Is It Legal To Own and Operate a Jetpack?
Recorded on December 2, 2020.
Attorney Ben Barry is on the radio with Joe Vega of WIZN explaining whether or not it is legal to own and operate a jetpack.
Please give it a listen or read the transcript below.
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Joe: 106.7 WIZN. That’s Van Halen with “Dance the Night Away,” heard Pink Floyd “Run Like Hell,” before that. Joe Vega taking you through your Wednesday Rocking Ride Home. And I’m joined now by Ben Barry from Martin Harding & Mazzotti. Hello, Ben.
Ben: Hello, Joe. Thanks for having me on.
Joe: Yeah, no problem. I got a pretty serious question for you this time. So this weekend I was on YouTube. I was watching this video on YouTube where this guy had a jet pack. You know, so the jet packs are a thing now, you can fly around like Boba Fett or Rocket Man with a basically engine strapped to your back and they actually work. And I think it’s the coolest thing in the world and I want one really badly. I guess my question is, can I legally own one, can I fly around on a jet pack?
Ben: Well, listen, there’s nothing uncool about jet packs and if you find a supplier let me know, we’ll try to get a deal on two.
Ben: But I would say that there are obviously some very significant risks to your health and wellbeing if you have a jet pack strapped to your back. I don’t know a lot about them, to be honest with you.
Joe: I think it’s worth it’s though.
Ben: I think you can probably own one. I think that you would probably have to comply with FAA requirements depending on how and where you are utilizing this jet pack.
Joe: And that actually brings me to a point because one of the things I was reading about was that actually there’s been an incident or two with somebody flying their jet pack in an air traffic control area, which is obviously a big no-no. So there’s gotta be some sort of like federal regulation in regards to that.
Ben: I think the question would be how the jet pack is defined, is it an aircraft or is it something that’s more akin to like a drone, for example. It’s probably somewhere in between there. But I think that when the FAA gets involved, if they do catch people flying in what are otherwise restricted area zones or above 400 feet, or if the jet pack weighs a certain amount, there’s gonna be a lot of questions and a lot of I think emerging regulations with regards to jet packs if they actually are something that’s gonna be widely available to consumers or you’ve got garage scientists putting these things on and flying around where planes would be traveling or there’s an air control… traffic controller losing his mind because of somebody with a jetpack on flies past the tower, that’s really problematic.
And I think that the federal government is gonna find those people, they’re gonna levy some significant fines. Whether or not they’re lawful or not, I don’t know. That would have to play out in the court system, but it’s not gonna prevent the feds from finding these people. But the reality of it is, is that the legislature will develop a plan for this federally and probably there’s gonna be some state regs as well that will follow. But I want one.
Joe: Yeah, right. What you’re saying right now, there’s some gray area legally and now’s the time to get a jetpack?
Ben: What I would say is that there’s probably a little bit of confusion where drone regulation and aircraft regulation overlap. I don’t think there’s a gray area that is absent of some regulation that would be on point.
Joe: Well, looking it up as we were talking, I see they cost between $150,000 and $250,000, so I guess I’m gonna have to get a second job.
Ben: A second job and you’re gonna have to find some land to fly it on. You’ll need a helmet for sure.
Joe: Yeah, yeah, because a helmet is definitely gonna save you if you crash in one of those things. All right. Thank you very much. Ben Barry from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.
Ben: Thanks, Joe.
Joe: Remember you can call Ben at anytime at 1800LAW1010 or go online to 1800law1010.com. Mel Allen is taking over from here. He’s got The Rolling Stones and Styx coming up.