Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Transportation Technology

Dubai Buys Commercial Jetpacks For Firefighters ( 91

_Sharp'r_ writes: Want to fly a jetpack? Join the fire department in Dubai. In a skyscraper filled city where cops drive Ferraris and Lamborghinis, it was actually cheaper to buy twenty $150K jetpacks (plus two simulators) for fire rescue rather than find 2700 ft ladders. Slashdot has had stories about these coming for five years. A VR-headset based jetpack flight-simulator for the masses would be fun, too, even better if the object were to put out fires in skyscrapers..
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Dubai Buys Commercial Jetpacks For Firefighters

Comments Filter:
  • by zuckie13 ( 1334005 ) on Saturday November 14, 2015 @02:08PM (#50930767)
    How much water or other suppressant can it carry? Doesn't help if you can get to a fire, and not have anything to put it out.....
    • by pjt33 ( 739471 )

      You've got some flaming fuel on your back, so you can always make it worse...

    • How much water or other suppressant can it carry?

      Doesn't help if you can get to a fire, and not have anything to put it out.....

      Indeed, and the only "practical" delivery method would be to fly over and basically and drop it on the fire.

      Can't you just imagine the hilarity if someone were to try to use any sort of propellant while operating one of these? What are you supposed to do, lean into it? "Whoops...just launched another one into the burning building with a backpack of fuel, guess these fire extinguishers aren't as fully charged as we!"

    • How much water or other suppressant can it carry?

      Doesn't help if you can get to a fire, and not have anything to put it out.....

      Don't be silly, they will have cold grenades!

    • Doesn't help if you can get to a fire, and not have anything to put it out...

      Nor can you carry anyone... perhaps these aren't actually for firefighters?

    • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Saturday November 14, 2015 @08:01PM (#50932447)

      Doesn't help if you can get to a fire, and not have anything to put it out.....

      A person trapped in a burning building might disagree. Firefighters do other things besides put out fires, you know.

      These are obviously to be used for observation or search and rescue ops, not for fighting fires directly. Since these can be remotely piloted, you could theoretically fly them up, have people strap in, and fly them back down. Unlike a helicopter, you can land these things just about anywhere, even without a dedicated helipad. You might even have a chance at rescuing someone though a window or from a balcony, though that might be pretty dicey.

      Let Dubai pay for the expensive first-gen models and try them out. If they're actually useful, maybe they'll get adopted elsewhere. While it's more akin to a tiny aircraft than a jetpack, this is still pretty cool tech.

    • Buildings already have water in them. What the building needs is people to direct said water, people to know where you should cut holes and where you need to keep areas sealed off and people trained in respirators, first aid and rescue.

      Look at what happened the last time we had a massive fire in a sky scraper: NYC september 11. The elevators went out and fire fighters had to haul ass up hundreds of flights of stairs. Now, the blaze in the WTC almost certainly couldn't have been fought but when you're t

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 14, 2015 @02:16PM (#50930811)

    They are commercially available Jetpacks dammit! They are incredibly fucking cool! What is wrong with you all?

    Why does nobody have anything positive to say about personal fucking flying machines? What would it take to get you jaded miserable sods excited?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      One with a failure mode that doesn't immediately plunge you to your death, for one.

    • I take the word "jetpack" to be derived from "backpack", implying something that you wear, not something that you walk up to and strap yourself to.

      (Anyway, slashdot is all about being negative, unless the story relates to Elon Musk.)
    • What would it take to get you jaded miserable sods excited?

      Midget shemale scat porn?

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )


        No, not really. Rest assured that any response containing a link will not be clicked on - no matter how tempting you make it sound. I am not new to Slashdot. I don't even usually click the links in the summaries!

        • Link?

          No, not really. Rest assured that any response containing a link will not be clicked on - no matter how tempting you make it sound. I am not new to Slashdot. I don't even usually click the links in the summaries!

          Rest assured, I do think more highly of you for that!!! You know, two consenting adults and all, but some things just can't be made not weird.

    • I was a tiny bit disappointed that they were ducted fans and not jets.

    • by Compuser ( 14899 ) on Saturday November 14, 2015 @08:11PM (#50932495)

      These are no jetpacks, no matter what the media labels them as.
      First, they are turboprops. There are no jets. In other words, it is a slightly shrunk down versions of a personal helicopter with all that implies for maneuverability and speed.
      Second, they are not "...packs". These devices are huge. The cool thing about jetpacks is that they would be devices you could carry with you and they would be the size and weight of a normal bag but then you strap it to your back and you can fly. And when you fly, these devices would not stick out much from your back, thus allowing you to clear very narrow gaps between buildings and so on.
      There is a reason why bicycles are not generally considered cool but skateboards are. You need to park one but not the other.
      Finally, these devices are totally useless for their intended purpose. If the building is in trouble (e.g. on fire) then these will not help you put the fire out. To search, survey, or monitoring you are better off with much small drones. They can hang in the air much longer, they provide clear picture and they can navigate much tighter spaces than this monster, plus they have no operator to endanger. If the building is not in trouble but you have e,g, a medical emergency on the top floor then you are better off with an elevator. Part of the reason people are smirking is because this is clearly someone in Dubai buying himself a bunch of toys with public money. Corruption is not sexy.

