It’s still not the Iron Man that Australian entrepreneur David Mayman may have dreamed of. In fact, it is closer to Rocketman. But last week, the dreams and hopes of may technologists and geeks have made one huge step forward when Mayman became the first to pilot a personal jetpack, fly around the Statue of Liberty in New York, and live to tell the tale. A dream come true for many, it opens up the possibility of a new form of personal transportation, though probably still a few years into the future.
Mayman, together with Hollywood inventor and three-time Academy Award winner Nelson Tyler, has been secretly working on this pet project for 10 years. Secretly, though also being filmed by documentation crew, which will probably see soon. The challenge was pretty much the same challenged faced by anyone who had a jetpack dream. To build a safe and working wearable flying device.
The JB-9, the model that made it up in the air, is small enough to fit inside the car’s back seat. And yet it is also powerful enough to take Mayman across the Hudson River to the iconic US landmark. It is also FAA and Coast Guard approved, at least for this maiden flight. Of course, it’s not the first time we’ve seen people flying in the air on their own, like Jetman and his numerous stunts, the most recent ones in Dubai. But those are jetpacks with carbon-fiber wings. This, this is a jetpack plain and simple.
The JB-9 isn’t just a dream come true. It is also the start of a new business venture, at least for Mayman and Tyler. They have formed JetPack Aviation just for the purpose of R&D and commercializing the personal jetpack, painting a picture of future skies filled with people buzzing around, for chasing criminals, for search and rescue, or even just for fun. If people and governments already have a hard time adjusting to the growing number of drones, wait until humans themselves start flying up there.