In the last few years, we have come across several gravity-defying jetpack designs that offer users the invaluable ability to fly. Remember Martin Jetpack, a one-person aircraft that Dubai is planning to use for fighting fires? Or x2 Sport, an innovative underwater jetpack that is ideal for snorkeling and deep-water diving. None, however, comes close to the new JB-9 jetpack. Designed by US-based Jetpack Aviation, this incredibly futuristic contraption travels at speeds of nearly 160 km/h (around 100 mph) for up to 10 minutes at a time.
Touted as the first “true” jetpack, JB-9 is runs on robust turbojet engines that, although incapable of driving big aircraft, can provide enough power for a compact personal jetpack. It comes fitted with a 38-liter fuel tank, consuming only 4 liters of the fuel for every minute of operation. According to Evan Ackerman of IEEE Spectrum, the device can rightly be called a true jetpack because:
A real jetpack needs to be small and light enough that you can put it on and walk around. It needs to be safe enough and reliable enough (in principle if not in practice) for regular use. And most importantly, it needs to be able to take off vertically, fly for a useful distance and time, and land vertically without turning its passenger into goo. Jetpack Aviation’s JB-9 does all of these things.
When in the air, the jetpack can be maneuvered with the help of simple, hand-controlled switches. The pilot can also use his or her body weight to guide the jetpack in the proper direction. As the developers at Jetpack Aviation point out, the contraption can fly to altitudes of around 10,000 ft (approx. 3,048 m), at remarkably high speeds of up to 160 km/h (about 100 mph). Its can remain in the air for nearly 10 minutes, depending on the user’s weight.
Currently undergoing testing, the device could attain speeds of over 200 km/h (or 124 mph) during horizontal flights. At present, the designers are looking for ways to integrate a ballistic parachute into the design. This, together with an advanced sensor-driven automatic stabilization technology, would make the jetpack a lot easier and safer to fly.
The jetpack, the team claims, is the result of twenty long years of research. It will still be a few years before the contraption is available commercially. Watch the following video to catch JB-9 in action: