As remarkable as the achievement was, the Jetman pilots may not have been flying actual jetpacks. JetPack Aviation claims to have the only functioning jetpack in the world: the JB-9. The company says it’s been working on the innovation for over 40 years, so, on November 3, Australian business person David Mayman decided to take a real jetpack for a spin around the Statue of Liberty.
In the video, Mayman whizzes his way around the statue wearing the backpack. JetPack Aviation considers its jetpack the only “true” one precisely because of its size, among other reasons. As written on the company’s website:
“We believe a JetPack should be just that — a jet turbine powered backpack that is capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), is extremely light and small and can easily be carried around by the pilot. It should be powerful enough to lift the pilot quickly to thousands of feet above the ground but small enough to fit into the trunk of a car.”
The JB-9 runs on kerosene, with a small jet turbine engine mounted to each side. Those engines provide the upward thrust. They “mix ambient air with their exhaust gases” to cool down the apparatus and prevent temperatures from becoming excessive and dangerous. The jetpack can hold up to 10 gallons of fuel and reach speeds up to 55 knots (approximately 63 miles per hour).
Although it lacks the New York view, another video of a test flight shows the JB-9’s ability for maximum movement. Mayman is able to rotate, go up and down, and change speeds with ease.
JetPack Aviation is currently working on its next model, the JB-10. The JB-10 is supposed to be able to fly at altitudes over 10,000 feet with speeds up to 100 miles per hour.
For now, though, the JB-9 represents a step toward personal jetpacks, even if Mayman says they’d cost a couple million bucks. Having just one moderate-speed jetpack exist is pretty cool.