In Brief
A company called Jetpack Aviation let a civilian with no prior training test pilot their jetpack in a California avocado orchard.

A Civilian Pilot

It’s been a long wait but jetpack technology has finally reached new heights. This week, Jetpack Aviation managed to strap a civilian on its JB-10 Jetpack — the first time a pilot with no prior training was able to fly one.

Mischa Pollack, a video blogger from Los Angeles, was selected for what Jetpack Aviation dubbed their “first civilian flight.” With less than 10 hours of training, Pollack managed to successfully fly the JB-10.

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The term flying is relative, of course. As you can see in New Atlas’ photos of the event, Pollack was mostly hovering, with the jetpack tethered to a cable, across a section of an avocado orchard in California. Still, this achievement is a major one for the company. Jetpack Aviation has been working hard to bring jetpack technology to the mainstream market.

“This is proving we can train pretty much anybody,” said Jetpack Aviation CEO David Mayman in an interview with New Atlas. “I think this speaks to the stability of the machine and the intuitive nature of flying this thing; it really is like a bike.”

Beyond Cool

Jetpack technology is certainly novel and cool, but companies pushing for its development are doing so largely because they have numerous practical applications.

In Dubai, a jetpack tech called the Dolphin system was designed to help firefighters battle fires in particularly challenging locations, such as bridges, boats and along city canals. Another version is being developed in the hopes of creating a faster emergency response in cities, particularly for tall structures like skyscrapers.

There have also been reports of a proprietary, four-turbine jetpack being developed for the US military. Such technology could be used to speed up response times in the field, and provide a more efficient way of delivering supplies.