Saturday, September 15, 2007

Paging Buck Rogers, Paging Buck Rogers

Your jetpack has apparently arrived--or will be shortly:

German researchers this week showed off their Gryphon personal strap-on jet wing that lets the pilot scream through the air at about 135MPH. The Gryphon features a six-foot wing and hand-held rotary controls for the rudder. The system includes onboard oxygen and helmet that features a heads-up display.
Researchers say the final version of the flying wing will contain an electronic system that will take care of some of the steering for the pilot which today can be a little tricky, researchers say.
The company also plans to add small jets to the wing making it a true jetpack in the future.To land the wing today, the pilot separates the device from the backpack and opens the parachute contained inside. The wing remains attached to the pilot by a cord and falls to the ground a few feet below him, complete with the baggage stored inside - the current capacity is 44 lbs. The system is being touted as a faster and stealthier alternative to high altitude parachutes, known as HALOs currently in use by the military. While the Gryphon pilot moves through the air much faster than someone using a regular parachute, he can stay in the air much longer if need be, because there is no period of free fall, researchers say.

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