By Evan Ackerman
I’ll be honest: in the realm of sci-fi tech, I’d always thought of the personal jet pack as showing up after the flying car, neither of which would be making a realistic appearance anytime soon. Turns out I’m dead wrong: the personal jet pack that you can buy is set to be released December 11 of this year.
It may or may not surprise you to hear that jet packs (of a sort) are old news. Bell Aerosystems had a personal rocket belt back in the 1960s, and a few different companies are currently offering the same hydrogen peroxide powered sort of thing, including Tecaeromex, from whom you can buy a working version for $250,000. The downside of rocket belts is that they only get a maximum of 30 seconds flight time, and the fuel is expensive and dangerous. Bell Aerospace started working on an actual jet pack in the late 60s, which had a hypothetical flying time of 25 minutes and a top speed of about 80 mph, but dropped the project due to it’s complexity.
Luckily for us, Jetpack International (who has lots of experience with conventional hydrogen peroxide powered rocket packs) is working on a turbine powered jet pack with an estimated flight time of 19 minutes, with a range of 27 miles at a max altitude of 250 ft. Best news is that it runs on easily available and cheap jet fuel. The $200,000 price tag includes a training course, although it’s unclear what certification (if any) is required to operate a jet pack. Below is a video of one of Jetpack International’s conventional rocket belts, to give you an idea of how these things perform: