After a series of successful flights in Europe, David Mayman and Jetpack Aviation have announced the JB-10 jetpack is officially on sale "to well qualified buyers." Presumably that doesn't include you or I, but there's also a competition to let anyone fly one of these amazing things.
Slated for delivery in April/May 2017, the JB-10 is exactly what you imagined as a kid – a backpack, with two turbine engines hanging off the sides of it. It's fast – some 7 percent more powerful than the JB-9, which got around at a pretty sprightly pace and had the ability to elevate at up to 1,000 ft (305 m) per minute. Endurance is still five to 10 minutes, depending on how much fuel you're carrying.
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Part of the challenge with bringing the jetpack to market has been finding a way to safely train new pilots before sending them out into a field with two jet engines on their back.
As such, the Jetpack Aviation team is working on an electric, tethered training facility that gives similar flight dynamics without running up hours on sensitive turbine engines or giving pilots a chance to really hurt themselves.
And hence the "well qualified buyers" stipulation; these are early days for personal jetpack flight. Mayman and the team have no interest in having this formative technology stopped or slowed down by irresponsible users splatting themselves against buildings at 200 km/h.
The team also has another jetpack under development that uses three smaller turbines per side for a total of six instead of two, so there's some redundancy in case of engine failure. Mayman tells us he expects to be test flying that design early next year, but in the meantime, the automatic thrust management system is requiring a whole new computer and the team is still looking at ballistic parachutes as a failure option.
Jetpack Aviation isn't announcing pricing for the world's first real jetpack, but surely it's a case of if you have to ask, you can't afford it. But for the rest of us, the company is running a contest to win a jetpack flight – and I think we could all agree that'd be pretty damn cool.
Check out some video from the European flights below.
Source: Jetpack Aviation