Man plans jet pack flight across Colorado’s Royal Gorge
DENVER A man plans to use a hydrogen-peroxide powered jet pack to travel 1,500 feet across Colorado’s Royal Gorge near Canon City Monday, pushing the outer limits of a technology long ago abandoned by the military.”It’s pretty much incomparable to anything I’ve done in the past,” daredevil Eric Scott told the Rocky Mountain News via cell phone from Mexico City. “I’ve never done a distance that long, and then there’s such a huge gap below.”The Royal Gorge, cut by the Arkansas River in southern Colorado, is more than 1,100 feet deep. The Royal Gorge Bridge that spans it was the site of a deadly stunt in October 2003 when Dwain Weston, 30, apparently miscalculated a parachute jump while wearing a “wing suit” and a hit a railing on the bridge and fell to his death.Scott works for Denver-based Jet P.I., which developed the futuristic-looking jet pack for stunts, promotions and other events around the world for Go Fast Sports & Beverage. Both companies were founded by Troy Widgery.The jet pack, featured last year during Monday Night Football, is based on one developed in the 1960s by Bell Aerosystems for the military. The original machine was too heavy and could fly for only about 20 seconds, making it impractical.Using carbon fiber technology and hydrogen-peroxide for fuel, the lighter jet pack can fly for about 33 seconds at speeds more than 70 mph.The company is working on a lighter, more advanced model featuring a turbine that would be able to fly for nine minutes. Widgery said there likely is only an extremely niche market, though there could be military or police applications for such a jet pack.”It’ll probably be more of a novelty than anything,” Widgery said. “It’ll be more for people like (British tycoon) Richard Branson and extreme athletes.”
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A driver looking to squeeze one last four-wheel drive up Aspen Mountain discovered that it’s not the ascent but the descent that poses a challenge.