Maintenance and inspection tasks at height may get easier in the near future following the launch of a jetpack from Maverick Aviation.
It uses a unique vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) system and is designed to be operated hands-free, allowing people to make safer flights, and precision landings on structures that are difficult to access, according to Construction Manager.
The Maverick jetpack can also be reconfigured as a heavy-lift drone that can be operated remotely. Maverick Aviation claims the device can carry 10 times the payload of current similarly sized systems on the market.
It will travel at between 10mph and 30mph depending on the task.
The first manned test flight is scheduled for next summer and the company is about to start seeking further investment to take the jetpack to market.
The jetpack is the brainchild of Hollywood animatronics expert Matt Denton and Royal Navy commander Antony Quinn. 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.
“I realised that the growing onshore and offshore wind industry really needed a solution like this. Their engineers climb up ladders inside these structures for hours each day and, in an emergency situation, it’s almost impossible to get down quickly. Drones can be useful for inspections, but in many circumstances you need to get an engineer up there.”