JetPack Aviation Starts 1st Commercial 'Human' Air Racing

Published January 4th, 2019 - 11:02 GMT
Jetpack racing (Twitter)
Jetpack racing (Twitter)

Starting next year, jetpack racing will no longer be the stuff of science fiction.

JetPack Aviation, the company behind the first commercially available jetpack, is now crossing another historical moment off its list, as it prepares to launch the world's first jetpack racing league in 2019.

To mark the announcement, the firm has released a video showing a test flight between two jetpack-wearing pilots.

JetPack Aviation conducted a series of tests over the last 12 months to prove that two pilots can wear jetpacks in close proximity to one another without getting hurt.

 

The company focused its testing around the impact of exhaust flows on other jetpacks when they're flying close together.

David Mayman, the firm's CEO, and test pilot Boris Jarry can be seen soaring and hovering over a lake, flying side by side and, at one point, playfully patting each other mid-air before taking off in opposite directions.

The tests took place above a lake in Southern California, Mayman explained.

'We did many runs up and down the lake, with the pilots slowly getting closer and closer together on each run, and found that they could fly within inches of each other when on the same level,' Mayman told Digital Trends.

'They could also hover beside each other with the pilots taking hand grips.

'We also tested fight profiles where one jetpack was above or below the other, and found that as long as there was some horizontal airspeed, this works fine and doesn’t disrupt inlet air,' he added.

The test marks the first time two jetpacks have ever been flown together, according to the company.

It serves as a necessary step in order to get the racing league started, the firm added.

'We are all really excited about this,' Mayman said in a statement.

'It is the first time in history that two jetpacks have flown together, we’ve done a huge amount of testing and now it’s time to get racing.'

Beginning next year, JetPack Aviation will invite 'qualified teams' to take part in the racing trials.

Jetpacks that are used in the racing will be able to fly at speeds of more than 200mph.

Each participant will need at least three jetpacks to participate.

'We are also in discussions with inventors of other [vertical take-off and landing] aircraft to determine whether their aircraft are appropriate for the league,' Mayman said.

'We love turbine VTOL technology and want to see the league become a place where other companies can also demonstrate their contribution to the future of transportation.'

Mayman told New Atlas that the races would likely take place over water for now, with the possibility for land races in a few years.

Head-to-head racing isn't going to take place just yet, either, as Mayman said the first trials will likely require pilots to navigate around obstacles, emphasizing speed and maneuverability, New Atlas reported.

In the future, JetPack Aviation may even explore airborne sports like Quidditch, Mayman said.

However, spectators may want to bring some earplugs if they plan to watch from the sidelines, as Mayman noted that the pilots whizzing by will 'sound like a group of fighter jets going past,' according to New Atlas.

Mayman first grabbed headlines when he tested out his company's high-powered jetpacks above London.

In a four minute flight he flew around 100 feet (30 metres) into the air above the River Thames in East London, zipping back and forth towards the ExCel conference centre.

Together with chief designer Nelson Tyler, he has launched a company called JetPack Aviation that is aiming to sell the jetpacks to the public.

The company also claims to have an agreement to develop a special heavy lifting version for US Special Forces.

The JB-10 JetPack is powered by two miniature jet engines run on aviation fuel that sit either side of a harness and can be controlled using two joysticks.

Mr Mayman and his team has so far raised over £48,643 ($60,287) out of a £300,000 ($379,000) target in a crowdfunding campaign that was launched in November 2017.

This money will help them create an electric version of the jetpack, which they hope to sell from around $250,000 (£196,000) each.

 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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