Who wants to build a real Jetpack?

Hello everyone!

My name is Toni Langer and I’m 23 years old. I’m a trained electronics technician for devices and systems and I have a project that I’m currently working on: I want to build a jet suit! I’m looking for people who are passionate about this project and want to collaborate with me.

Richard Browning with his company Gravity Industries and several others have already shown and proven that it’s possible! I think we can do better and together we can construct something that is intuitive, stable, and safe to control.

I live near Berlin and I’m specifically looking for people who have experience with small engines for model building and corresponding software, as well as proficiency in CAD software. If you have these skills or know someone who might be interested, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Here’s my basic concept:

I want to create an easy and intuitively controllable apparatus that can hover and transition into flight at will. Think of a drone (as an object! I do not plan to arrange jet engines squarely around me), the drone itself knows much more about its current situation than you could possibly keep track of. It knows its exact location and orientation and it constantly balances itself in midair. With your remote, you basically just tell it in which direction you want it to go, and it flies itself in that direction. I want to develop a jet suit that incorporates this concept. Not having to worry about how to fly, only where to. Eliminating the need for elevated upper body strength and extensive training sessions.

So why model engines?

Well, the term model engine may be a bit overspecific. Small engines that are not intended for model building but have a similar size are also available. But generally, they provide the most thrust in the smallest form factor. The market is established and will not disappear anytime soon. So spare parts will continue to be available. Additionally, they can be operated with a variety of fuels. The most common is kerosene, which is easily obtainable. So they, and in a broader sense the jetpack, can be operated with readily available fuel that doesn’t tend to spontaneously ignite.

Why not EDFs?

For one, because they don’t provide enough thrust individually, so you would have to bundle a large number of them together to generate the necessary thrust. This creates a certain redundancy, which would be good. But another crucial disadvantage is the energy density of the batteries. The battery pack would have to be incredibly large and therefore heavy to ensure decent flight time. This would in turn require more EDFs. The whole thing would quickly become extremely cumbersome and impractical. Another disadvantage is that, unlike the fuel tank, the battery pack does not get lighter when it discharges, but rather maintains its weight. And I think we’ve all seen videos of what happens when such a battery shorts internally.

Of course, the idea of a quiet jetpack that can be easily charged at an outlet and offers a high degree of engine failure safety is tempting. But I think the disadvantages outweigh the advantages here. If I have the choice between strapping 10L of kerosene or a 200-cell lithium-ion battery that draws several hundred watts or kilowatts from my back, I’d rather take the kerosene. And let’s not even start with rocket engines… highly toxic and flammable fuel, special and heavy tanks necessary, poor fuel availability, etc.

I have noted the following questions and issues:

• Danger from fragments of spontaneously disintegrating engines
• Normal operation of the engine susceptible to small air bubbles in the fuel line
• Insurance? What to do in case of personal injury?
• Legal requirements for approval?
• Test site?
• Patent protection? Which solutions are even worth protecting?

This list will probably grow enormously! Please think about everything that can go wrong and write it down here. I want to get an overview of the most pressing issues so that we have kind of a bucket list that we can then solve point by point.

A few words about marketing and sales.

I don’t think there are many people who would buy a jetpack for 500k or more. However, I believe there is a huge market for people who want to fulfill their dream of flying with a jetpack for a day. What is missing is a device and a location that allows this to be done safely. We can discuss what the flight location should look like when we get there.

The project will be financed by me in the beginning, so don’t worry about that.

I would be very happy to hear from you and I hope that we can create something great together!

Best regards,

Toni L.

A drone/quad-copter can fly like that because the thrust vectors are fixed in relation to the sensor plane. If you attach these thrusters to a human’s 4 limbs you don’t have a fixed thrust configuration and the human, in command of the 4 limbs, is the one in charge of changing the trust vectors.

So, you need to first decide how the human is to ride this platform. Calling it a Jetpack is vague and does not sound like it has any particular design figured out. Mounting to a human’s back would require the thrust to be far away from the body so not to burn the lower limbs flopping below. So the thrust would need to be out away from the human, think Buzz LIghtyear wing tips. Now you are really talking about flying wing with a human attached…

Do you have a design for where the thrust vectors will emanate from and how the human is attached?

The legal requirements abound. The US has a huge community of experimental aviation enthusiasts who annually run the two larges civilian airshows in the world, in Florida and Wisconsin. There appears to be at least one EAA chapter in Germany but I don’t know more about experimental aviation in Germany.

In general, speaking as a pilot, I’m going to point out that the legal and regulatory requirements are written in blood — humanity has paid for them in many, many lives lost in experimentation.

