The Illustrated History of Jet Packs

The jetpack is so closely associated with the dream of a thrilling future, you only have to ask “Where’s my jetpack?” and everybody knows what you mean. Jetpacks appeared in thousands of science fiction stories, but in the 1960s they made the leap to reality. Here are some videos of real-life in jetpacks in action, over the past 50 years.


A Romanian inventor, Justin Capră, claimed that he invented (and patented) the first jetpack in 1958, but it wasn’t a working model. There’s no independent evidence that he built a real jet pack before 1967. The first working device was built by two Thiokol Corporation engineers named Garry Burdett and Alexander Bohr in 1958 under the Project Grasshopper. It was a belt using compressed nitrogen, but it was powerful enough to run at 25-30 mph (45-50 kmh) and reach the height of 22 ft (7 m).

The Bell Rocket Belt, an early jet pack prototype built by Bell Aerosystems in the early 1960s. It could fly for 21 seconds.

And they also built The Flying Seat in 1965:

The Bell Pogo — built for use on the first moonwalk, but never used.

The RB2000 Rocket Belt, built in 1994, with a maximum flight duration of 30 seconds. It only flew once on 12 June 1995.

Powerhouse Production Rocketbelt, also known as “The Rocketman”, built by Powerhouse Productions, used during Super Bowls, show flights, and the Michael Jackson Dangerous World Tour. It could stay in the air for 30 seconds.

Yves Rossy and Vince Reffet over Dubai. These jet wingpacks made of carbon-fiber were developed by Yves Rossy in 2008, and using kerosene-burning jet engines.

The Martin Jetpack, invented by Glenn Martin in New Zealand, 2010. It could fly for more than 30 minutes

Flyboard, the water jet pack, invented by Franky Zapata in 2012

Go Fast Jet Pack, by a Colorado-based company named Jet P.I. The first was built in 2014, and it could remain airborne for 33 seconds.



Why is that the idea of a small, powerful jet engine, like the Rocketeer, still makes more sense than big bottles of compressed gas or massive ducted fans do... and those are real?

And yes, we will overlook the fact that you would need to wear special pants or some kind of leg armor.