If Jetman Dubai has its way, you’ll soon be able to reenact Tony Stark’s on-screen exploits in real life. No, the company isn’t readying a new set of facial grooming products. Instead, it’s reached a new milestone in its quest to develop a fully operational jetpack that will let you fly around like everyone’s favourite red and gold Avenger.
Late last week, Jetman Dubai released a new video showing its jetpack—really more of a suit with a carbon fibre wing and four mini jet engines attached—in action, and the results were extraordinary. With it, the company, which aims to make 100 percent autonomous human flight a thing, shows that the days of needing an aircraft to fly somewhere may be numbered.
In the thrilling video, Jetman Dubai member Vince Reffet can be seen performing a historic vertical takeoff from one of the runways at Skydive Dubai. Once in the air, Reffet, who can be seen manually controlling the rig, hovers momentarily over the Arabian Gulf before tilting forward and zooming up into the air, hitting a top speed of nearly 250 mph (about 402 kmph) and a height of 5,900 feet (1.8 kilometres). Then, as the three-minute flight nears its end, Reffet performs a roll and a loop before triggering his parachute and returning safely to the ground.
“We are so happy we achieved this incredible flight. It’s the result of extremely thorough teamwork, where each small step generated huge results,” Reffet said in a statement. “Everything was planned to the split second, and I was overjoyed by the progress that was achieved. It is another step in a long-term project.”
While the company is still working on a way of landing with the jetpack, this marks the first time it’s been able to complete a vertical takeoff from the ground. Previously tests had been carried out from raised platforms or other aircrafts. Regardless, this a huge step forward for the Jetman Dubai and offers a glimpse at a future in which we used jetpacks to get around. Ball’s in your court, flying cars.