California-based extreme sports and power racing firm Jet Pack International has announced that it is taking pre-orders for a commercial jetpack it intends to launch during 2008.
Provisionally called the T-73, the machine is the brainchild of skydiving and extreme sportsman Troy Widgery who first made his fortune with sports drink company, Go Fast Sports, in the 1990s.
According to Widgery, the idea for making a jetpack first came about when he was a boy. Like millions of others he was inspired by Sean Connery's use of a jetpack in the James Bond movie, Thunderball. In 2003 Widgery called in a couple of friends and set about producing his own real-life version of Connery's jetpack.
The T-73 differs from previous jetpacks in that it runs on aviation fuel, rather than hydrogen peroxide, giving it a significant increase in flying time. Whereas hydrogen peroxide-powered jetpacks such as the Bell Aerosystems one showcased at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics could only manage 30 seconds in the air, Widgery's T-73 can run for up to ten minutes.
Other impressive specs include a top speed of 83mph, an estimated range of 27 miles, a maximum height of 250 feet and a fuel capacity of five gallons. But before rushing out to place your order, be advised that the T-73 is expected to retail for $200,000 and that flying lessons for all new pilots will be compulsory