If you were to ask any futurist before the millennium just how life on Earth would be in the future then there was a big chance that there would be a mention of everyone flying around on jetpacks. Many have tried and failed but it seems that jetpacks are now just on the horizon. We reported not so long ago on a jetpack that is set for commercial release before the end of the year and now, another contender has entered the flight zone.
A company called Jet Pack International (JPI) showed off it's latest offering last weekend at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., as part of the 'Future is Here Festival' hosted by Smithsonian Magazine and the Nerd Nite crew. The festival is a showcase of all things futuristic, science fiction and outer space and the conference features talks on everything from robots to human evolution to life beyond Earth.
According to the company, the jetpack can fly for a maximum of 26 seconds, which comes as a bit of a disappointment. However, we've never seen such a compact and lightweight jetpack before. The Jetpack H202-Z has a top speed of 77 mph and can fly a maximum distance of 2500 ft and height of 250 ft.
The agility is mind-blowing. The pilot, Nick Macomber, takes off seamlessly even doing a fancy 360-degree roll before flying out over the drop and turning back in such a natural and controlled manner, much like the landing. The jet pack has even been used to fly across the Royal Gorge Canyon — flying 1,500 feet at 75 miles per hour.
The device costs somewhere between $100 000 and $150 000 but you can't buy one ready-made yet - you have to assemble it yourself. It's fueled by hydrogen peroxide and nitrogen gas, which react in the presence of a silver catalyst to produce jets of compressed steam that provide the necessary thrust.
Pilot Macomber controls the jetpack by using one hand for power and the other for the flight dynamics; roll, pitch and yaw. Although the flight time is short, this is easily the most compact and controlled jetpack we've seen. So seamless jetpack flight is definitely possible, just need to work on the fuel storage and efficiency a little more.