Culture

This Jetpack Can Soar to 6,000 Feet and Fly at 150 MPH, But It's Going to Cost You.

(Image via Twitter)

This is so kewl — in a geeky sort of way.

Jetman Dubai announced they’ve achieved a major milestone: a pilot took off from the ground and transitioned to an altitude of about 6,000 feet. The pilot was able to demonstrate the ability to hover, stop, turn and maneuver.

The machine is capable of achieving speeds up to 150 MPH and can go from a standing start to 3000 feet in about 30 seconds.

Awesome.

CNN Business:

“We are so happy we achieved this incredible flight,” Reffett said in a statement. “It’s the result of extremely thorough teamwork, where each small step generated huge results. Everything was planned to the split second, and I was overjoyed by the progress that was achieved. It is another step in a long-term project. One of the next objectives is to land back on the ground after a flight at altitude, without needing to open a parachute. It’s being worked on,” he said.

No, we’re not going to be flying like Ironman anytime soon. But the technology is still impressive.

While traveling at an average speed of nearly 150 mph, Reffett was able to reach 1,000 meters of altitude in 30 seconds. Reffett was even able to perform a roll and loop with the wingsuit. His flight lasted approximately three minutes, and he opened his parachute at 1,500 meters before landing safely to the ground.

There are still obvious limitations, but it looks like they’re on the right track.

The carbon-fibre wingsuit is powered by four mini jet engines, and the team’s engineers were able to create a manually controlled thrust vectoring nozzle that allows pilots “to control rotations around the yaw axis at zero speeds.”

The yaw axis is perpendicular to the wings and allows the pilot to turn left and right while flying horizontally.

There seems to be a lot more control than there was with more traditional jet packs. And while there may be disadvantages to a wingsuit, it appears that the added lift helps with gaining altitude.

I suppose it depends on what you want one for, but most jet packs in the past were developed for military use. There’s never been a practical military application for the technology — at least not yet. Given the asymmetrical battlefields most of our soldiers fight on, it’s hard to see how the technology would be of benefit.

And these things aren’t cheap. When they start selling them next year, you’ll need to shell out $150,000. Fuel, maintenance, and accessories are extra.

Here are a couple of jetmen flying casually alongside a Dubai Air A380. Too cool.