilities in a craft that costs so little. Delete the pilot and his instrumentation and add their weight in a fuel can and control hardware...

Re:More like a ultralight helicopter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558573)

And unlike a rotorfx, this 'jetpack' will require a pilots license due to the weight.

Re:More like a ultralight helicopter (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about a year ago | (#44560183)

Yes, but regulations aside, learning to fly either a helicopter or jet-pack before using one yourself is probably a lifespan extending activity.

I wonder how you learn to fly the jetpack. There are lots of 2-person helicopters to learn in. The jetpack seems to offer a lot of wile-e-coyote possibilities if you don't know exactly what you are doing.

Re: More like a ultralight helicopter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558621)

The deposit starts at 6k; the price for the whole thing starts at 28k.

Re:More like a ultralight helicopter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558633)

Read the pricing a bit more carefully. They're certainly not that cheap.

Re:More like a ultralight helicopter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558685)

Nice try but the $6000 is just the *deposit* for the full kit. The cost of the whole build-it-yourself kit is $28,000. If you want them to build it you're looking at $34,500. Still a far cry cheaper than this "jetpack" and a hell of a lot safer.

Re:More like a ultralight helicopter (1)

durrr (1316311) | about a year ago | (#44558841)

The AIR model costs $28000 in a self-assembly kit.
Still, that is suprisingly cheap.

Re:More like a ultralight helicopter (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#44559163)

Nope, that's the deposit. The cheapest one (AIR) goes for $28,000 in kit form, with discount applied.

Re:More like a ultralight helicopter (4, Funny)

RenderSeven (938535) | about a year ago | (#44559315)

You can probably get one cheaper at the Estate Sale

Re:More like a ultralight helicopter (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#44559415)

Well yes, I agree, it would be "the" estate sale to be at :) Now just good luck finding such an estate sale, and we're all set.

Re:More like a ultralight helicopter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44560961)

$28,000 for the full kit, $34,500 assembled.
the $6000 is a deposit

hmm (5, Insightful)

orbitalia (470425) | about a year ago | (#44558539)

Only it's not practical, a jet, or a pack.

Re:hmm (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44559107)

Also you can't put turbines in ground effect like that, they won't last 10 flights. A totally idiotic idea.

Noise (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558559)

The best part is how quiet it is ... can't want until hundreds of people are commuting in that :)

Within Two Years? (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about a year ago | (#44558589)

I thought they were available now [youtube.com] .

I'd rather have (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44558613)

A portable, one man blimp with pedal power.

just try to keep me out of your cactus farm now!

Where's the "Acme" label? (1)

dasgoober (2882045) | about a year ago | (#44558649)

Looks like the Coyote strapped some jets to grampa's rocking chair.

Prepare yourself... (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about a year ago | (#44558677)

Prepare yourself for a shock. I'm the Rocketeer.

Re:Prepare yourself... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44559039)

The Rockewho?

Practically, practical. (1)

Lashat (1041424) | about a year ago | (#44558681)

You can say it's the "first practical jetpack".

It costs over $100,000.
It's not allowed in "urban areas"

Not practical for 99.999999999999999% of people.
I could add more 9's but it isn't practical.

Math lesson (4, Funny)

somepunk (720296) | about a year ago | (#44558973)

Not practical for 99.999999999999999% of people.

99% is all but one in a hundred, or 1e2.. add a power of ten for each 9, and you get.. 1e17, or all but 1 in 100 million billion. People? That's more people than ever existed. I think this thing is at least practical for the promoters, or at least whomever has been recieving the money they spend on devlopment and promotion. You'd still be off if you counted each person's individual cells.

I could add more 9's

No, you've added quite enough already.

Loud (1)

Required Snark (1702878) | about a year ago | (#44558689)

Very loud.

I can't imagine a situation where these would be allowed unfettered flight over urban areas because of the noise. From the video, it seems like full ear protection is required even for the ground crew. The noise limits the useability.

