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Tue, Nov 25, 2008

Royal Gorge Jet Pack Flight Successful

Propels Man 1,500 Feet Across Arkansas River

Jet packs -- that is, real ones -- generally suffer from very short endurance. The longest flight of the original Bell rocket belt was just 26 seconds. A newer, lighter, carbon-fiber design using hydrogen peroxide rockets, has upped that record to 33 seconds.

Yeah, we know, that doesn't seem like a real great improvement... but it was long enough to stage a spectacular demonstration last year on Monday Night Football. And a little 12:00 pm MST on Monday, it was long enough to propel pilot Eric Scott 1,500 feet across Colorado's Royal Gorge near Cañon City.

"This is a new jet pack record," Scott told KOAA-5 after landing on-target, despite a last-minute crosswind gust. "The height, 1,053 feet off the floor. 1500 feet across. That is a world record."

The Denver Post reports Scott works for Denver-based Jet P.I. Unlike Bell's rocket belt, which was developed with military applications in mind, the Jet PI jetpack is designed specifically for use in publicity stunts and demo flights.

Scott obviously had great confidence in the machine -- he flew without a parachute. The Royal Gorge drops more than 1,100 feet down to the Arkansas River.

Still, the pilot admitted to feeling quite nervous before his flight. "You can't help it. When you're standing in front of certain death. If it goes wrong, you have some concerns, but you got to stick that on the back shelf."

Scott made those comments moments after his flight. We'd guess his feet still haven't touched the ground!



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