The pilot backs into the frame, straps himself in and controls the wingless jetpack with two joysticks. While the jetpack's concept is simple enough -- Time magazine likened it to two enormous leaf blowers welded together -- fine-tuning it into an aircraft that is safe and easy to use has been a lengthy process. Coker said the latest prototype, the P12, incorporated huge design improvements over earlier versions.
"Changing the position of the jetpack's ducts has resulted in a quantum leap in performance over the previous prototype, especially in terms of the aircraft's maneuverability," he said.
Coker said a specialized version of the jetpack designed for the military and "first responder" emergency crews such as firefighters should be ready for delivery by mid-2014. A simpler model aimed at the general public is expected to be on the market in 2015.
The price of your own personal flying machine is estimated at US$150,000-250,000, although Coker said the cost was likely to come down over time. It comes with a rocket-propelled parachute if anything goes wrong.