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April 11, 2018

A VR experience lets you ride a jetpack over the world’s most romantic city

by John_A

Nothing says 21st-century romance quite like taking your other half on a jetpack flyover of Paris, one of the world’s capital cities for all things love-related. Unfortunately, as of this writing, jetpacks are not widely available, so unless you happen to be a real-life Iron Man like SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, you are probably going to be out of luck. Fortunately, a Parisian attraction called FlyView is here to help.

Using virtual reality and specially engineered ground-mounted jetpack units, FlyView promises interested parties an aerial tour of the French capital, complete with 360-degree views and a realistic haptics-aided flying sensation — but without the eye-watering bill that such a real life jetpack experience would undoubtedly come with.

In all, you will cover around 20 major Parisian landmarks, flying close by and at a low altitude. As you fly, the jetpack unit will lift, lower and swerve from side to side to offer the most realistic possible experience. The “ride” lasts a total of 13 minutes.

“Arnaud Houette, a professional engineer, is the inventor of the FlyView concept,” Sophie Lemonde, communications director for FlyView, told Digital Trends. “Inspired by his dream of flying and passion for historic sites, he [decided to use] virtual reality to make his dream come true.”

The project officially kicked off in 2014. Since then, a team of more than 100 people have worked on the project, which had a total budget of around 7 million euros ($8.6 million). After all of its hard work, the FlyView Paris project finally opened its doors on March 31 with a grand unveiling ceremony. It is now open to the public seven days a week, with tickets available to book online for 15 euros ($18.50) per person. The venue has 50 jetpacks and HTC Vive headsets, making it one of the world’s largest virtual reality installations.

Lemonde notes that the views over Paris are real, not 3D reproductions, meaning that this is as close to the real thing as possible. The 360-degree footage was achieved using drone photography. “The jetpack was designed by our engineering team, based on real flying machine designs,” Lemonde continued.

Well, that has our summer vacation destination sorted then!

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