Talk about a jetpack joyride. Soaring solo above the Hudson River, boldly gliding like Iron Man past the Statue of Liberty, twin mini jet turbines strapped to your back.
Australian entrepreneur-adventurer David Mayman realized that sweet moonage dream this week, in a spectacular stunt that showed off Jetpack Aviation’s lightweight JB-9 jetpack in all its blazing glory. Mayman, who learned to fly before he could drive, successfully piloted the futuristic machine impressively near Lady Liberty before safely landing on a boat to the cheers of onlookers.
"It was an incredible experience, one I have been dreaming of since I was a young boy,” said Mayman, JetPack Aviation’s CEO and test pilot. “We have just proved that personal flight is a reality. It’s here and we will stay at the forefront of this.”
The high-powered jetpack was 40 years in the making, the culmination of millions of dollars spent and decades of trial and error by Mayman and his business partner, Nelson Tyler. In 1969, Tyler, a three-time Academy Award winner who has long built personal flight devices for use in Hollywood films, created the first civilian rocket belt, a later version of which was piloted at the opening of the 1984 Olympics.
The duo’s latest invention takes off and lands vertically, hovers and cruises for extended periods of time. They say the smooth, sustained maiden flight over the Hudson was FAA and U.S. Coast Guard approved. There’s no word on if and when the mini jet turbine backpack will be available for purchase, but we imagine it won’t be cheap. We reached out to Jetpack Aviation for more details on the sweet ride, but have yet to hear back.
The JB-9, which can climb 10,000 feet in the sky at speeds of up to 63 miles per hour, is far from the first jetpack to take to the skies and it won’t be the last. But, if Mayman and Tyler have their way, it could go down in history as the first commercially viable machine of its kind. It’s a feat the inventors are “willing to risk everything” to achieve. They plan to eventually market the innovative personal transportation device to law enforcement, search and rescue and disaster relief organizations, even to everyday dreamers (and commuters) like me and you.
Rock on, rocket man.