Jetpack Pilot Leaps Royal Gorge

Speaking of jetpacks, stuntman Eric Scott has brought futuristic daydreaming to the forefront once again by flying over Colorado's Royal Gorge earlier this week using just such a device.

In what has been called a world record, Scott covered 1,500 feet across the gorge, which drops more than 1,000 feet to the Arkansas River. Flying at about 75 miles per hour, he completed the flight in 21 seconds. (Video below.)

His jetpack, based on a design invented by Bell Aerosystems in the 1960s known as the Rocket Belt, uses superheated hydrogen peroxide to provide thrust. Bell's original design could fly no more than 20 seconds, but more recent developments have extended the flight time to a little over 30 seconds.

In 2004, Scott set the record for highest jetpack flight, soaring 150 feet above London. I'm having trouble, however, verifying exactly what record was allegedly set on Monday. Most reports simply refer to it as a "world record" with no qualifications. One report says it was the longest flight, but jetpacks have previously flown for longer than 21 seconds. Another states it was a record for both height and distance, neither of which I've been able to corroborate.

Now, distance is a definite possibility, but I have to voice my disagreement with claims to height. I mean, if I were to jump my bicycle over a narrow crevasse 1,000 feet deep, nobody would buy my world-record-setting "1,000-foot-high" jump, even if I were wearing a nifty jumpsuit.

Still, I'll readily admit that any jetpack flight is a cool one, no matter how far you go.

See video
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