Why walk or drive a car when you can fly? That’s probably what Frenchman Franky Zapata thought, and he and his company of the same name have now unveiled the Jetracer. This is more or less a comfortable chair that whizzes through the air at 250 km/h with turbine propulsion.
Flying in a rocket chair: that’s the Jetracer
Zapata has designed some extraordinary air and water vehicles in the past. Among them the up to 150 km/h fast Ez-Fly, a flying hoverboard or a water-powered drone.
The new Jetracer, however, puts the crown on it all. The manufacturer describes the aircraft as“a vertical takeoff and landing aircraft” powered by 10 micro-turbo jet turbines.
It is said to be characterized primarily by its impressive speed of 250 km/h and its high maneuverability, but in return it offers only a relatively short range. How long the flight duration and range will be in concrete terms, however, was not revealed.
How to describe the device, I don’t really know either. Basically, it’s a kind of “rocket chair” for one person, with the pilot whizzing through the air in the open air. It goes without saying that helmets are compulsory. So the concept is a little different than in the case of the aircar, which received its certification in January 2022.
Vertical takeoff to 3,000 meters
Thanks to its ten engines, the jet racer can take off vertically, hover above the ground and fly at a constant altitude. However, the flying chair does not offer propellers, which of course also benefits safety.
The manufacturer promises that two of the turbines can fail without any problems and without any consequences for the flight characteristics. The jet racer is said to be able to reach a maximum altitude of up to 3,000 meters, while the permissible total weight is put at 200 kg.
According to Zapata, the core applications of the rocket chair are in the private sector as a fun recreational activity, as well as in the military and civil security sectors, as the Jetracer is able to approach steep terrain and also operate in strong and turbulent winds.
Even autonomous flights should be possible, according to the manufacturer, for example to transport special materials. The first prototype is already airworthy, but it is unclear when the futuristic aircraft will be completed.
In the U.S., however, interested parties can take part in one of the maiden flights themselves. There, you can register on the Zapata homepage, whereupon 100 people will be invited for the tests, 25 of whom will then be allowed to climb into the saddle themselves.