I saw an average Joe fly a jetpack and nobody died

We've seen employees of JetPack Aviation in the sky before. But now, the company's letting people like you and me fly its newest jetpack.

Ashley Esqueda Senior Video Producer
Ashley Esqueda is an award-winning video producer and on-air talent based in Los Angeles. She has been playing video games since she was 3 years old, and loves the history of television. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband Jimi, son Wolfgang, and two very squirrely Italian Greyhounds.
Ashley Esqueda
3 min read
Ashley Esqueda/CNET
Watch this: Amateurs are flying real-life jetpacks now, nbd

There's a utopian future society that exists in my imagination. I have a few non-negotiables in it, including humanoid service robots, clean energy and jetpacks. In particular, the jetpack really captured my heart when I watched George Jetson in his flying suit and The Rocketeer light up my local movie theater screen.

I've now seen an ordinary person fly a real jetpack after a scant few hours of training. And it's just as exciting as those moments of hope and wonder I felt as a kid.

Mischa Pollack, a vlogger and designer from Los Angeles, was picked for JetPack Aviation's first "civilian" flight. After less than 10 hours of training, he was able to lift off and test the JB-10 pack.

But learning how to fly isn't the same as flying smoothly. How long would that take? "It appears that within 5 to 10 flights you'll get the hovering down at least," Chief Engineer Stefano Paris said. "You'll be able to climb up and hold position, and be steady and be in control. And then you progress forward from there."

After watching Mischa's first flight, I'm more eager than ever to reach the future where we can all travel by jetpack.

JetPack Aviation has been working on a functional jetpack for well over a decade. About two years ago, company CEO David Meyman flew the JB-9 prototype around the Statue of Liberty in a viral video. Now that the company has a functional, reliable blueprint for a jet-powered backpack, it's focusing more on the creation of a parachute safety system. To develop it, it's seeking traditional investors and running a crowdfunding campaign on Start Engine for smaller, individual investments.

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Contest winner Mischa Pollack, fresh off his first jetpack flight.

Ashley Esqueda/CNET

Obviously, we're a long way from a fully viable commercial jetpack for the masses. Aside from the obvious failsafes something like this would require to be successful on a large scale, other safety features will also come into play -- it appears most first-time flyers experience some extreme heat on their feet from jet exhaust, which isn't exactly comforting to a newbie. And most importantly, people will need training facilities. What good is a jetpack if you have no idea how to fly it?

I wondered what the future might hold for a jetpack that runs on fossil fuels, but JetPack Aviation says it's also working on an electric pack. The Daily Mail, reported in 2016 that JetPack Aviation might sell an electric version of the JB-10 this year to "well qualified buyers" for around $250,000 (approximately £198,380 or AU$331,200). So my jetpack dreams might be closer than I think, so long as I can raise the cash.

Imagine grabbing your briefcase, unplugging and putting on your pack, taking off to work from your sidewalk. You'd be the envy of your office. Of all the offices. Everywhere. Forever.

Science has got to figure out how I can avoid helmet hair. Because someday, I'm gonna fly a jetpack.

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