Posted by: Ryan McDonald | July 29, 2008

Welcome to the 21st century, here’s your JET PACK! (For $100k)

File this under two categories:

“we’ve heard it before” and “it’s about damned time”.

It seemed like Nar and I would have a new flying car or personal flight device story about once every few months during the live Nerdvana show days. None of which have come to fruition that I can tell. (Damn you acrobatic billionaire crime fighters taking the people’s tech for your vigilante ways!) In a news story in the New York Times, it seems that this futuristic dream of a life without automobile traffic continues with a new jetpack that will, of course, be available in “the next few years”. Why bring my hopes up again futurist tinkerers just to dash them on the oh-so-pointy rocks of reality once again? Oh the humanity… *sigh* Oh well… the details:

an inventor from New Zealand unveiled what he calls “the world’s first practical jetpack” at the EAA AirVenture, the gigantic annual air show. The inventor, Glenn Martin, 48, who has spent 27 years developing the devices, said he hoped to begin selling them next year for $100,000 apiece.

Now what sets this jetpack apart from the others we’ve heard about in years past is that it is not in the “planning stages” or “initial development” or even in the “first round of funding *fingers crossed*” stages… It’s actually up and running!

With a working engine and video in hand, Mr. Martin was able to start raising enough money to quit his day job and devote himself to jetpack development full time. Before long he had venture capital financing and a PowerPoint presentation.

The current iteration of the product, the 11th, weighs about 250 pounds and provides 600 pounds of thrust. It includes safety features like a so-called ballistic parachute with a small explosive charge for rapid deployment in case of an emergency, like those used in some small airplanes.

There’s a video here of the NY Times reporter strapped into the thing, buzzing around a lawn a few feet off the ground like a kid on a pony ride. I’d totally pay five bucks for one lap around in a jetpack!

Should you start saving your pennies and pawning your sister’s Hannah Montana posters to be prepared when these babies hit the market? Well… After watching the newest Star Wars movies kick the hopes and dreams of nerds like myself in the nutz over and over again, I’ve learned not to count my rocketeer fantasies before they’re mass-produced…

But I will keep an eye out for some stylish goggles on ebay ’cause the easiest way to ruin your day is to catch an errant bug in the cornea when you’re zipping over the 210 freeway at 70mph. 😉


  1. […] more: Welcome to the 21st century, here’s your JET PACK! (For $100k) animation, Books, fanboy-fangirl, film, futurism, green, internet, robotics, robots, Star Wars, […]

  2. You can have your jetpack, Ryan. I’m holding out for a flying robotic dragon!

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