Many have dreamed of jetpacks. JetMan has invested years and millions.

1 Like

Well, you basically already figured the concept out. I indeed want to mount the engines on the tips of two wings that extend from a fuel tank at the center of my back. The engines are mounted at shoulder height so that your lower body acts as a passive stabilizer. I’m also planing to bring some kind of ballistic parachute into that thing at some point but… let’s solve the problem of getting that thing of the ground first before we make it safe for great heights.

I have two friends that are working at MTU which is a maintenance company for Dream liner Jets. And even though their abilities aren’t of a great need at this stage of the Project it can’t hurt to have two additional brains thinking along.

But in essence I’m looking for someone who can construct that thing with me in CAD and who I can exchange thoughts with in a quick manner like in a live call via Microsoft teams or similar platforms. Everyone that I talked to so far about that just gives me a rhetorical pat on the shoulder but doesn’t ACTUALLY wants to get involved.

As mentioned in my first post. I have an electrical background so I can take care of that side of the project but I need some other people that can give me feedback on my thoughts and also bring in their own through their filters of expertise.

I should also mention that at that point and stage I absolutely do not care weather or not it is even legal to fly a Jetpack/suit in the United states or Germany. Again, let’s build something that flies first. But if you have ever heard rumors about German bureaucracy let me tell you… their aaaallll true. So getting permissions for test flights should be next to impossible here. But I’d like to believe that there is a reason why Jetman chose dubai as a location. Without having dough at all into that but I would hope soft regulation for innovations in that field and well… I guess it’s easier to find people with money there too.

One of the lead engineers for Cirrus just died in a crash of a BRS-equipped SR22.

A jetpack will have a similar problem as a helicopter, that there’s a large transition from low enough that it’s safe to lose power to high enough that it’s safe to lose power.

I’m going to “put on my moderator hat” and say that we don’t want to use Maker Forums to promote activity that is illegal. So we’re not going to promote illegal flying activity. We can’t control what you choose to do, but this is not the place to publish that you plan to break the law, nor to encourage anyone else to break the law.

I’ll again mention the EAA — they have a huge wealth of experience with some pretty crazy and amazing experiments, not just building planes that look like commercial planes. They have lots of resources for aerodynamics, and they don’t assume that you need a degree in aerodynamics to understand it. However, you do have to study it somehow to understand it, and it’s not trivial. You need dynamics generally, too. For example, you talk about using your body as a stabilizer, but if you have too much weight behind the center of lift that’s not stable!

Thanks for clarifying on following the law! :+1:

For the center of mass question, I was referring to its relationship with the center of lift, not the center of thrust. Having the center of mass far behind the center of lift is dynamically unstable.

Well, yes. That’s probably correct. But this will only be an issue while flying with higher speeds. Because only then the surface of the pilots body will generate a significant enough lift to destabilize the whole thing. How good this can be compensated by the controls has to be assessed then when we are performing actual tests. Or through simulations. But during hover and low speed flight it should be fine.
I think stable hover capabilities are a good first milestone for the prototype after that we can tackle the problems that higher and higher flight speeds bring with them.

Does anyone know small jet engine Manufacturers? Jetcat produces it’s P-1000 engine that puts out 1100N of thrust while consuming 2,9L or 0.77gal per minute. Frank Turbine has an engine called Turbofan-TF1500 which puts out 1500N at 1,6L or 0.42gal per minute. But they haven’t started selling them yet. Does anyone know other options?

As of know I have a take of weight (pilot plus Jetpack with a full tank) of around 200kg or 441lb in mind.

What I wanna do is actually quite similar to these water jetpacks.

I will say, it’s enjoyable watching both experts and novices use these things. They both end up many times going head first into the water but one with better style than the other.

1 Like

Yep. But I think it could be worth to take a closer look at the structure itself. It may be suitable to be reused as the core structure o hold the fuel tank and engine carrier arms. Gonna do some research on that.

Additionally, Mario from Frank turbine got back to me and confirmed the release of the TF-1500 for the end of 2023. I was a bit surprised that the owner itself answered me but why not. I also asked him wether or not it would be possible to rent the engine and if he could send me some cad models to which he replied that they never thought about renting these out but that the cad models wouldn’t be an issue what so ever. Well… he didn’t send the models yet even though I send him another mail to which he repeatedly replied and ensured that it would be possible to do so. He also stated that the price for one engine will be 50k€ to 80k€. Quite a bit higher then the roughly 27k€ for Jetcats P1000 engines. Jetcat never replied to my request wether or not they rent out engines. But at least I already have the cad models for the P1000 and P550 and P400 from an earlier request that I did in 2019.