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Jet Packs: Move Over, Cars and Planes…There’s a New Mode of Transportation in Town!

Remember the long conversations that 1980s or 1990s kids used to have? Like who our favorite Power Ranger was and why they were way more awesome than the others, or what subject and teacher we hated most in school. And I know every kid had the conversation about superpowers: as in, which power you would pick and why. I had friends who wanted to be invisible (to sneak into their crush’s bedroom) and who wanted to read minds (so they knew what other girls thought about them).

Not me, though. I never wanted to have a crazy power like that; all I ever wanted was to fly. There is just something about the thought of being weightless and high above the trees that made my heart race. I longed for the ability to glide through the air, as free as a bird. My favorite piece of playground equipment was the swings, and they are still my favorite today. I love the wind on my face and the feeling I get in the bottom of my stomach when swooping towards the ground. It’s the closest to free flying I was ever going to get…until now!

What do I mean?

I mean that jet packs are now for sale to the general public, thanks to Jet Pack International. Of course, by “general public” I mean anyone who is willing to drop $125,000 to $250,000 and take extensive training courses to fly said jet packs. But, I’m sure it’s well worth it. These particular jet packs, which can go as fast as 70 mph, have been in development since 2003. The only downfall is the travel time — currently, they can only be used for approximately 30 seconds at a time before they require a gas refill. Despite this minor setback, jet packs have come a long way since their initial development in the 1960s!

A Little Bit of History on Jet Packs:

Bell Aerosystems created the first functional rocket belt in the early 1960s when the military started looking at them as potential combat aids. Wendell Moore and James C. McCormick are credited for designing the very first SRLD (small rocket lifting device) that cost $380,000 in 1960 (that’s more than a few million dollars today). After the rocket was perfected, pilots went through extensive training in air plane hangers tethered to the ceiling for safety while using the jet packs. Harold Graham was the first pilot in the world to perform a tether free flight on April 20, 1961, after 38 safety flights. He flew 112 feet in 13 seconds at a speed of 7 to 10 mph.

However, the military eventually decided that jet packs were too impractical for combat because of the short-lived flight time and costly fuel, and abandoned the research. However, over the next 50 years jet packs were still being modified and extensively tested to be flown by specially trained people for promotions and adverting. Today they are used in movies, at sporting events, and at various other public functions as side show entertainment.

It makes me so excited that jet packs are now available to purchase (for a hefty sum) by anyone willing to put forth the time and effort to learn how to use it. I would be willing to put time and energy into it, but like most of the general public, I can’t afford to buy one. Hopefully in the not-too-distant future they will become more affordable for regular people like myself who have always dreamed of flying solo!

Are you excited about the jet packs as much as me? Would you spend a couple hundred thousand dollars on one if you had the means? What was your ideal superhero power as a kid and do you still feel the same way? Let us know in the comments below!

 Image credit to jurvetson.


jforbes

Jen is a QLP data entry specialist. She enjoys researching and writing about new gadgets, trends and current events. Her favorite pastime is shopping and she considers herself a Food Network/HGTV junkie. Jen spends most of her free time hanging out with friends and family, planning her wedding, and spoiling her Pomeranian, Roxy. Someday she wants to travel the world and learn more about other cultures.

Comments

  1. Cybernetic SAM

    SAM’S Futuristic Checklist:
    -jetpack *Check*
    -robotic companion
    -dinner in pill form
    -hydrogen-fueled automobile
    -nuclear-powered levitating house

    One down, four to go.

    • Jen

      Nuclear-powered levitating house? Interesting. I suppose that would be really cool if you wanted to move…you could just take the house with you.

  2. amy

    Your history about the jet pack was beyond interesting, Jen! I never knew the military was considering using them as combat aids. I just always saw them in cartoons or movies and thought how cool they’d be to own. Craziness!

    As for my superhero power, I’m with you. I think it’d be really neat to be able to fly, and as far as I know I’m not afraid of heights so it’d work :)

    • Jen

      I really enjoyed doing this research and I really wanted to add more, but it was all really just the same thing…someone reinvented the jet pack and broke a record in flying it the longest or furthest. The technology just gets better and better! I can’t wait until they are everywhere, like cars and motorcycles!

  3. Mandy Kilinskis

    I like the idea of a jet pack, and if I had an unlimited amount of money, I might buy one. But for now, I guess I’ll stick to paying off student loans and buying gas.

    For my super power, I’ve always wanted to be able to manipulate time. Up all night writing a paper? Just stop time and sleep for ten hours before heading to class. Woke up too late for work? Just rewind time and go. My reasoning all seems to have to do with sleeping…

    • Jen

      That would be a great superpower Mandy, there are just never enough hours in a day.

  4. Rachel

    Running out of fuel in 30 seconds? What a bummer! The Rocketeer had this whole jetpack thing figured out ages ago … what’s taking the rest of us so long? ;) Still, this is pretty cool, and I’m sure there’s a demographic of millionaires out there willing to pay such a large sum for 30-second increments of awesome.

    I’ve always gone back and forth between flying and invisibility as my superpower of choice. I think now that I’m older, though, and I’ve developed motion sickness and a fear of heights, I’d go with invisibility. It’d be cool to be a fly on the wall and watch other people (not in a creepy way!), that sort of thing. Looks like people are already working on making invisibility cloaks, too …

  5. Jill Tooley

    Dude, if money wasn’t an object I’d totally snag one of these! Too bad 30 seconds of in-air time isn’t enough to get me to work each day. I’d make quite an entrance! ;)

    In all seriousness though, I hope they keep developing these. Everyone our age usually pines for flying cars and hoverboards (myself included) but this is pretty cool, too. I’d take a jet pack, for sure!

    Did you happen to read anything about the actual training/operating process? Is it exceedingly difficult? It seems like an extremely dangerous “toy” if it’s put into inexperienced hands!!

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