🚀 A history of the personal jetpack, which we still don’t have.

In the opening sequence of the 1965’s Thunderball, James Bond, having just dispatched the villainous SPECTRE agent Colonel Jacques Bouvar, flees to the rooftop of Bouvar’s French chateau, dons a futuristic-looking jetpack, and makes his dramatic escape. Given its fantastical, over-the-top nature, this scene was obviously accomplished via the magic of Hollywood special effects, right? Well, no, actually. As incredible as it might seem, the vehicle featured onscreen was a real-life working jet pack, developed by Bell Aircraft and flown for the cameras by Bell test pilot Bill Suitor. But if working jet packs existed back in the 1960s, why, then, don’t we see them in every garage alongside flying cars? Well, as the long and frustrating history of jetpack development shows, it is certainly not for lack of trying.

Tyler Hellard @poploser