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Pilot Talk, "Jet Packs Finally on Sale"



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-----Original Message-----
From: pilot-owner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:pilot-owner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Stephen Irwin
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2007 5:11 PM
To: pilot@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: CAA: Pilot Talk, "Jet Packs Finally on Sale"

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Jet Packs Finally on Sale
By Erik Sofge
Popular Mechanics


To some extent, everyone's in the market for a jet pack. But since Bell
Labs built the first rocket belt (the correct, if less exciting, name)
in 1953, potential buyers have been stymied by two problems: Rocket
belts aren't for sale, and even prototypes run on modern-day fuel (as
opposed to whatever the Jetsons use) - which means rocket belts can
weigh upwards of 100 pounds, with only enough fuel to stay aloft for
under a minute. Now, a pair of companies have solved one of these
problems - rocket belts are for sale.

Mexican start-up Tecnologia Aeroespacial Mexicana (TAM) offers its
custom-built TAM Rocket Belt for $250,000, which includes flight and
maintenance training. On a full tank of hydrogen peroxide the belt
weighs
124 to 139 pounds (the bigger the pilot, the bigger the belt), and
provides 30 seconds of flight. TAM's sole competitor is Jetpack
Inter-national, a Colorado-based company that sells what it calls "the
world's longest-flying jet pack." Technically speaking, it's true - the
hydrogen-peroxide-burning Jet Pack H202 can stay in the air for 33
seconds, 3 seconds longer than TAM's model. The H202 weighs 139 pounds,
and is competitively priced at $155,000, flight classes and all.

Jetpack International founder Troy Widgery is the first to point out the
drawbacks of current short-flight rocket belts. "If something goes
wrong, you can get killed," Widgery says. "Thirty-three seconds of fuel
makes an inexperienced pilot twitchy." The solution? Ditch the rocket
belt, and build a bona fide jet pack (okay, jet belt). Widgery plans to
release the T73 Turbine by the end of the year; it's a $200,000 model
that will burn jet fuel, allowing it to stay airborne for 19 minutes.
Not to be outdone, TAM is working on a propane-burning jet belt, though
it hasn't said when it will be available. While swapping inert hydrogen
peroxide for propane or Jet-A fuel has obvious drawbacks, jet belts
would be, for many, a childhood dream come true. "With 19 minutes you
can take things slower," Widgery says. "You aren't spending the whole
flight thinking about where to land." We'll take his word for it.

JET PACK H202
Top speed: 70 mph
Flight time: 33 seconds
Price: $155,000

TAM ROCKET BELT
Top speed: More than 60 mph
Flight time: 30 seconds
Price: $250,000

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