DIY: this jetpack only needs “a runway and clearance” to take off
This young German is either very stupid or very brave, or some combination of it: Fritz Unger says he was inspired by daredevils like Felix Baumgartner and Yves Rossy, and decided in 2007 that he would like to take to the air. After developing a miniature jetpack, he is now working with a few friends on a full size prototype with wooden wings. The final version should be a backpack with carbon wings powered by two jet engines – delivering a combined 160 HP “equivalent to driving a midsized car”.
As Unger told Discovery Channel: “We hope to be able to fly in a real sense of meaning of flying in a couple of months”. You can see him in these videos, doing trial runs. His prototype is almost ready, all he needs now is a long runway and proper air clearance, he says.
The Skyflash wings have a span of 3,4 meters, and the pack weighs about 25 kg. The wings deliver 160 horsepower, powered by diesel fuel.
According to the team, a full tank should allow for a range of about 100 kilometers. Flying is done by moving the body, landing and taking off requires a four wheel landing gear that the pilot carries on his body.
This is how Gizmag describes the flying controls:
The controls for Skyflash are alarmingly simple. In addition to the wrist display, there’s a throttle held in the pilot’s right hand. Climbing and steering are achieved by the pilot shifting his body weight. The heat-proof boots worn aren’t just a precaution, but a design feature because the jets’ thrust angle is controlled by dipping the boots into the exhaust like the control vanes on a V2 rocket. To turn, the pilot stretches out an arm and climbing is done by bending the knees.
For emergencies, the pack includes a parachute. Also, a teeth guard would be advisable, if you ask me.
The story sounds suspiciously similar to the story of Jarno Smeets last year – which was an elaborate hoax by Dutch artist Floris Kaayk. The difference is that Unger was filmed with his jetpack by the Discovery Channel, so I would say that lowers (not eliminates) the chance that this is a hoax. Kaayk used 3D animation. To be continued surely.
We told the team on their Facebook page about our article about them. This is their reaction:
Thank you very much for sharing our project! But since we hear this very often..: What can we do to, once and for all, stop this ‘Jarno Smeets’ comparisons?
I told them a good way to dispell the doubts would be to “fly and land safely with independent observers”. Their answer was: “No problem”.[Gizmag, Skyflash]
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