May We Suggest The "Zoom?"
For those of you who were outbid on Dago Red when the revered
Reno racer appeared on eBay back in October, or just missed the
final winning bid on the last flying Sopwith Camel
last month -- or, you're still trying to figure out how to assemble your F/A-18
-- Aero-News is pleased to bring you the latest from eBay: a
Or, more accurately, a jetpack name. Which means you won't be
able to fly the thing, even if your bid of $10,000 is the winner
(which it likely wouldn't be, as the buy-it-now price is
The contraption uses eight AMT USA AT450 turbines, each
developing approximately 45 lbs of thrust, according to the
developer. At full power, all eight engines will burn 1.3 gallons
of fuel -- which, depending on weight, will give the operator
anywhere from three to six minutes of flight time (five minutes,
with a 210-pound operator, according to the manufacturer.)
To avoid singed trousers, the engines are "cantered" away from
the operator, according to a response to one of 46 questions asked
of the poster (we suggest he also watch the rug.)
While the developer doesn't expressly reveal his identity on the
eBay site, visible in one of the photos displayed shows the link to
the aptly named skywalkerjets.com, a company formed by Richard
Herron to make... yup, jetpacks.
"...As of 31 Oct 2005, I have begun the process that will bring
true jet packs to the world. This is a bold statement to make, but
a true one," says Herron on the website, adding the first flight of
the pack was to have occurred before January 1st.
Judging by the Q&A on eBay (which, if you have the time,
makes for some entertaining reading) it hasn't flown yet.
Herron states quite emphatically that he isn't selling his
jetpack -- which will also feature an "integrated global
positioning system," according to his website -- but rather the
right to name it. And nothing vulgar or racist, please.
The auction will be up for 10 days. With seven days to
go, one bid has placed, for $10,000.
Herron expects to make production models weighing around 90
pounds, offering flight times of as long as 10 minutes. One
conceivable role, according to skywalker.com, would be to launch
skydivers up to altitude, where they could then deploy their
'chutes and float down -- which sounds like a great idea, come to
think of it.
"Some people think I'm crazy. I'm only as crazy as Howard
Hughes... before he actually went crazy LOL," said the manufacturer
Maybe, maybe not... but as history has shown time and again,
crazy is by no means a disqualifier in the world of aviation. We
wish him well.