jet pack n.

a device, worn over the shoulders like a backpack, that enables the wearer to travel through the air or in space by means of jet propulsion

Now often regarded as something whose development has always been promised, but has never materialized.


  • 1952 Los Angeles Times 6 July (Home Mag. section) 47 (advt.)

    [The space helmet] comes to you complete with flexible outer tubes attached to large double astral jet pack tanks with official space patrol commander insignia.

  • 1957 Oakland (Calif.) Tribune 11 Aug. (2nd Comic section) (caption)

    His jet pack was used up, and he was almost out of oxygen…but he’s alive!

  • 1962 ‘J. Rackham’ Rainmakers in Science Fiction Adventures (vol. 5, no. 30) 19 page image John T. Phillifent bibliography

    ‘With luck, we can get out—as far as the outside of the berg. But then…?’ ‘Then, we take a jet-pack each and head for Rainbow.’

  • 1969 H. Ellison Santa Claus vs. S.P.I.D.E.R. in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Jan. 100/1 page image Harlan Ellison bibliography

    Kris hit the jet-pack and went straight up.

  • 1973 J. Jardine Skylab in Vertex June 83/2 page image Jack Owen Jardine

    One of the most science-fictiony problems to be investigated is that of personal jet-packs for EVA maneuvering. Almost 40 years ago Buck Rogers…wore miniature rockets on his back.

  • 1984 M. Swanwick Ice Age in Amazing Stories Jan. 138 page image Michael Swanwick bibliography

    Flickermotes appeared in the air between the towers. Were they flying cars, Rob wondered, or possibly personal jetpacks?

  • 1992 J. A. Gardner Young Person's Guide to the Organism in Amazing Stories Apr. 84/1 page image James Alan Gardner bibliography

    I…searched the sky, hoping to see one of the supply ships docked close enough that a jet pack could bridge the gap.

  • 2002 B. Cooper & L. Niven Free Floaters in Asimov’s Science Fiction Aug. 68 page image bibliography

    He left the dinghy floating near Deuces, crossed into the cargo bay using a jet pack, and entered through the bay airlock.

Research requirements

antedating 1952

Earliest cite

Los Angeles Times

Research History
We would like more examples from genuine SF sources.

Last modified 2022-12-06 16:20:26
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.