Whilst platform is viable with gyro's or computer aided flying if you wish. How much kickback can it handle - could you actually fire a gun from this? But certainly does negate many of the aspect people have against armed drones as this is in effect a human drone.
But it is pretty neat, as many recall the facination with jetpacks and the dreams that we would all have them in the 60's/70's (along with flying cars), so this kinda ticks many box's of past dreams.
As for distance/flight time - kerosene is pretty dense energy wise, and I can't think of anything else that would be as flexible and offer greater energy density. But still, if you compare this to jetpacks - very impressive.
For me one use case for something like this may well be firefighting or certainly a way to escape a tall building that is on fire from your flat balcony.
Another place they could be used is to escape following a covert raid.. you would carry or stash the platforms someplace near the operation before hand then jump on them and all take off, you would only hear them escaping.
Yes, a single explosive projectile wouldn't be too effective, but consider an RPG round loaded with cluster bombs, shrapnel, or flechettes. Or the good ol' pray-n-spray with small-arms fire. You don't need much kinetic energy to kill a human on a hoverboard (or at least knock him off).
Helicopters put all of your eggs in one basket, but least it's a somewhat armored basket.
I don't think it's stable at all, and the only reason it stays vertical is because Zapata is unbelievably skilled at piloting it. That's why everything he does is above water. I was dreading the Bastille Day thing because I figured there was about a 25% that it would turn out poetically badly.
Not as quick or admirable than the planes fighting for centiseconds, but still a pretty impressive live feat, making you think you’re seeing the future!
If you like amazing things that fly (and a couple that don't) the Hiller Aviation Museum is a must-see. I've never seen anything like it.
That's a problem that could be solved by firing a blank round (of similar momentum to the live round) in the opposite direction.
If anyone wanted to defend against this type of aerial soldier other than them sticking out like a sore thumb to shoot people would could put up some thin cabling between tall building.
Though it does as you say, offer some form of assisted powered control decent option. Not sure on the altitude and I know that becomes a factor for jets. Big difference operating around sea level and a few thousand feet up.
For me, something like this that would give firefighters the ability to reach and rescue people trapped up high in a building, even if one at a time. That truely opens up progress.
Alas the fire services have never ever had the same RnD budgets of military services, which is a thought that opens up a whole raft of debate as an indictment upon how we view protecting lives and assets - given fire in the modern world kills more people. For example in the UK in you get around 300 deaths a year due to fire. Compared with an average of 50 lives a year military wise. Though it is a bit like comparing apples with pears, it does make you think how some priorities are more grounded in history than others.
Now what this might open up as a viable alternative to parachute would be helicopters that tend to operate at altitudes that preclude any parachute. Sure you would need to eject the rotor and seen that upon military helicopters, that eject the cockpit. But this might open up safety upon more commercial offering.