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A New Jetpack Record Falls, as Pilot Does Not

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Okay: wow! Eric Scott, a former Air Force pilot and stuntman, and lead jetpack commander for the Go Fast! company in Denver, did something absolutely amazing and gutsy as hell today. Scott broke a jetpacking distance record by zooming over the Royal Gorge in Canon City, Colo., traveling some 1, 500 feet at about 80 mph, and 1, 200 feet above the Arkansas River. And he did it with no parachutes, safety wires or other life-saving mechanisms. Scott, who has about 800 exhibition flights under his rocket belt, (which what purists call the device he flies), is like an airborne Evil Knievel, minus the surfeit of broken limbs. The requisite and nearly immediate YouTube video is 33 seconds of hand-held thrills. It may have been a publicity stunt, but no one will ever say it was just a publicity stunt. Congrats, Eric, on achieving something we are far too wussy to even consider doing.

Mac Montandon is the author of Jetpack Dreams: One Man's Up and Down (But Mostly Down) Search for the Greatest Invention That Never Was (Da Capo Press, 2008). Visit his website at www.jetpackdreamsthebook.com.