Rocket man

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James Bond fans will fondly remember the opening scene in Thunderball where Sean Connery makes his escape by strapping on a jetpack and flying into the sky. Now a company from Shenzhen is offering consumers a chance to buy a similar device.

China Daily reports that KuangChi Science is selling the “world’s first practical and commercial jetpack” for Rmb2 million ($307,430). Powered by a gasoline engine, the device can carry loads of up to 120kg, fly for 45 minutes and reach speeds of up to 80km per hour.

The start-up firm of Chinese engineers were lured to Shenzhen by the local government’s ‘peacock campaign’ to attract talent back after studying overseas.

CEO Zhang Yangyang told the newspaper that “in the beginning, almost everyone was very sceptical of the concept of the personal jetpack. It was Shenzhen’s recognition that makes our technological development and research possible.”

KuangChi Science has had 200 orders for the firm’s innovative jetpack with Zhang commenting: “Our buyers are from all over the world.” He gives one example of a buyer: a rescue team in Dubai “ordered about 30 units because the jetpack is easier to operate than helicopters in a city full of skyscrapers”.

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