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Bond gadgets: Jet pack

Bond gadgets: Jet packFind out why the US Army rejected Bond's most unusual mode of transport, and tell us what Bond gadget you'd engineer.

What was it for?

Bond used a jet pack to escape a chateau in the film Thunderball, after killing Colonel Jacques Bouvar - a villain cunningly disguised as a mourning widow. He is chased onto the roof of the building, where he manages to don the Rocket Belt and zip off over the horizon.

Here's the science part

We're used to movie stunts being done with CGI, but this one happened for real. The flight required two different stuntmen using a real jet pack.

The pack, known as the Bell Rocket Belt, was developed in the 1960s and had a flying time of just 20 seconds - it would have been no use to a secret agent in a real life escape! It was initially developed for the US military, but when they discovered that it had a maximum flight distance of 120m, they gave up on the idea.

Luckily, though, it was still considered worthwhile as a fun toy, and a film prop. Unfortunately for the Bond director, real jet packs make a loud, shrill noise which would have ruined the filming. To save the audience's eardrums, the sound was dubbed on later using the noise of fire extinguishers to make things more realistic.

Can I have one?

Sadly not, unless you want to shell out at least $200,000. They are still in use, though, so if you're really lucky you might be able to have a go. Some companies, such as The Rocketman in the US, hire Rocket Belts out as entertainment for events. They are all flown by fully-qualified people, so if it's a thrill ride you're after you'd have to apply.

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