JetPack Aviation is one of the companies that is taking the idea of manufacturing a personal aviation flight system more seriously. Led by David Mayman, the California-based company has been building and flying some of the world’s first genuine long-endurance jetpacks for many years now.
The company now says it has secured the first sale of its JB12 jetpack to an undisclosed military customer in Southeast Asia. It expects to have fulfilled the order, which is for two JB12s at the cost of approximately $800,000, within the next six months.
JackPack Aviation has not released any pictures or video of this particular model, which is described as a “classified” design derived from the earlier JB11 that is specifically intended for military use. The JB12, like its predecessor, uses three small Jetcat turbines per side. Six turbojet engines are configured in a triangle, and the new flight computers ensure that the pilot can continue to fly even if two of them fail.
The JB12 weighs approximately 48 kg, the maximum thrust is 2.34 kN and is capable of hitting a speed of up to 120 mph (193 km/h).
Everything about the JB12 is designed to make it easier for pilots who are not familiar with it to operate the device. Until now, the manufacturer’s jetpacks have been put to the test by specialized pilots and who are very familiar with their flight systems.
“The ratification of this deal demonstrates that the JB12 JetPack provides defense forces with exceptional aerial capabilities to fulfill a wide array of mission requirements. The maneuverability of the JetPack, its small form factor, which fits inside a set of standard Pelican cases, and ease of integration with our Speeder platform to complement the JB12’s capabilities, were all factors that informed the sale,” said David Mayman, JetPack Aviation Founder and CEO. “This order represents a significant step forward for us as it confirms that our development program is meeting military needs.”
While the jetpacks still do not stay in the air for long, their maneuverability means that they can have many uses in reconnaissance or exploration tasks.
However, flying with jetpacks, which have good speed and maneuverability, have very serious technical problems: they are ear-splittingly loud and require fireproof suits, helmets, and little buckets of water to douse the jets in when you land. It remains to be seen for what purpose the anonymous Southeast Asian military force bought the JB12.
In addition to the jetpacks, the company also manufactures Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft called the Speeder. Available for both commercial and military use, the Speeder will fly at over 150 mph (20 km/h), have an endurance of up to 30 minutes, can be refueled quickly, and also driven autonomously, with abilities of obstacle detection and collision avoidance.