Ready for Takeoff: New Device Makes Personal Flying a Reality

    19 December, 2016

    An American company says it has developed the world's first true jetpack for personal flight.

    California-based JetPack Aviation recently demonstrated its flying device to the public. It looks simple enough that almost anyone could use it to fly around.

    The company's JB-10 flying machine is built like a backpack. It looks similar to the bags people use to carry anything from food to books on their back.

    Jetpack Aviation's device is powered by two jet engines. The engines can operate on either airplane fuel or automobile diesel fuel.

    The JB-10 can fly for periods up to 10 minutes. It can reach 100 kilometers per hour and fly up to 3,000 meters in the air.

    The company says its personal flight vehicle has performed more than 400 test flights with no major problems. It says the jetpacks are still being developed and improved. The company recently launched a crowdfunding campaign online - with a $1 million goal - to raise money for more research and testing.

    JetPack Aviation's chief executive officer, David Mayman, says developments in technology over the past 10 years have finally made the jetpack a reality.

    "Ten years ago, the sensors weren't available, and iPhones and smartphones have sort of led the way with sensors."

    U.S.-based JetPack Aviation has developed a series of new devices that it says are the world's first true jetpacks for personal flight. (Credit: JetPack Aviation)
    U.S.-based JetPack Aviation has developed a series of new devices that it says are the world's first true jetpacks for personal flight. (Credit: JetPack Aviation)

    Mayman says these sensors are used to measure speed and movements. In the past, he adds, this kind of equipment could cost up to $100,000. Now it costs less than one dollar.

    Lower costs and improvements in turbine technology have made it possible for the company to develop several other devices.

    Another version of the jetpack, the JB-11, will be even more powerful. Mayman predicts this model will be used by first responders or the military during search and rescue operations.

    "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."

    The public demonstration of the JB-10 clearly showed the jetpack giving its passenger a smooth takeoff and landing. The equipment also appeared easy to operate and the device provided a stable test flight.

    But the chance to own this futuristic flyer comes at a very high price. The JB-10 device is currently listed at $250,000.

    In addition to its jetpacks, the company is also working on a quick-deploying parachute, as well as a personal flying vehicle.

    I'm Bryan Lynn.

    George Putic reported this story for VOANews. Bryan Lynn adapted it for Learning English. was the editor.

    What do you think about personal flying devices? Would you be willing to try one out? Write to us in the Comments section, and visit 51VOA.COM.


    Words in This Story

    jetpack n. device worn on a person's back that uses fuel or water to push them into the air

    backpack n. a bag worn on the back and used to carry things

    crowdfunding n. getting a large number of people to give small amounts of money to finance a business project or cause

    sensorn. device that detects or senses heat, light, sound, etc.

    turbinen. large machine that produces power using gas or steam

    enablev. to make able to do something

    stableadj. in a good, steady state not likely to change