Are you disappointed that it’s 2020 and there are no flying cars yet or jetpacks? However, JetPack Aviation has the next best thing – a flying motorcycle!
Based in Los Angeles, JetPack Aviation was founded by David Mayman in 2014, initially to provide jetpacks for the military.
To show that they were safe, Mayman flew one around the Statue of Liberty in November of 2015 and over London’s River Thames at one hundred feet in the air in October of 2016.
The year 2018 saw the company begin to develop the Speeder, a flying motorcycle to help deliver needed medicines quickly, to provide rescue and transport for the injured, and for military applications. There is also a recreational device being developed for civilians.
The project was funded with two million dollars from investments raised by seed accelerator firms from Silicon Valley which help entrepreneurs launch their businesses.
Y Combinator can claim Airbnb as a success story; Jaan Tallinn, co-founder of Skype, is a programmer, investor, and physicist, Draper Associates assisted in the startup of Tesla, Twitch, and 600 other companies; and Cathexis Ventures, a Houston, Texas private investment firm that often focuses on non-profit ventures.
According to Jetpack Aviation’s website, the Speeder weighs about two hundred and thirty one pounds, has a thrust speed of seven hundred and five pounds depending on the weight of the rider.
With a top speed of one hundred fifty miles an hour, and can fly as high as fifteen thousand feet. It runs on kerosene, JetA, or diesel fuel.
There are two versions for the public, the Ultralight Version and the Experimental Category Version that will only set you back about three hundred and eighty thousand dollars for a base price with a ten thousand dollar deposit.
The owner of an Ultralight will not need a pilot’s license but must complete special training authorized by JetPack Aviation and the FAA before they take delivery.
The top speed for the Ultralight is sixty miles per hour with a five gallon capacity fuel tank that will keep the average weight rider up for about twenty minutes depending on speed. The Experimental Version does require a pilot’s license but has no speed or fuel restrictions.
They are usually used in military and government applications, but if one is pre-ordered by a private citizen, the prospective owner will be invited to the factory to watch the finished product come off the line which is required by the FAA for experimental aircraft.
The Speeder can take off and land vertically from a space as small as a parking spot at the mall and can be manually operated or flown fully autonomously.
The company says it will be lighter than the majority of current 125cc motorcycles. A one third scale prototype of the Speeder has been constructed and is currently in the testing phase in California.
Jetpack Aviation’s website also tells of founder Mayman’s early rocketry beginning in the 1980s when he and design engineer Nelson Tyler built the very first rocketbelt which made its debut at the Olympic Games in 1984 hosted by the city of Los Angeles.
Tyler and Mayman met up again in 2007 and spent several years creating the JB9 JetPack that Mayman flew around Lady Liberty in an FAA sanctioned flight.
Until 2018, they worked on better jetpacks, launching the JB10 and the JB11 with better computers that will accommodate an engine failure with balanced thrust.
The two inventors flew the jetpack in demonstration shows in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles and internationally in Cannes, London, Budapest, and Tokyo. It was even included in an Oscar Meyer television commercial.
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The first time two jetpacks were flown together was in December of 2018 over a lake in California leading JetPack Aviation to declare they would be the first to start a JetPack Racing League.