The idea of strapping yourself into a personal flying contraption is an oldie —from the time of Leonardo Da Vinci —but a goodie. People across the world have been fantasizing about flying in a glider or a jetpack. In Leonardo’s experience, creating a machine that flew like a hawk but flapped like a chicken was a difficult task to say the least. His idea of a glider was a colossal failure since it never took off from the ground—literally. His next idea, a giant screw which wound itself into the sky, also failed miserably. In short, Leonardo demonstrated that an enormous amount of thrust was needed to create lift, taking the passenger off the ground. In modern day, the first real concept and prototype of a jetpack was the brain-child of Glenn Martin. After years of tinkering in his garage, he created a successfully working jetpack that was piloted, only for a few seconds, by his wife, Vanessa ( “Everyone Loves Jetpack”). This jetpack is still a novelty to the world. Amazingly, his version weighs 440 lbs, a massive amount, and costs only 200,000 dollars (Perry). This is the huge yet amazing Martin Jetpack:
Thanks to Glenn Martin, the dream of personal aviation is a closer reality than ever. However, he, along with his New Zealand based company, are not the only people creating jetpacks. A new technology, the JB-9 is more along the lines of the true image of ‘jetpack’ in all of our minds. Amazingly, this thrilling machine is only the size of a large camping back pack, but can achieve speeds of up to 60 mph. and heights of 10, 000 ft (Myers). Surprisingly, this underwhelming rocket pack can achieve a ten minute flying time. This is what the jealousy producing jetpack looks like—and yes, I want one.
Both of these machines are incredible and science fiction-ish, so how do they work, and how could they be used? They work in basically the same way as a jet engine or a ducted fan. This is an electric engine, but the shape and principle is the same.
A ducted fan is a high power propellor that is contained within a rim that has less than millimeter of room in between. The distance between the propellor and its housing is important because it makes sure that the thrust generated by the propeller is more efficient and concentrated. Basically, all the air is forced straight down, not spilling out the the side—weakening the lift. Furthermore, the air pulled in over the sides forms a strong suction that helps pull the aircraft into the air. This is how the Martin Jetpack operates. However, the JB-9 is a jet engine that burns kerosene, a highly flammable gas, to create enough heat and thrust to lift off the ground. Regardless of the propulsion system, both jetpacks have amazing designs that demonstrate the intelligence of their designers.
Although these machines would be enormously fun to fly, what are their uses? On their web page, Martin Aircraft states, “After 35 years of dedicated research and using the most advanced composite technology available alongside industry-standard aviation practices, we have produced an exceptional aircraft that provides real capability for our customers, particularly in the role of saving lives” (“The Martin Jetpack”). Clearly, Glenn and his team are intent on creating machines for the benefit of people so that they can be found, rescued, and transported to safety. Another use for the jetpack comes through the U.S Military. Imagine how roops that can capture or evacuate a target area quickly could influence the way wars against insurgence groups, like ISIS or the Taliban, are fought.
Therefore, the Jetpack, specifically the Martin and JB-9, is a fantastic invention that will soon become cheaper and more popular so that everyone may have their long awaited dream of flight.
“Everyone Loves the Idea of the Jetpack.” oregonlive.com, 6 Apr. 2016, www.oregonlive.com/today/index.ssf/2016/04/everybody_loves_the_idea_of_a.html. Accessed 13 June 2017.
Perry, Nick. “How high? How fast? How much? Five questions about jetpacks.” phys.org, 7 Apr. 2016, The Martin Jetpack. “The Martin Jetpack.” The Martin Website, martinjetpack.com. Accessed 13 June 2017. Accessed 14 June 2017.
The Martin Jetpack. “The Martin Jetpack.” The Martin Website, martinjetpack.com. Accessed 13 June 2017.
themarysue.com. 23 Mar. 2016, www.themarysue.com/jb-9-jetpack/. Accessed 13 June 2017.