      • These are no jetpacks, no matter what the media labels them as.

        Actually that makes it a lot better. Jetpacks are dangerious, unreliable and tend to explode. A not-jetpack sounds much better for firefighting.

      • Many NYFD fire fighters died on 9/11 running up stairs to fight a fire. If the elevators are out on a 2,000 foot tall building, a jet pack could get a fire fighter to the roof or even theoretically in through a port installed mid-way up. Put 20 firefighters on the roof and work their way down by stairs a few stories. They can then use the tools which are already stashed in lockers. Having expert eyes on-location is what matters, they can direct non-professionals in attacking the blaze. And I imagine

      • These are no jetpacks, no matter what the media labels them as.
        First, they are turboprops.

        No, they are not turboprops. A turboprop is a propeller drive system in which the propeller is driven by a turbine engine.

        This is a ducted fan, powered by a piston engine.

        There are no jets.

        Yes, there are - the ducted fans create a jet of air on which the vehicle rides. 'Jet' refers to the result of the power, not to how the power is created.

        [Of course, by this logic you might classify rockets as 'jets' - and I'm pretty sure that the good folks down at JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratories - the guys that work with rockets) woul

      • by SJ2000 ( 1128057 )
        Actual jetpack tested [] from JetPack Aviation []. Endurance of currently 10 minutes.
    • by k6mfw ( 1182893 )

      They are commercially available Jetpacks dammit! What is wrong with you all?

      Excellent comment. We all bitch about not getting flying cars but now there are jetpacks though I'm too poor to buy one. Excellent commuter vehicle, perfect for those living in constrained area like a condo. My pool area and my work site have enough clear area for takeoff/landing. Would a helicopter endorsement be required for a pilot's license? Would I need a transponder for congested airways in SF bay area? How noisy are these jetpacks? I don't have a budget like Larry Ellison to pay off noise abatement f

    • Maybe because it seems that this personal helicopter performs most of the functions of a drone, except poorly and at great cost. How exactly do they plan to use this for firefighting?

      Real jetpack wearing firefighters would use a modified firehose-propelled backpack to lift themselves into the air. :-p

    • A lot of people think it makes them look smarter and cooler to just piss on something rather than get happily enthusiastic.

      I, for one welcome our jetpack powered firefighting overlords.

      These things are seriously cool regardless of people not realising that firefighting is not all about carrying hoses and regardless of pedantry over whether it's technically a jetpack.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Saturday November 14, 2015 @02:22PM (#50930851) Homepage
    One man holding a fire house on full power = a house splaying around randomly. That's a man using his full weight to hold it down.

    Also, these things tend to have heavy weight restrictions. No way it can carry a firefighter, in full gear, holding a full grown Adult - not even a thin one.

    About the only use for this might be to save a kitten or a child. Maybe a very thin women.

    • I know as the submitter I'm the only one who read TFA, but it carries 265 lbs and can be either piloted (for surveillance) or else remotely controlled.

      So the idea is to go look at the fires spread, look for people trapped, etc... and as a last resort send it up under remote control to pick-up a person or two.

      • It's more like a manned/unmanned drone. After watching their first responder sales video I might actually be more confused about what it's first responder role might be. Who knows. Maybe Dubia will do something amazing with it.
      • So people are so absolutely shit-scared of drones that they'd rather throw some gimp into one of these "jetpacks" and place him in danger of his life (at a huge cost) rather than just fly a low-cost drone and perform the same surveillance role?

        And when the MJP fails and falls from the sky, it's not just the pilot who gets to see Allah but also anyone who is unfortunate enough to be standing beneath when it hits.

        At least it has a lovely ballistic parachute which (in a firefighting roll) will open just in tim

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Back when I was in the fire academy, we learned how to control a house so that the house wasn't randomly splaying around.

      No, scratch that. Gravity usually takes care of that for us. Most houses I've ever seen are actually rather stationary.

    • by swell ( 195815 )

      Not only that, but 2700 feet of pressurized fire hose probably has a significant weight even before you open the valve. If 4 feet of hose hold one gallon, that would be roughly 5,000 pounds of water (not counting the weight of the hose itself or the butterfly resting on the handle). 200 horsepower is not enough. Furthermore that bulky contraption is not nearly as sexy as the ancient jetpack that James Bond used.

