Believe it or not, working, actual jetpacks have been a reality since 1953. That’s when Bell Labs built the first rocket belt. Unfortunately, since then the technology hasn’t really progressed and, what’s worse they haven’t been available to purchase for the general public. Until now.
A Mexican start-up company called Tecnologia Aeroespacial Mexicana is now selling it’s own version of the custom-made rocket belt for $250,000. Or if you don’t trust Mexican aerospace technology, their competitor Jetpack International of Colorado is selling their version of the rocket belt for $155,000.
What do you get for your money? You get not only the actual jetpack, but a series of flying lessons as well.
It’s not all great though. The thing is jetpack technology has never actually gotten very good. The rocket belts weigh a little over 100lbs and they only stay up in the air for a little over 30 seconds. Worse it’s pretty easy to get killed while flying one, since they never get far enough off the ground to make parachutes a viable option and when it runs out of fuel it just stops and you plummet towards the pavement. Watch those fuel gauges, rocketeers!
Interestingly, it seems that the limitations of the standard rocket belt may be on the verge of being solved. Popular Mechanics says both Jetpack International and TAM are working on new turbine powered jetpacks. The Jetpack International version will burn jet fuel (the current ones burn hydrogen peroxide) and stay airborne for as long as 19 minutes.
Here’s one of those rocket belts in action: