Jetpack pilot puts on 'Iron Man' show above skies of London
Published 05/10/2016 | 10:51
The "ultimate boy's toy" has soared into the London skies as the UK's first jetpack flight took off.
David Mayman, an Australian ex-commercial pilot and mastermind behind the turbine jet engine-powered JB-10 jetpack, flew 30 metres up into the sunshine.
After the four-minute flight, Mr Mayman was met with cheers and congratulations from the jetpack's designers and engineers.
He said: "It feels absolutely amazing, awesome - it's freedom."
He took off from the Royal Victoria terminal of the Emirates Air Line cable car over the Thames in east London and made two short trips back and forth towards the ExCel centre.
Having completed more than 400 test flights, Mr Mayman hopes to make an electric version of the jetpack commercially available for 250,000 US dollars (£196,000), with development starting in April next year after a £300,000 crowdfunding investment.
"This is for the city boys who grew up in the 70s and 80s and dreamt of being a real-life Iron Man," said Lucy Sharp, communications director at Seedrs Investment, the firm behind the fundraising for the electric jetpack.
"He's in talks with the US navy to give it a use beyond commercial flights.
"David is an ex-commercial pilot and this has been a dream in the making for him for a decade. He's done over 400 test flights and they've all gone smoothly but it is jet fuel on his back so it can be dangerous.
"It retails at around the price of an Aston Martin and it is the ultimate boy's toy. It'll be a choice - either Aston Martin or jetpack to work today?"
Mr Mayman has previously flown close to the Statue of Liberty in New York and more recently in Monaco.
Two engines - worth around £25,000 each - power the JB-10 jetpack using the same fuel as commercial planes.
The jetpack was designed in California and manufactured in the Netherlands by AMT, which currently manufactures military applications worldwide.
Engineer Bennie Van De Goor said Mr Mayman's "passion for a long time has been to develop a small man-carrying vehicle that he can put in his car, take out and fly.
"He's flown several things - rockets, for example".
They hope to make it available to the public as early as 2019.