Buck Rogers at the Gorge?

Eric Scott is a foolhardy adventurer who just may have offered us a glimpse of the future Monday.

Carrying only 33 seconds worth of fuel and no parachute, Scott made a 21-second flight over Colorado’s Royal Gorge, using a personal jet pack.

Jet packs have been around for half a century, and fictional characters from James Bond to Buck Rogers have been using them to zip over obstacles and crush evildoers.

In reality, however, the jet packs were poor performers, able to hold people aloft only for a few seconds and allowing them to travel only a few yards.

That is until the last few years. Since then, companies like Denver-based Jetpack International have substantially improved the personal flight packs. It was Jetpack that sponsored Scott’s flight Monday. And the company promises to have a pack capable of nine minutes of flight within a year.

We don’t believe millions of Americans will soon purchase jet packs and go soaring across the skies as in some sci-fi writer’s fantasy. But jet packs that could keep individuals aloft for much longer times and traverse considerable distances might have important applications for the military, in search and rescue and elsewhere.

Even so, flying over the Royal Gorge with barely enough fuel and no parachute is crazy.


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