The Dr. Bill FAQ

Was James Bond’s jet pack for real?

Ed in Half Moon Bay asked about the Bell Labs jet-pack, and wanted to know if it was ever practical, or was ever used extensively. He was asking specifically about the ones seen in movies such as James Bond, although Bill thought he was asking about the jet packs that NASA has used on the Space Shuttle.

In actuality, these were packs worn by a man on the ground, and used to hop short distances. My recollection is that they weren’t truly jet-packs with engines, but operated entirely by the force of escaping, high-pressured gases, such as Nitrogen. They were never good for more than about 30 seconds of flight, though. At various points, there have also been similar devices created by the military, including man-sized helicopters, small, single-occupancy flying platforms powered by a small jet engine (from a cruise missile, if I recall correctly), although I’ve never heard of these finding continued use, either.

This page was last modified on .


More FAQs