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Another Pass at the Personal Jetpack 259

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the time-to-buzz-the-tower dept.
Engadget is reporting that dreams of a personal jet pack may not be quite as distant as you might think. Skywalker Jets, created by Rick Herron boasts a 90-pound jet pack capable of propelling a 200-pound pilot through the air for about five minutes without the hassle of charred lower extremities. The production model, which he hopes to run past the FAA soon for approval, will only cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000 — so start saving your pennies.
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Another Pass at the Personal Jetpack

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  • Re:Nitpick (Score:4, Informative)

    by isaac (2852) on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:54PM (#15821640)
    This uses air-breathing jet engines. It's a jet pack.

    -Isaac
  • by PIPBoy3000 (619296) on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:56PM (#15821654)
    This personal helicopter [acecraftusa.com] can be flow for an hour or so and travels around 55 mph. Not as sexy as a jet pack, but it's far more utilitarian.
  • 5 minutes?! (Score:5, Informative)

    by weasello (881450) <weasel@NOSPam.greensheep.ca> on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:02PM (#15821676) Homepage
    I get upset when my fully loaded Cessna 172 only fits 4 hours of fuel. I can see getting by with two, *maybe* one hour of fuel in a jetpack. But seriously - what can you do in 5 minutes?!?

    It's not even enough to consider a form of commuting; you can barely accomplish any task that wouldn't be done easier with a helicopter/climbing ropes/scissor lift, plus the huge pricetag...

    For most aircraft, FAA requires your flying vehicle to be able to get you to your destination with 30 minutes of backup fuel for delays, emergencies, or unforseen weather. Having a 5 minute flight time kind of negates all that...

    At best, I see this as a backyard novelty at worst and an airshow wonder at best.
  • by RM6f9 (825298) * <rwmurker@yahoo.com> on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:07PM (#15821710) Homepage Journal
    http://www.sixchuter.com/ [sixchuter.com]
    next question?
  • Re:Insurance? (Score:2, Informative)

    by tomherbst (888500) on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:15PM (#15821759)
    It will likely be similar to motorcycle insurance -- fairly cheap because the primary
    victim of any accident is the now dead operator.

    Like small airplanes, these will not inflict major damage to most structures. I'd
    agree that it is not a great thing to have fall on your head, but the screams of the
    about to die pilot should be enough warning to get out of the way.

    tom
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:44PM (#15821905)
    Divers can do a safe ascent without air from more than 60 feet, if needed. If diving with a buddy (generally recommended), you can breathe off the buddy's extra second stage (octopus). Watch a fellow in a jetpack run out of fuel at 60 feet and I think you'll see the difference.
  • Re:Nitpick (Score:2, Informative)

    by 6ULDV8 (226100) on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:55PM (#15821953)
    The reference article is wrong. It uses engines similar to http://www.jetcatusa.com/p160.html [jetcatusa.com]
  • Come on people.... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Cherita Chen (936355) on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:00PM (#15821980) Homepage
    What is with all the hubbub regarding the name? His company is called "Skywalker Jets", not "Luke Skywalker Jets", not"Anakin Skywalker Jets", and not "Skywalker Studios Jets". Think about it... The folks at "Thompson Food Group" aren't suing the folks at "Thompson Building Materials", are they? Even if Lucas is peeved about the name, just give the guy a Jetpack, that ought to pacify him as well as be a great PR stunt.

    P.S. It is important to note that Mr. Herron holds the trademark for "Skywalker Jets". If you're interested in finding out more about trademarks, or searching the database, go here [uspto.gov]

  • by TFoo (678732) on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:04PM (#15821995)
    The difference is the margin of error. Basic scuba diving certification teaches you how to free ascend with no air from the deepest dive you'll ever make without a backup air source (~100ft: beyond that and you start doing things like taking a backup "pony bottle" air source). In a true panic situation where you can't swim up with the air you have left, you quick-release your weight belt, start blowing out (yes, blow out!), and your natural boyancy will take you to the surface -- without weight you'll go up pretty fast. Dropping weights is only for true emergencies -- usually you can just swim up since the air in your lungs will expand as you go up, making it surprisingly easy to ascend even from relatively deep dives without additional air.

    Soo, to answer your question:
            forgetting to check your compressed air: lose weight belt, feel stupid
            forgetting to check your jet pack: crash and die.

    Big difference.
  • by starbird (409793) on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:12PM (#15822028)
    There is a large thread with much laughter and skepticism over at rcuniverse.

    http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_3729699/mpage_1/ key_/tm.htm [rcuniverse.com]
  • by dmatos (232892) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @09:33AM (#15824446)
    Almost all recreational divers practice what is called "no decompression" diving. The time spent at depth is limited (with a fairly healthy safety margin) such that the diver can safely ascend without risk of nitrogen bubbles precipitating out of the blood or body tissues. For extra safety measures, we also throw in a 5 minute stop at 15 feet, for deeper dives (60ft+), but that is not absolutely required. It just makes things safer.

    Also, under the PADI system, someone with Open Water Certification is recommended not to dive any deeper than 60 feet (~20m) for the first year, and no deeper than 100 feet (~30m) when more experienced. I'm not sure where you got the 15m number.

    There is also no reason to ascend any faster than your bubbles from 60 or even 100 feet, even if you only have one lungful of air. 60ft/minute ascent rate means a little over a minute to get to the surface. As explained in previous comments, the air in your lungs expands as you rise, so it will always feel like your lungs are full even as you are letting air escape. Just don't hold your breath, or you risk embolism.
  • Fett-Pack? (Score:2, Informative)

    by GreenSwirl (710439) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @11:03AM (#15824927) Homepage Journal
    Jango Fett got beheaded by Mace Windu when his jetpack failed to ignite after he got run over by a Reek. Boba Fett got digested by a Sarlacc after Han Solo blindly whacked his jetpack, sending him ricocheting off Jabba's barge.

    Jetpacks in the Star Wars Universe are about as advisable as superhero capes in The Incredibles' world.

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