He will likely never forget to wear a helmet again. A Jet Pack International executive in Denver, Colorado crashed during a test flight of a unit he had just modified, according to a report from local television station KDVR. He suffered several significant but non-life threatening injuries, and was released from the hospital the following day.
VP and exhibition pilot Nick Macomber was hovering about 20 feet off the ground when the jet pack malfunctioned and he apparently landed on his knees, according to company CEO Troy Widgery. Macomber had a broken jaw, burns on his arms and legs, an ankle injury, and other injuries requiring 27 stitches. To be clear, he was not wearing any protective headgear.
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Jet packs can fly up to 80 miles per hour at a maximum altitude of 150 feet for a duration of about 30 seconds. Pilots in demonstration flights and at exhibitions wear helmets, flight suits, and other protective gear.
According to Widgery, the 27-year old Macomber is an experienced Jetpack pilot (who knew such a person existed), with more than 400 flights in exhibitions throughout the U.S., in Ireland and China. He also flew a jet pack off the roof of the Denver Four Seasons Hotel in June 2014. In this case, the crash was apparently a control issue, as the thrust was switched on when he hit the ground.
Jet Pack International is sponsored by Apollo Gum, and the Apollo Jet Pack Team has appearances at sporting events, air shows, music festivals, and even restaurant openings and birthday parties. Wherever they go, it’s a sure bet that from now on, whether in public exhibitions or during test flights, Jet pack pilots will wear full protective gear, or at least helmets.
Federal Aviation Administration investigators were on the scene Friday morning soon after the crash.