LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA (REUTERS) - JetPack Aviation take to the skies above the port of Long Beach, California to demonstrate their latest portable, turbine-powered backpack.
Billed as "the world's first true jetpack", the JB-10 can fly for around 10 minutes at altitudes over 1981m and speeds greater than 104kph.
Those figures were unimaginable even ten years ago, said the company's CEO David Mayman.
"Ten years ago, the sensors weren't available, and iPhones and smartphones have sort of led the way with sensors. Every iPhone has a little accelerometer in it like a laser gyro (gyroscope) that these days costs just cents and ten years ago, it's probably a hundred thousand dollar Lockheed Martin part," said Mr Mayman.
The JB-10 is powered by custom modified twin jet turbines, uses regular aviation or diesel fuel and can fit in the trunk of a standard car.
Its power and maneuverability allow it to be used in search and rescue missions by emergency responders or military, something the company is developing further in its JB-11 version.
"The JB-10 and JB-11 versions that we're working on now could very easily extract somebody from a dangerous situation, so search and rescue. We already have a contract with the US Navy and that's great. That's where JB-11 comes in, that's for moving somebody - it produces more power, it's more automated. And that enables one of their guys that's in trouble to get out very quickly," he added.
The next step for JetPack is the development of a compact vertical takeoff and landing personal flight vehicle that can be flown with minimal training and stored in a regular garage.
To that end, and to help fund research and development, safety enhancements and pilot training, JetPack launched an equity crowdfunding campaign in November. The company said the US$1 million (S$1.4 million) Online Public Offering gives the general public the opportunity to invest in jetpack technology.