by Nick Wright
I haven’t met a guy who hasn’t wanted to be little more James Bond-like, and if you have £60,000 to spend, you could get some of his high tech gear.
When Sean Connery wore a jetpack in Thunderball, we all thought that we’d all be getting around that way in the near future. However, the technology has so far failed to catch up to our sci-fi dreams. The only practical application has been for astronauts doing extra vehicular activity (aka space walks), but several companies are reexamining the technology for other uses.
The technology behind Bond’s jet pack and most pop-culture interpretations is known as the Bell Rocket Belt, which was developed in the early 1960′s for the U.S. army and was powered by concentrated hydrogen peroxide. It allowed the user to fly / leap over objects. However, flight time was limited and a controlled landing was nearly impossible should the drive fail. These jet packs are also operating at altitudes too low for parachutes to be of any use. As a result of these drawbacks, the military has decided that jet packs are not yet practical for their purposes.
However, most of us can put aside any illusions of practicality for the chance to use something this cool. The Jetlev R200 jetpack works on the same principle as a jet ski, pumping water through a hose to generate thrust, and will propel the user to a height of 30 feet and has a top speed of 25mph. The pack is powered by a 200hp engine which floats behind the user in a small unmanned boat. The Florida-based company who builds them will begin delivering them in spring 2012. In addition to super spies, the primary market for this technology is holiday destinations. The expectation is that holiday makers will be able to rent the jetpack for £150.
Tell us just how much do you want to try this?