Re:Loud (1)

jonyen (2633919) | about a year ago | (#44558749)

First person to buy one of these is going to get shot down for their obnoxiousness. Maybe I'll consider getting one after the early adopter phase is over.

Please change title to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558697)

Super Expensive Fan Chair.

Thanks.

oblig. haiku (2)

avandesande (143899) | about a year ago | (#44558709)

floating above earth
ariel shriek of mower
meet a grassy death

I'll take a skycar please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44558787)

Reminds of a mini Moller Skycar M400 M400 [moller.com] , except it works. I've been following the M400 since about 1990 in hopes it might actually make it somewhere, unfortunately, this is as good at it has gotten. [youtube.com] I've never understood why the last decade in computer advances haven't lent something towards stability for that crazy thing. Maybe they should take a lesson from this. I've given up on Moller's sky car, yet things like this make me still dream about it. Oh well...

SkyCar Please!!! (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#44558839)

Reminds of a mini Moller Skycar M400 [moller.com] , except it works. I've been following the M400 since about 1990 in hopes it might actually make it somewhere, unfortunately, this is as good at it has gotten. [youtube.com] never understood why the last decade in computer advances haven't lent something towards stability for that crazy thing. Maybe they should take a lesson from this. I've given up on Moller's sky car, yet things like this make me still dream about it. Oh well...

Awesome (5, Funny)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#44558871)

Can't wait to take my jetpack to the Hyperloop station so I can commute to my job in Atlantis.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44559147)

now i can pick the drones out of the sky and keep them with my butterfly collection.
i am the King of the Rocket Men...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_of_the_Rocket_Men

A Beowulf cluster of leaf blowers... (1)

cruff (171569) | about a year ago | (#44558875)

Apparently this was built using a Beowulf cluster of leaf blowers. Your neighbors will be thrilled with you when you jet off at 6 AM. But it sure looks damn cool to fly around in.

Re:A Beowulf cluster of leaf blowers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44559173)

I always thought it would be interesting to put wings on a leaf blower and turn it into a giant RC plane. If it works, I'd build a GPS-guided version, set the coordinates to someplace out in the desert, and attach it to all the blowers in my area.

How is this better than an ultralight helicopter? (3, Interesting)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about a year ago | (#44558997)

Look at the Mosquito aviation stuff: http://www.innovator.mosquito.net.nz/mbbs2/mosqspec.asp [mosquito.net.nz]
1 hour endurance at 70mph at 5 gph. 1/3 the horsepower and higher cruise speed.
The mosquito costs $30K. for a kit, 200 hours build time.

People build helicopters rather than lift-jets because moving a large volume of air slowly is more efficient than moving a small volume of air quickly. (force is goes as (M/s)*V, power as (M/s)*V^2).

A compact jet pack you could wear would be great, the this isn't it.

Re:How is this better than an ultralight helicopte (1)

TheSync (5291) | about a year ago | (#44559117)

So why are these ultralight helicopters mainly controlled by a person? It seems to me they would be safer if fly-bi-wire with a computer doing most of the work of stability.

Re:How is this better than an ultralight helicopte (1)

slinches (1540051) | about a year ago | (#44559691)

So why are these ultralight helicopters mainly controlled by a person? It seems to me they would be safer if fly-bi-wire with a computer doing most of the work of stability.

Weight. If you add the mass of the computer control and actuation systems necessary for fly by wire it would no longer qualify for the ultralight category. Oh, and it would cost a lot more than $30k, but possibly less than the $150k "jetpack" proposed here.

Re:How is this better than an ultralight helicopte (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44561735)

Not really.

Source: 25 year aerospace engineer

Re:How is this better than an ultralight helicopte (1)

erice (13380) | about a year ago | (#44559219)

The helicopter needs a lot more room to land. Now this isn't terribly important until the "jetpack" is cleared for flying in populated areas but if/when it is the ability to land in a very small space will be a big deal.

Re:How is this better than an ultralight helicopte (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about a year ago | (#44559437)

The jet blast will need a fair bit of open space as well, Not sure how it compares to the helicopeter. (which has a 18' rotor diameter).

I don't know what the jetpack does in the event of an engine failure. The helicopter can autorotate (at least in theory -its tricky in real life).

Re:How is this better than an ultralight helicopte (2)

Deadstick (535032) | about a year ago | (#44559531)

I don't know what the jetpack does in the event of an engine failure.

It does 32.174 feet per second squared.

Re:How is this better than an ultralight helicopte (1)

flanders123 (871781) | about a year ago | (#44560911)

People build helicopters rather than lift-jets because moving a large volume of air slowly is more efficient than moving a small volume of air quickly. (force is goes as (M/s)*V, power as (M/s)*V^2).

...An convenient illustration of this is the Atlas Human Powered Helicopter [wikipedia.org] which uses massive slow-moving rotors to compensate for a human's puny power output.

Re:How is this better than an ultralight helicopte (1)

linatux (63153) | about a year ago | (#44561129)

One advantage the Martin has is that the blades are enclosed. I'd have better luck getting permission to land a Martin in the carpark than a Mosquito.

30 minutes at max speed of around 60 mph : would probably be enough for me to do a return trip on one tank - if only the damn airport wasn't in the way!
(Not that I have a spare US$150k)

Where stealth isn't an issue. (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about a year ago | (#44559013)

Besides the hearing loss of those who fly without hearing protection, your not going to be sneaking up on anything.
I can see one at every circus or event that want themselves noticed, loose gravel/dirt flyover areas to really get some attention.

On the other hand for Wildlife management this would be very helpful if there's a need to constantly "herd" animals;
not to mention being fun as heck to fly.

Re:Where stealth isn't an issue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44559801)

Except you can already see people flying around at events with a parachute and a huge fan on their back. They fly around for hours and don't have to run the fan so constantly.

Great. (1)

rjmx (233228) | about a year ago | (#44559081)

Now we're going to be deluged with nitwits careening about the place.

Rich nitwits, but still nitwits.

Re:Great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44560279)

I don't know, it could be a new sport - rich nitwit skeet shooting! Not to mention all the crashes - Darwin your work is never done.

Excellent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44559323)

Looks like a cross between a drum set and a giant bag clip.

What happens when it quits? (1)

pearl298 (1585049) | about a year ago | (#44560053)

The FAA has only one question: "What happens when it quits?"

For whatever reason there you are you are 200+ feet in the air with NOTHING holding you up!

Helicopters can autorotate (sorta) and save themselnes MOST of the time, but a jet pack?

In aviation they refer to this as a "once in a lifetime event".

Re:What happens when it quits? (2)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about a year ago | (#44560201)

Maybe it should include a "dispersal charge" that activates if the engine fails above 100' AGL to insure that no large pieces of machine or pilot reach the ground.....

Re:What happens when it quits? (1)

Bender0x7D1 (536254) | about a year ago | (#44561147)

That's why it has a rocket deployed parachute.

This is not a jet pack. (3, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year ago | (#44560405)

To be a jet pack, I need to be able to carry it on my back. Walk around with it, and then take to the sky at will.

That was the dream of the jet pack. That it would give a person the ability to walk around and then leap into the sky at will.

This thing does fly... but you can't really walk with it.

Its sort of like calling something a sea plane when it can't float. Yeah... it might fly... but... if it sinks when it hits the water its not a sea plane.

This isn't a jet pack. Try again.

Obligatory Jet Pack video (1)

drvelocity (918256) | about a year ago | (#44560685)

A real world feasibility study regarding Jet Packs as a mainstream transportation tool: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X18UYqzV0s [youtube.com] Needless to say the results are positively SHOCKING.
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