I know that the use of three exclamation marks (as in the title to this blog) is the sign of a deranged mind ... but I don't care ... I want my own personal Jet Pack!!!
I’m sure you remember the old-style jet packs – the sort of thing you tended to see in early James Bond films. These used to look incredibly exciting and tremendously dangerous – and of course they were both. But now there is a modern jet pack that is amazingly cool, (relatively) affordable, and is capable of travelling 30 miles in 30 minutes on a full tank of fuel (regular automotive gasoline)...
When I hear the term "Jet Pack," my knee-jerk reaction is to think of the 1960s-type units with the two pipes hanging out of either side. As I recall, in addition to generating enough noise to deafen you, the jet engine in these things could last only around 30 seconds to 1 minute, which made them impractical for anything except the occasional sequence in a James Bond film.
Actually, since this sort of pack used liquid hydrogen, maybe this should more properly be considered to be a rocket engine (rocket pack) than a jet pack, but this really doesn’t matter for the purposes of these discussions.
It would take a brave man or woman to fly one of these. As I recall, if you took your hands off the controls, the result was much the same as letting go of a balloon you’d just inflated but not yet tied-off – scary!
Now, before we proceed to look at the modern jet pack I would love to own, below are four videos. The first two show old jet packs in the context that I remember them. The third is similar, but it provides a much better impression as to things like noise level, safety (or lack thereof), and the (very) short flight durations of which this beast is capable. And the third is a really funny one that purports to be of a young kid building a jet pack as a school project, and which immediately makes other kids say “Dad, can you make one of these for me?”
But let's not dilly-dally any longer. I can’t remember when I first heard about this – I think it was a year or so ago – but the folks at the Martin Aircraft Company, in Christchurch, New Zealand, have developed an ultra-modern jet pack that makes me drool with desire.
This little beauty requires only five gallons of the same premium gasoline used in automobiles. The 200 horsepower, dual-propeller pack can fly for 30 miles in 30 minutes on a full tank of fuel, with a top speed of 60 MPH.
With regard to safety, if the uses "let go" of the controls and goes "hands free", the jet pack stops and maintains a stable hover (the machine is also equipped with a Ballistic Parachute in the unlikely eventuality that the engine cuts out for any reason.
The Martin Jetpack complies with the FAA Part 103 Ultralight Regulations, and the Ultralight class does not require an FAA recognized pilot's license. Having said this, it would be extremely silly for anyone to attempt to fly anything like this without professional instruction, and the Martin Aircraft Company have devised a training program which all owners are required to pass (they don’t want to be sued [grin]).
Well, I don’t know about you, but I would LOVE to own one of these little beauties. My office is only about 10 miles away from my home, but it takes me about 25 minutes to drive each way because of all the traffic (Huntsville is a booming town with lots of new folks moving in, and the infrastructure is struggling to keep up). Using one of these jet packs I could be at work in only 5 to 10 minutes.
Yes I know it would take more time to suit-up and then change clothes at the office ... but that's the price one has to pay to be a trend-setter and leader of fashion (it's a hard job, but someone has to do it). Of course I don’t currently have the $50,000 purchase price (this was the number that was quoted when I first heard about this little beauty … but I can no longer find a price on their website), but if I did, I would be sorely tempted.
The funny thing is that as I drive back and forth to my office these days, I look at things like a water tower and think to myself “I wonder what that would look like from above,” or I see a really large tree and think “I’d love to fly around that,” or I see electric cables and telephone wires and think “I’d have to watch out for those” (grin).