A jet pack is a portable device that you wear on your back in order to enable short-range flight. There is a distinction between a jet pack, a rocket pack and a rocket belt, but essentially, they all work on the same principle. In case you wondered, Jet engines feature two openings (an intake and an exhaust nozzle), whereas a rocket only has one.
A jetpack, of any kind, is likely to be powered by jets of escaping gas.
There are numerous personal flying devices that do actually work, but the jet pack, despite the overall silliness of the concept, still captures the imaginations of writers, inventors and adventurers the world over. So much so, that despite many (many) conceptual setbacks presented by the theory, working ‘rocket belts’ have actually been built (and used) for some time now. This is a fact that makes me indescribably happy.
Why we want it:
Because being able to fly would be ridiculously awesome, as would being able to soar effortlessly over the busy streets, traffic jams and cars blaring out crappy music 24 hours a day.
A trip to the shops would be so friggin’ awesome that the average jet pack-owning household would probably make enough shopping trips to single-handedly save the economy. Or something.
When can we expect it?
Jet packs are dangerous (most require large quantities of extremely flammable Hydrogen Peroxide in order to work). They are also overly expensive (Hydrogen Peroxide does not come cheap) and insanely dangerous as well as being (I’m sorry to say) completely and utterly illogical as a mode of transportation.
Having said that, Eric Scott piloted the ‘Go Fast Sports’ Rocket Belt in San Carlos, CA in 2008, the flight was a short one, but impressive nonetheless. Similar demonstrations of rocket packs/belts can be seen via a quick trip to Youtube. All the flights are short and wildly anarchic, but they all look like a lot of fun.
So, when do I get my own jet pack?
A few years ago, a rumour circulated that it was possible to build a fully functioning jet pack from items available on the Internet. It isn’t (and you’d be foolish to even try). Sadly, true jet packs, the kind seen in science fiction serials as a safe, cheap, reliable means of personal transport, remain in the domain of science fiction, a place where they will likely stay forever.
Will the jet pack ever become a bona-fide means of transportation for the general public? No. Never, but it is nonetheless fun to dream.