The Loh Down On Science

Jet Pack

A Buck Rogers concept becomes reality.

Next from the Sharper Image--the human jetpack?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science

and on a Buck Rogers concept turned reality.

This summer at an air show in Osh Kosh, Wisconsin, New Zealand inventor Glenn Martin unveiled what he calls "the world's first practical jetpack."

Many "personal flight vehicles" have been developed over the years, with varying success. Most couldn't stay airborne more than a few minutes. Technically, those were not all "jetpacks" --and neither is Martin's.

His vehicle runs on a gas-turbine engine, powering two fans, which direct air downward. The powerful airstreams get you aloft, with hand controls for steering. Don't worry, Mom--it comes with a parachute.

Martin is still testing it, but says it'll eventually reach altitudes up to eight thousand feet, and speeds up to sixty miles an hour. He envisions it used in rescue operations, firefighting, and recreation.

You can even pre-order a "personal flight vehicle" from his website--at the cost of a high-end motorcycle.

Sure beats the old weather balloons, arm chair, six pack of beer, and BB gun. At least for getting to WORK on time. Otherwise it's just as good.


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