It is safe to say that anybody who has sat in traffic in a busy metropolitan area has probably daydreamed about having a vehicle that can fly over the congestion so they can get to where they’re going. While we are still a ways away from being able to “activate our car’s wings,” we are about to be one step closer to personally being able to rapidly take to flight, which, for first responders, will be an important capability in any variety of emergency situations.
Does the term, “jetpack,” ring a bell?
In the context of first responders, jetpacks aren’t quite ready for prime time … yet! But they could be. And while the term “jetpack” may not formally refer to the individual flight platforms that are being developed, there’s no doubt we’ll soon see platforms made for a single pilot. Think of it as the motorcycle of the sky. It’ll be able to fit into tight places and have the sort of maneuverability to overcome terrain and vertical obstacles.
The initial reaction – not to mention the engineering demands — to jetpack technology has been similar to that of the helicopter when it was first introduced in 1939. The technology is obviously cutting edge and provides new capabilities for a number of different applications, but it also seeks to maximize capability in the vertical flight domain. At this early stage, the notion of individual jetpack technologies is mostly attracting the attention of high-tech engineers and pilots, while others see the technology as unsettling, citing safety and privacy concerns. They’re the same concerns opponents today have with unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or “drones.” The concerns overlap, as some jetpacks will be capable of being flown by an onboard pilot or, via remote control.
Read the complete report here in the June/July, 2015 Homeland Security Today.
Marcus Tooker is field operations manager at Avwatch, Inc., a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business that harnesses innovative and proven technologies to support, enhance and train federal, state and local government agencies in support of homeland security and disaster recovery.