By Glenn Pew, Contributing Editor, Video Editor
A new turbine-powered personal flying wing jetpack may be coming from San Diego-based Troy Hartman, an X Games skysurfing gold medalist and aerial stuntman who is actively testing his developing design. Hartman has not yet flown the complete rig but is testing its key components (see video). The ultimate solid wing design may be similar to that created by current only living Jetman, Yves Rossy. Rossy has successfully flown several noteworthy flights strapped to his own turbine-powered wing, including aerobatics (video), and a run in the Grand Canyon (video). Hartman updated his YouTube page Aug. 26 with footage of some of his most recent flight tests that included using the future wing's two-UAV turbine engines, without the wing, to power him aloft under canopy.
As tested, Hartman must lean forward in his harness to create the forward thrust that he uses to fly the rig like a powered parachute. His rig so far differs from Rossy's by using two larger UAV turbines for power, mounted together on his back. Rossy has used four smaller turbines, two per wing, and has shown a habit of continuously modifying the details of his design. Hartman is still working toward his own optimal solid wing design, and is reportedly developing at least two options -- one with the engines together on his back, the other with them mounted, one under each wing. The flight tests shown in the video are part of what Hartman calls "Phase 2" of his testing schedule. Hartman's Phase 1 checks previously tested his turbine rig, mounted to his back, and accelerating him, sometimes uphill, as he stood on snow skis. In that configuration, Hartman says he's reached a top speed of 47 mph and demonstrated "fast uphill ascents." (Click for video.)