Video: A jet-pack flight over a Colorado gorge

Jet packs are science fiction no more. A stuntman uses hydrogen peroxide-filled tanks to propel himself 1,500 feet across the Royal Gorge.

It's the stuff of science fiction and James Bond. Strap a jet pack to your back and fly like a bird--sort of. But jet packs are science fiction no more.

It's 1,500 feet across from cliff to cliff, and more than 1,000 chilling feet down to the bottom of the Royal Gorge on the Arkansas River near Canon City, Colo.

"You're going to see me on the other side. This isn't an 'Evel-Knievel, get-a-lot-of-media-out-and-just-screw-it-up' gig, you know," stuntman Eric Scott told CBS station KCNC-TV correspondent Rick Sallinger prior to the flight.


And for good measure, Scott was not using a parachute.

"It's going to be sweet; it's going to be an epic ride," said one spectator.

"I hope he survives," said another.

The former Air Force para-rescuer uses hydrogen peroxide-filled tanks to create a propellant of steam. Scott claims to have made several hundred successful launches.

With spectators watching heart in hand, Scott ascended--and 21 seconds of suspense later--was back standing on terra firma, on the other side of the gorge.

"Concrete never felt so good," he said.

Appearing on CBS' The Early Show, Scott said he had been making jet pack flights for 16 years, and decided to make the attempt at this year's Go Fast Games, an annual weekend of base jumping and bungee jumping at the Royal Gorge Bridge.

Scott told co-anchor Harry Smith that the jet pack only has enough fuel for a 30-second flight, and that he expected the flight from one side of the gorge to the other to take from 25 to 29 seconds.

"Boy, if it had been 29," quipped Smith.

"I would have been right," Scott gamely replied.

And he really never thought of taking a parachute?

"People kept saying if you want to put a parachute on it, that's fine," Scott said. "It works beautifully every time--800 flights, the machine has never failed on me."

What was he thinking halfway through, on a picture-perfect day, at 1,000 feet above the Arkansas River?

"I'm picking up enough, I think I'm going to get over there," he said.

And once he landed?

"Man, my hands were just trembling," he said. "When I approached the far west of the canyon I overcorrected. Well, I saw that inflatable Go Fast banner; I thought, I can bounce off that if anything goes wrong."

 

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