An Australian company has shared a video of the first test flight of its electric-powered backpack helicopter.
Unlike gas-fired jetpacks, the CopterPack appears to use battery power to drive the device’s twin rotors.
The unnamed pilot took off from a standing, stationary position, similar to a drone, and made an equally smooth landing after less than a minute in the air.
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CopterPack released a video of a pilot demonstrating his prototype helicopter pack, with the usual twin rotors to provide lift
CopterPack released a video of the launch on YouTube, but kept most of the details close to the vest, including the design of the device, maximum speed and altitude, and flight range per charge.
In the 69-second clip, the pilot takes off near the shore from a standing, stationary position, similar to a remote-controlled drone.
After reaching a height of about 50 feet, the pilot soars and glides through the air for about 40 seconds before making a smooth standing landing.
“Early last year, I came up with the idea of building a backpack helicopter and experiencing a very unique kind of flight,” the inventor of the CopterPack, who would only share his first name, Matt, told DailyMail.com.
“The aircraft is currently in the early testing phase and still needs further development,” he added. ‘The next step for CopterPack is to develop and test a version of the aircraft with mechanical and electronic redundancy.’
There’s a throttle for the right hand and a three-axis joystick for the left hand, Matt explained.
The craft moves in the direction you tilt the joystick, but if the pilot lets go, “the autopilot will level the plane,” he said, by tilting back and forth.
CopterPack’s carbon fiber rotors have a ‘self-leveling autopilot’ feature, which causes them to tilt back and forth to maintain stability
The rotors are about three feet in diameter and are connected to a backpack with battery packs and a pair of flat armrests with hand controls
The rotors, about three feet in diameter, are connected to a backpack with a sturdy frame with “some under-hung battery packs and a pair of hand-operated flat armrests,” according to New Atlas.
The safety of such a device is questionable, given the height the pilot reaches — wearing only a leather jacket and motorcycle helmet — and how close he is to the fast-moving rotors.
After reaching a height of approximately 50 feet, the unnamed pilot glided through the air for about 40 seconds before making a smooth standing landing
The safety of such a CopterPack is questionable, given the height the pilot reaches – wearing only a leather jacket and motorcycle helmet – and how close he is to the fast-moving rotors.
However, the race to develop a safe and practical personal jetpack has been going on for years.
In their current form, jetpacks “have very short ranges and are not equipped to fly in dense airspace,” according to The Drive.
In February 2020, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum posted footage of a jetpack-carrying pilot hovering over Jumeirah Beach at a speed of 150 miles per hour.
French skydiver Vince Reffet, taking off from a launch pad at Skydive Dubai, quickly stabilized above the water and then flew off for a three-minute flight before parachuting at an altitude of about 4,900 feet.
Controlled by an operator on the ground, the Jet Wing is able to hover, change direction and perform loops.
The device, built by Jetman Dubai, can reach a maximum altitude of 20,000 feet and a top speed of 253 miles per hour.
Jetman pilots had previously been launched from elevated platforms, such as a helicopter, CNN reported:, but Reffet was the first to launch from the ground.
Reffet, 36, died in November 2020 in a training accident, where he lost control and did a backflip 800 feet off the ground.
Video from a camera attached to his helmet showed that Reffet’s parachute was deployed only after he fell to the ground.
In August 2020, two pilots landing at LAX reported seeing a man zooming in on a jetpack above the airport.
At the time, Jetpack Aviation CEO David Mayman claimed that current technology would make such sightings nearly impossible.
“It’s very, very unlikely with the existing technology,” Mayman told CBS.
‘They would run out of fuel, they use up fuel too quickly. If it’s a real jetpack, it’s noisy. People would have heard it take off and land.’
He believes that if the pilots saw a jetpack, it is likely that “whoever flew this probably built it themselves.”
Just six weeks later, on Oct. 14, the crew of China Airlines Flight 006 reported seeing a man flying through the sky in a jetpack as they descended to LAX in the early afternoon.
A person at a control tower asked if it could be some kind of UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), to which the pilot replied, “It’s like a jetpack. Too shiny’.
It is certainly possible for jetpacks to reach that height, but they quickly run out of fuel and those flying with them usually parachute back to Earth.
In December 2020, video footage appeared to show a man hovering 3,000 feet over the water at Palos Verdes, about 10 miles from the LAX sighting.
“The video appears to show a jetpack, but it could also be a drone or other object,” a Sling Academy pilot, who posted the footage, wrote in a caption.
Perfecting jetpack technology has also attracted newbies, including design student Sam Rogers.
In 2019, Rogers demonstrated a homemade jetpack that can reach speeds of 80 km/h and climb to an altitude of 10,000 feet.
Rogers created his $433,000 costume entirely from a 3D printer as part of his graduate project at Loughborough University in central England, where he held his demonstration.
“Five turbojet engines washing on your body is a very intense and visceral experience,” Rogers said at the time.
“Learning to balance, control and fly under that force feels very dynamic and the freedom of movement once in the air is like nothing else.”