With $4 gas prices looking like a permanent fact of life, consumer interest in jetpacks and other forms of personal air transport might soon go from whimsy to reality. That seems to be driving the engineers at Tecnologia Aeroespacial Mexicana, whose latest project is the "Libelula Rocket Helicopter."
Don't laugh. This may look like something from a '50s sci-fi movie, but its creators have already produced a "Rocket Belt" built to custom specifications. The personal chopper could be also be more reliable than its full-size counterparts because, Dvice says, "by using tiny rocket motors at the tips of the rotor blades, the Libelula eliminates the torque which makes a tail rotor necessary in a conventional helicopter."
There are other potential advantages over the jetpacks we've seen, including price. We assume that the Libelula will be at least a tad cheaper than the Rocket Belt, which goes for $250,000--that's crazy money to pay for anything, let alone something that can fly for only 30 seconds at a time. Then again, the way prices at the pump are going, it might be worth another look.