As kids most of us either watched cartoons, read comic books, or pretended to zip around saving the day attached at the hip to our trusty flying machine, the jet pack. While not particularly practical or useful, the first rocket belt was built by Bell Labs in 1953 and I'm sad to say that they still have a long way to go. However, two companies are keeping the dream alive, so to speak. Technologia Aeroespacial Mexicana has their custom-built TAM Rocket Belt that can get you 30 seconds of lift at speeds of over 60mph on a full tank of hydrogen peroxide. The Colorado-based competition, Jetpack InterÂnational has the longest flying jet pack, the H202, which can keep you off your feet for a cool 33 seconds, 3 seconds longer than the TAM Rocket Belt. The H202 is also faster with a top speed of 70mph. With a $250k price tag for the TAM Rocket belt, which includes maintenance and flight lessons, or $150k for the H202, everything included, the choice is obvious: neither.
The two companies aren't content to stop there, however. Jetpack InterÂnational is currently working on their T73 Turbine model which will burn jet fuel increasing the lift time to 19 minutes. Troy Widgery, the founder of Jetpack InterÂnational, commented on some of the drawbacks to the current models, "If something goes wrong, you can get killed." These are profound words. He also went on to say, "Thirty-three seconds of fuel makes an inexperienced pilot twitchy."
I like jet packs and rocket belts as much as the next guy but somehow paying up to $250k to fly around with 19 minutes of combustible jet fuel strapped to my body makes every survival instinct I have go nuts. I would almost be okay with the TAM rocket belt, because at least if you crash using that one you have all that hydrogen peroxide to help sooth the burns.