When I first watched the below video featuring two be-jetpacked men twisting their way around Dubai's Burj Khalifa -- the world's tallest skyscraper -- I found it a little hard to believe there's no green screen or other special effects involved.
Yet the reality has clearly eclipsed the hackneyed sci-fi Disney concept that less than 25 years ago introduced a generation to jetpacks via the movie "The Rocketeer" (which was itself a partial homage to the "Rocket Man" serials of the 1940s and 1950s). We now have dudes flying around the tallest building on the planet like it's nothing, then just quietly uploading the 4K footage to YouTube.
It's something of a testament to the rather insanely awesome technological world we live in that we're not having parades for these guys like, well...like they do in the movies. Or, maybe it's really an indictment of a world more concerned with Tom Brady's four-game suspension for letting a little air out of a leather ball. (To be fair, that is a little crazy. I mean, four games and a first round draft pick? But I digress...)
Regardless, it should be noted that we've actually been seeing people cruising around with real-world jetpacks for a few years now and one company, Martin Aircraft, plans to bring its take on the technology to market next year. Yves Rossy, one of the pilots and the inventor of the rigid-wing jetpack in the video, has flown over the Grand Canyon and the English Channel, among other places. We've even seen some guy fly around inside the Smithsonian.
But the video below, which came out Monday, demonstrates that not only are jetpacks a real thing now, but so is being able to really pilot them on what appears to be a highly technical level. Perhaps it's not surprising then that Rossy has tapped Vince Reffet, world-renowned skydiver and BASE jumper as his protege -- he's the other guy in the video flying in formation with Rossy below.
But really, you just have to watch the whole thing to believe it. It starts out with some nice cruising footage shot from a chase craft along with footage from the pilots' own GoPros before moving to Dubai about halfway through. There, it gets really dizzying.