Personal Jet-Pack: a Steal at $100,000
A San Francisco company has announced an innovative and impractically-priced personal jet-pack, so I thought I'd bust this onto the site before Edmund Jenks got to it!
Yes, a jet-pack.
A company called Thunderbolt Aerosystems announced this week the release of the Thunderpack, which "represents more than a decade's worth of effort to apply modern rocket fuels and propulsion technologies to create a practical and economical personal air vehicle." It'll fly you around for a total of 75 seconds. That's certainly an improvement over a jetpack at the Wirefly X Prize Cup in 2006 that could stay aloft for a mere 30 seconds.
Thunderbolt, which was founded by San Francisco Bay Area entrepreneur Carmelo Amarena as a strategy for dealing with a stressful commute, hopes that technological improvements within a year will enable up to 35 minutes of flight.
Also, the pack's range is a bit limited, so if you live more than about half a mile from where you work, then you'll have to land (preferably not on a crowded sidewalk, or in the middle of the street, or on me) and lug the thing to work... oh, and it weighs 350 lbs fully fuelled, and a manageable 72.
From Thunderbolt Aerosystems' website:
In the dual-fuel mode, it has the capability to burn two fuels; the oxidizer (hydrogen peroxide or PERTOL) and a hydrocarbon fuel, like kerosene, diesel or methanol. The TP-R2G2 is the flagship of Thunderbolt Aerosystems and will be available for sale in both formats HTP or dual-fuel setups.
Oh, and one more thing... they base their peroxide-fuel system on that most intrepid of creatures, the bombardier beetle:
Bombardier beetles, when physically assaulted, eject a hot quinonoid spray from the tip of the abdomen. Photographic evidence is presented demonstrating that the African bombardier beetle, Stenaptinus insignis, can aim its spray in virtually any direction. It can target its individual legs, and even the individual segments of its legs. Moreover, in aiming at a leg, it takes into account the postural orientation of that leg. The beetle is able even to target sites on its back. It is postulated that the ability to aim helps the beetle mainly in defense against ants.