Ebay Jetpack Sale: Only $1M!
January 10, 2003 6:34 PM   Subscribe

The Future of Transportation: No automobiles polluting the environment... No need to seal the Earth in concrete... Just the joy of flight in your own jetpack! Okay, maybe I'm dreaming (a nightmare, actually, for the auto and oil industries...) But your own Personal Exoskeleton Flying Vehicle: Solo Trek XFV can now be had for a paltry $1M. Isn't this what we dreamed of as kids? (Like everything, the price is bound to drop as the technology gets cheaper. Mass production, etc... Wouldn't it be nice? *sigh*)
posted by Shane (16 comments total)
By the way, before someone smart points it out: I realize moving the Earth's traffic off the roads and into the sky would be a logistical nightmare... But I can dream. And no, ST XFV does not utilize "jetpack" technology. Also, you can buy it, but you must agree not to fly it due to liability issues.
posted by Shane at 6:34 PM on January 10, 2003

Does it run on a Mr. Fusion?
posted by Stan Chin at 6:40 PM on January 10, 2003

With a max range of a little over 100 miles and a fuel tank of 15 gallons, that Solotrek pollutes the atmosphere far worse then any automobile. Even large SUVs get better than 7 miles/gallon, I think.

A 7 mpg vehicle that carries only 1 person isn't an oil company nightmare, it's their wet dream.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:06 PM on January 10, 2003

* sigh *
posted by Shane at 7:34 PM on January 10, 2003

Or you could just build your own.
posted by Wet Spot at 7:44 PM on January 10, 2003

Like it or not, we will most likely be seeing vehicles of this sort before too long. i've been following the Solo Trek program for a while and if memory serves, DARPA expressed an interest in it for one of their projects. The Moller Skycar has also received attention for it's potential usefulness in border patrol.

While they may be wasteful, it's an early manifestation of the technology, we can only hope that in time it comes down in price and improves in efficiency.
posted by quin at 7:52 PM on January 10, 2003

No automobiles polluting the environment...

Come on, it was in the first line.

The pollution from jet engines on everybody?

I think I'll wait for the anti-gravity boots.
posted by hama7 at 8:21 PM on January 10, 2003

The Moller Skycar has also recieved attention for its seven thousand year development cycle (current and only phase: "testing")... I remember reading about it in Popular Science, when I was maybe nine years old, being excited that they planned to have it available to the public by 1990.
posted by kevspace at 8:22 PM on January 10, 2003

Growing up in Buffalo, I saw a demonstration of one of the Bell Aerospace Jet Packs when I was a little kid. I remember watching the guy fly around a parking lot for ten minutes and then landing. Everyone told me I'd probably be flying one of those to work one day. As it is, I walk and it's a lot less trouble.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:23 PM on January 10, 2003

My understanding of Moller's "extended testing" phase is that it relates more to problems with establishing a licensing protocol with the FAA (is it a car? a plane? a helicopter?) than it does to any serious design hurdles. They do claim to have at least one working prototype.

Still, it has been in testing for an awfully long time. We could see cities built around Segways before this hits the sky in any meaningful way.
posted by quin at 10:55 PM on January 10, 2003

So the morons who can't drive for shit will be buzzing around in jet-packs soon?
Time to move to Montana.
posted by 2sheets at 10:15 AM on January 11, 2003

posted by Shane at 10:22 AM on January 11, 2003

for shane
posted by ginz at 10:53 AM on January 11, 2003

I see several technologies radically improving this idea in the next few years. There have been huge jumps in the efficiency of batteries, capacitors, inductors and fuel cells.
(For example, a rail gun cap deals in 5+ MJoules worth of energy in a device the size of a suitcase. That is one heck of a lot of energy. This, of course, would be a lot smaller.)

I picture it like this: You pour a gallon of methanol into your home fuel cell. It charges a battery the size of a couple of D cells, which will give your machine a hundred mile range. And pretty pollution-free, at that.

Guidance, avoidance and navigation are all performed by an onboard computer. All that you might have to do is go straight up 50 feet or so, then look through a scope and pinpoint a target destination and tell the machine "go there." It does the rest, safely.

Most of this is current or in development technology. Not as pie-in-the-sky as it once was.
posted by kablam at 6:03 PM on January 11, 2003

for shane

Awww, thanks, ginz!! I feel better already! And the autogyro is a true retro classic and a mainstay of pop culture--I mean, Doc Savage and his crew flew one in the '30s! (And ├╝ber-hip comic writer Alan Moore [of Watchmen and From Hell fame] gave his Doc-influenced Tom Strong an autogyro as well.)

The autogyro you linked to runs on diesel, but let's just pretend it will be ultra-fuel efficient someday. I'm sure Doc Savage's autogyro would never pollute! Here are a couple vintage 'gyros from the '20s and '30s.

Da Vinci's 15th s. aerial screw is usually credited with being the first autogyro design and the progenitor of the helicopter, but some people believe the Chinese dreamt of rotary-wing flight as early as the 4th s. A.D.:

The first concept of rotary-wing aviation came from the Chinese in the Fourth Century A.D. (Fay 125-126). A book called "Pao Phu Tau" tells of the "Master" describing flying cars (fei chhe) with wood from the inner part of the jujube tree with ox-leather straps fastened to returning blades as to set the machine in motion (huan chien i yih chhi chi) (Fay 125-126). "Joseph Needham, the author of Science and Cilivization, also suggests that although this was no more than a design for a toy, it is indeed the first recorded pattern of what we might understand as a helicopter" (Sadler 1). The concept of rotary-wing aviation had unquestionably been found, but the technology needed to create a helicopter had not been produced.

Here is where we're headed, woo hoo!
(...okay, so there's always just a little campiness in my comments...)
posted by Shane at 8:32 PM on January 11, 2003

posted by ginz at 9:24 AM on January 12, 2003

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