Daredevil with a jetpack blasts off in Beijing

Daredevil with a jetpack blasts off in Beijing
PHOTO: China Daily/ANN

Soaring into the air with a roar like that of a jumbo jet, the jetpack made its 27-second China debut on Saturday in Beijing.

Over 1,000 spectators watched the hydrogen peroxide-powered jetpack propel pilot Nick Macomber roughly 10 floors high within seconds, like a mini-rocket launch.

He hovered in a standing position and made two 20-meter circles before landing safely on the ground. The three fuel cylinders almost ran empty.

"One of my biggest dreams is to fly over the Great Wall," Macomber said. In 2014, he jumped and was airborne for 30 seconds before landing back on the roof from the 45th floor of a hotel in Denver.

Organizers hope Saturday's brief, yet breathtaking stunt gives Chinese a glimpse of a future transportation system. But before jetpacks go full throttle to everyday transportation, there is an array of technological difficulties to overcome.

The jetpack can travel 124 kilometers an hour but a distance of less than 800 meters. The maximum flight duration for the device is about 33 seconds.

Troy Widgery, founder of the device maker, JetPack International, said the company is developing a turbine-powered jetpack. The next-generation jetpack will significantly expand travel distance and flight duration by about 30 minutes, he said.

The jetpack made its maiden flight in the 1950s. Its most eye-catching moment was a seconds-long descent during the opening ceremony of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

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