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News Link • Inventions

$2 million competition aims to make jetpacks a reality by 2019

•, By Kelsey D. Atherton

The dream of flight was never meant to be confined to a 28-inch seat with 150 strangers and miniature bags of pretzels. Early aircraft were fabric and wood extensions of their pilots' bodies, technological exoskeletons carrying a dream into the air. While the laws of aerodynamics and engineering drove planes into long aluminum tubes with wings, fiction maintained the dream of a personal flying tool that people could strap to their back, ride through the air, and then arrive intact and on-time at work. For decades, inventors endeavored to turn jetpack from fictional whim to real machines, with some limited success, but nothing so world-changing as to enter the mass market. GoFly, a Boeing-sponsored competition announced today, wants to turn jetpacks from an aviation novelty to an everyday tool. To do that, it's inviting people from around the world to enter a two-year contest, with $2 million total in prizes, for the creation of a personal flying device that can carry an individual 20 miles without refueling or recharging.

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