For construction site workers, every day tends to start with a work gear checklist that looks something like this:

Helmet – check

Boots – check

Hi-vis  – check

Jetpack – check

Hold up a minute, what was that last one – a jetpack?

OK, so it may not be on the list right now but, with the launch of a new jetpack prototype that’s designed to support maintenance and inspection work at hard-to-reach sites, perhaps the jetpack will become one of those essential items soon!

Work to design and develop this new jetpack has been a collaboration between Matt Denton (a Hollywood animatronics expert whose credits include Star Wars movies) and Antony Quinn (a Royal Navy Commander and CEO of Maverick Aviation).

Maverick Aviation say their innovation is the ideal solution for inspection work at sites that are difficult to access, replacing costly helicopter operations at the most inaccessible sites and helping engineers or inspectors to quickly access other challenging sites like high structures (e.g. wind turbines or tall buildings) without the need to climb any ladders.

Made from lightweight materials like aluminium, titanium and carbon fibre, the jetpack can be used to travel between 10mph and 30mph. It uses a unique Vertical Take-off and Landing system and can be operated hands-free. There’s also an autopilot option which helps the operator to multi-task as/when necessary.

Antony Quinn said: 

“The jetpack uses the same sort of jet engines that you see on a passenger plane, only ours are the size of a rugby ball. 

“What is unique about what we’re doing is the computer-controlled autopilot system that makes flying effortless and easy to control with precision. That’s how we have changed jetpacks from exciting to useful. 

“It’s so intuitive to fly that the cost of training is going to be low, so you’re going to have all sorts of professionals suddenly able to work in the most inaccessible environments safely and quickly.”

Having completed their early work on the jetpack’s control system with a grant from Innovate UK, that was secured for Maverick by Catax, the company is now planning to run the first manned test flight next summer and seeking further investment to take it to market. 

Who’s ready to fly?

With many of Sheriff’s team heading up high structures involving long stairways and ladders every day, we can’t help but wonder who among us would be ready to swap that leg-power for jet power?

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Feature image: Freepik