The idea of a jet pack seems like the ultimate flying experience – if we could just get them to work!
Actually jet packs are better thought of as “rocket packs” since jets mix flowing air to create combustion where jet fuel is carried and combusted together during flight. Most “jet packs,” use “rocket pack” technology.
Back in 1949 when the U.S. Army thought it might be nice if a single soldier could propel himself into the air over enemy territory, take a quick look around then jet back to camp with the Intel. By 1952 a rocket pack actually lifted Thomas Moore into the air for a few seconds. But that was it: a few seconds.
Next came the “Rocket Belt.” It flew for a longer period of time and could go 10 mph, but the military wasn’t impressed because it was too big and too heavy.
Since that time, the push to create jet packs has pretty much stopped, except within the ranks of amateur inventors who use their inventions for air shows.
The reason no one has been able to create a useful jet pack is because human beings aren’t aerodynamic in the least, forcing a jet pack to do all the work. The thrust necessary to get us off the ground eats up a lot of fuel. The result has been that we can get off the ground for around 30 seconds, but after that point the fuel is spent. If we use more fuel it weighs us down taking up more fuel. It’s a catch-22 that can’t get off the ground.
In the end, we haven’t moved forward to develop the technology because there isn’t a great need for it. Anything a jet pack might be able to do can be done now by already existing technology that is a lot cheaper and can carry more – think airplane, or helicopter.