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Fly to USA by Jetpack? 5 Real Rocket Men

The idea of a wearable 'jetpack' may have originated in science fiction, but the reality is something engineers have been pursuing for decades.


Although creating a workable jetpack was achieved as far back as the 1940s, when German engineers devised a jet propulsion system known as the 'Himmelstürmer', or 'sky stormer', problems around safety, controllability, weight and fuel capacity have always proved a challenge for jetpack developers. However, various designs have emerged in recent years which have moved the concept further towards commercial feasibility.

We take a look at five of the latest and most successful designs in this round-up, and wonder if any might become feasible for personal transport in the future! Which do you like the look of?

Jetman Yves Rossy

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Yves Rossy

For our money the Breitling-funded 'Jetman' Yves Rossy seems to come closest to achieving the freedom and speed a jet pack conjures in the imagination, although his device won't allow for ground take-offs. All that carbon fibre and mini-jet technology doesn't come cheap either, and Mr Rossy has also spent many hours learning to master flying his contraption, which he says is extremely sensitive to body movements.

Martin Jetpack

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The Martin Jetpack, named after its creator Glenn Martin, made its way into Time magazine's 50 Best Inventions of 2010. It has a much longer range than most other jetpacks (up to 50km), runs on normal car fuel and oil, and has a computer-controlled flight system for stability and ease of use. Unfortunately it's also pretty huge and heavy, so doesn't quite fit into the portable backpack-style jetpack category.

Go Fast Jet Pack

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Based on the 1960s design developed by Bell Aerosystems, energy drink company Go Fast uses its low-range (around 30 seconds) Jet Pack for product promotions at special events. Their H202-Z model can propel the pilot to speeds of up to 77mph and up to a maximum height of 250ft.

Jetlev Flyer Water Jet Pack

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This German invention is a slightly different spin on the jet pack idea, using jets of water sucked up from below to power the pilot's flight. The most powerful model comes in at around £80,000 and gives the pilot a cruise time of 2-3 hours at a speed of up to 47km/h.

Gen H-4 Personal Helicopter

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Not a jet pack at all, but worth a mention as an interesting approach to personal aviation! This Japanese invention is basically the world's smallest manned helicopter, and is available in Japan as a self-assembly kit for around £60,000.

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