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A modern jetpack in flight.

A jetpack is a device, generally worn on the back, that uses some form of accelerated gas to propel the wearer through the air.

Real life jetpacks

Existing "rocket belts" provide thrust by converting concentrated hydrogen peroxide into high-pressure water vapor and oxygen, making them more like rockets than jets. Nozzles direct the gas downward along the wearer's center of mass to create lift. The wearer steers by tilting the mechanism to direct the thrust, which is controlled by a throttle in one of the hand grips. Rocket belts have little practical use because they typically carry enough propellant for less than a minute of flight.

Swiss pilot Yves Rossy developed and built a working winged pack that uses four small jet engines originally developed for model planes. Rossy's version can sustain him in flight for several minutes, but he must drop out of a plane instead of taking off from the ground, and he must use a parachute to land.

Jetpack Aviation is developing a jetpack that uses two jet-turbine engines. The frame is based on older rocket belt designs, directing the thrust downward along the wearer's center of mass. The existing prototypes can sustain the pilot in flight for several minutes on one load of fuel. The control system is similar to existing rocket belts.

"Flyboards" have also been developed in which the user stands on a platform with jets attached. These are capable of lifting an operator for several minutes.

Jetpacks in Science Fiction

  • In Star Wars, Jango Fett and Boba Fett use jetpacks. Notably, these would not actually work, since the thrust is not aligned with the wearer's center of mass: the user would tumble out of control. This is a common flaw among science fiction jetpacks.
  • The movie The Rocketeer revolves around attempts gain control of a jet pack invented by Howard Hughes.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, jetpacks or devices with a similar purpose are fairly common pieces of military equipment:
    • Jet backpacks are specifically used by Space Marine assault troops.
    • Jump jets are built into some Tau battlesuits.
    • "Rokkit pakz" used by Ork "Stormboyz" are solid-state rockets strapped to the Ork with controls consisting of little more than an on/off switch.
    • Anti-gravity wings are built into the armor of Eldar Swooping Hawk Aspect Warriors.
  • James Bond uses a jet pack in the movie, Thunderballl.

See Also