If you'd asked me when I was 10, I would have told you WITHOUT A SHADOW OF A DOUBT that by 2011 we'd all be shooting around in the sky with jetpacks on, crashing into each other, getting sucked into jet engines, and all around dying every way possible a person with a rocket strapped to their back can. But are we? Nooooooooooooo. Enter Martin Aircraft, the developer of a 'jetpack' (which actually functions with ducted fans and not jets) I've been reporting on since 2008, just waiting to get my hands on one and touch the sky. Oooooooor hover outside your bedroom window watching you change.
Jetpacks...have no passive ways of generating lift, so if you run into a mechanical issue, you're pretty well screwed. Martin Aircraft is well aware of this potentially fatal shortcoming, so they've installed a ballistic parachute system designed to get you to a safe landing no matter what happens.
A ballistic parachute is just like a normal parachute except that it uses a small explosive charge to deploy itself really, really fast. Since you don't have to wait for the parachute to open, it'll do its job even if you're close to the ground
There's still no official release date, but there is a video after the jump of a guy taking the thing to 5,000ft (you should have gone the extra 280-feet to a mile and played with yourself!) and deploying the emergency parachute. SPOILER: it worked. "Dammit!" You're sick.
UPDATE: Test dummy, not an actual person. Now even I'm pissed that shit didn't catch fire and explode.
Hit the jump for an okay video.
Thanks to Mike, Joseph B., costy and Reed, who have all reached for the stars with over $100 of fireworks strapped to their backs. How'd that work out for you guys? Nothing but burnt buttcheeks?