Aircraft

Flying guinea pig: Jetpack Aviation prepares to train its first civilian pilot

Flying guinea pig: Jetpack Avi...
Jetpack Aviation CEO David Mayman with the older model JB-9 jetpack
Jetpack Aviation CEO David Mayman with the older model JB-9 jetpack
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Jetpack Aviation CEO David Mayman with the older model JB-9 jetpack
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Jetpack Aviation CEO David Mayman with the older model JB-9 jetpack
Powered by kerosene and two lightweight jet engines, the JB-9 was the first real jetpack that behaved as you'd expect one to
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Powered by kerosene and two lightweight jet engines, the JB-9 was the first real jetpack that behaved as you'd expect one to
The first civilian jetpack pilot is... Certainly not me. I couldn't even get the belt around my waist. 
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The first civilian jetpack pilot is... Certainly not me. I couldn't even get the belt around my waist. 
David Mayman flies the JB-10 jetpack
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David Mayman flies the JB-10 jetpack
Liftoff: David Mayman with the latest model JB-10 jetpack
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Liftoff: David Mayman with the latest model JB-10 jetpack
It's almost surreal: David Mayman hovers as he flies the JB-10 Jetpack
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It's almost surreal: David Mayman hovers as he flies the JB-10 Jetpack

Things are developing fairly quickly in the world of Jetpack Aviation. After a bunch of public flights in Europe, the team has announced it's selected its first guinea pig civilian test pilot, who will be trained up and given the chance to fly the extraordinary JB-10 jetpack.

As we reported in November, Jetpack Aviation is ready to start taking customer orders for its extraordinary JB-series jetpacks, which fly for between five and ten minutes and can rise at a rate of up to 1,000 feet a minute.

But according to CEO David Mayman, who's also the only guy to have ever flown this thing as yet, a key part of the sales process will be training customers in how to fly safely. And before any customer orders went out, the company ran a competition to find a guinea pig to test the training process.

The results are in: the world's first "civilian" jetpack pilot will be Mischa Pollack, a video blogger best known for his "drunk tech" series. Pollack will learn the ropes at Jetpack Aviation's tethered training facility in Southern California. It's unclear at this stage whether he'll be flying drunk.

David Mayman flies the JB-10 jetpack
David Mayman flies the JB-10 jetpack

In other news, Mayman and the team are preparing to undertake their first over-ground jetpack flights, and work will begin soon on an all-electric jetpack using ducted fans, that will allow the team to train new pilots without running up hours on sensitive jet engines or burning a gallon of kerosene every minute. As it's only for training, it'll be tethered with a power cable, so there won't be any onboard batteries.

There's a lot more fun stuff to come from this fascinating company as it develops, but for the moment you should check out our original article on the JB-9 jetpack where we break down how it works and how to fly it.

Source: Jetpack Aviation

7 comments
Jonathan J Kim
Jetpack is not a good option. It will have to be quadcopter based flying machine. We seemed to have mastered quadcopter.
Mzungu_Mkubwa
@Jon, maybe not the *best* "good option", but certainly the funnest! I was especially stoked to hear that they have plans to incorporate Yves Rossy style wings in the future to allow full VTOL forward flight (small comment from Pollack's video on the topic). This will undoubtedly increase flight times (more efficient than hover) and of course range. However, I agree with you that the future of personal flight lies in the direction of multicopter designs. Hybrid power systems seem the logical choice currently for range issues, until aviation-friendly electrical energy storage tech catches up...
Island Architect
Upon seeing that first pick I commented to myself, "Wow, looks like he is ready to Jump up there and finish working on that window!!"
ChgoSTrider
...and the point of this is???? A 6-figure toy of limited use, no practicality. Once the novelty wears off, then what? They quote on the jet-engine version of burning "a gallon a minute." Is that kerosene or Jet-A? Jet-A right now is around $4.75 a gallon. That means $285/hr. JUST for fuel. Add in maintenance/reserve for overhaul, licensing and another biggie: insurance. Wouldn't be surprised to see hourly costs of $600/hr. You can fly a nice real airplane for that kind of money.
guzmanchinky
Very very cool, but I hear (pun intended) that it so noisy that it won't be allowed anywhere (like saying flying over San Francisco or other places normal airplanes are allowed)...
Nelson Hyde Chick
I have never understood the utility of something that can only fly around for a few minutes.
Douglas E Knapp
Dave Merriam, you are missing the point. It is fun! I know people that earn 20,000 a day. For these people the price is not important. Clearly this is a the first of many and they will improve. I would bet that in 20 years you start seeing racing and stunts etc. Also the military might have use of it. Being in a plane is not the same as being the plane! It is like a motorcycle vs a car. Both are fun but they are clearly not the same and people are willing to pay for this sort of fun.