    • How about make the jetpack the firehose like those water jetpack things. I don't suppose it would be very effective, but that isn't really the point.

    • by k6mfw ( 1182893 )
      you mean one firefighter cannot put down an entire industrial fire with just a 1.5 inch hose like in Backdraft?
  • Ridiculous... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by burtosis ( 1124179 ) on Saturday November 14, 2015 @02:39PM (#50930927)
    While pressurized water jet packs, commonly used over water, might be interesting - they cannot climb to high heights as the weight and forces from the supply hose limits you to something like 30-60 feet. Nowhere near thousands. Secondly the peroxide jet packs have very low weight capacity and run for only 1-2 minutes, probably no more than four tops before needing extensive refueling and servicing. You couldn't even fly to 2800 feet and back down again, much less try to save someone.

    it would be more practical, but less fun, to try just about any alternative.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The you haven't seen jetpacks flying in formation with an Emirates A380. They put the video out just couple of weeks ago.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        same AC. they have enough money for this:

      • by markus ( 2264 )

        JetMan's flying wing is not going to be of any use to fire fighters. It gets about 10min of flight time. The entire body of the pilot is the control surface; so, don't even think of handling any fire-fighting tools while flying. It's not even possible to turn your head in arbitrary directions or the whole things becomes unstable. There is pretty much zero extra payload. And unless there is significant forward movement, the wing is not going to provide any lift and stay airborne. This is utterly and complete

    • So, something like that in TFA, being made commercially and sold, carrying 265 lbs up to 3000 feet and either piloted or else remotely controlled?

      It's for surveillance/intelligence or single person rescue, not trying to run a hose 3k ft. in the air.

      • Correct. More over its being called a "jet pack" but it's more like a small airplane on your back. I see no videos of these hovering, you could not possibly hold a hose or even rescue anything traveling at speeds over 120 miles an hour. While cool, they are useless for firefighting and certainly are not a replacement for ladders.
    • These are neither water pressure jet packs, nor peroxide jet packs. They look like turbojet jet packs []. They claim to have a running time of 30 minutes, and can lift 250 pounds. So you could use them to rescue lighter people, and.......maybe give parachutes to heavier people?
  • Oh, tell me they're going to send a guy up on one of these with a high pressure hose! I'd pay good money to see that!
  • I think we all agree that people wearing jetpacks are not going to do much to put out a fire, but how about heavy-lift quadcopters that can haul up pressurized tanks of flame retardant foam? They could make periodic landings to swap out empty tanks and batteries for full ones, and they could actually pump meaningful volumes of foam or gel into the upper floors.

    Also, how cool would it be if they would swing a harness attached to a bungee cord to people in windows waiting to be rescued, and have the people

  • Oh, Dubai (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by AndyKron ( 937105 )
    Oh, Dubai. Is that the place where you can beat your wife unconsciousness in public, and nobody cares?
  • by ModernGeek ( 601932 ) on Saturday November 14, 2015 @04:16PM (#50931373)

    I've heard that in a lot of oil rich countries that the stairways of their skyscrapers are used just to store things. Their mentality is that a concrete building would never burn. It's all about the fire load inside of the building, and if your paths of emergency egress is blocked, then your fatality rate is going to be much higher. A regularly inspected fire pump/sprinkler system, automatic magnetic doors closers, and training coupled with a safety plan isn't that expensive or difficult in the context of running a high rise. Followed properly, it will be the safest place you can be in.

    • Their mentality is that a concrete building would never burn.

      And they'd be right, if there were nothing inside those buildings except concrete, structural steel and other non-flammable materials. As it happens, there's also lots of fabric, carpeting, padding (in chairs and under carpets) as well as paper-goods and many other things that burn very nicely, TYVM.
  • For the month after delivery, when we get the first jet pack assisted terrorist attacks.

  • They are not jetpacks since they do not use jet propulsion.

  • To buy base rigs for every resident/worker in the Burn.

  • I guess these could get up to the 150th floor to offer some assistance. If the building is on fire, there will be all kinds of up and down drafts happening, the turbulence will be a huge challenge. There will be soot and ash to plug up air filters.

    Imagine being up 1500ft, when the engine suddenly is at 30% power. The air filter sucked in a pound of ash, and now you are heading down. The vehicle will be dropping maybe as slow as 40mph, but that is still gonna hurt when you hit the ground. They have ballistic

  • OK, am I the only one who watched this?

    JetPack Aviation JB-9 JETPACK - YouTube []

    World's only JetPack flies in New York - YouTube []

    If it's CGI it's pretty good...

The solution of this problem is trivial and is left as an exercise for the reader.