Science fiction author William Gibson once remarked that the future was already here, just unevenly distributed. What he meant was that the futuristic dreams of the ’60s—a jetpack in every home, a flying car in every garage—was only off the mark in that the gadgets wouldn’t be available for everybody anytime soon.
More than five decades after the premier of the Jetsons, ex-Swiss pilot Yves Rossy built his own custom jet-pack in 2004, and has since flown over the Swiss Alps, the English Channel, and the Grand Canyon. In 2015, he added Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to that list.
“I want to make possible what humans have only been dreaming of and I believe that Dubai provides the right environment and infrastructure for me to achieve this,” Rossy said on his website.
The jet-pack, which weighs more than 120 pounds, flies at an average speed of 125 miles per hour, and has enough fuel to last between 6 and 13 minutes. At the moment, they don’t have launching capacity, and Rossy is dropped from a helicopter in mid-air.
In his Dubai flight, Rossy was joined by Vince Reffet, a Frenchman who has won several gold medals in skydiving competitions in the past decade.
Meanwhile, a New Zealand company has already began the task of producing commercial jet-packs. Martin Jetpack began making sales in 2014, and raised $21 million in its IPO earlier this year.
The Martin Jetpacks could sell well over $200,000 a piece, and at the moment remains a luxury gadget for the wealthy, but who knows? Tesla’s electric vehicles also carried a hefty price tag at first, and now Elon Musk wants to sell them for the price of an average car.
The Jetsons’ Dream remains alive and well.