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!