Avid Autopia readers are by now undoubtedly familiar with the antics of Bob Maddox, the mild-mannered jet-powered daredevil from Medford, Oregon. The 800,000 or so of you who watched grainy YouTube videos of his jet-powered bike will no doubt be glad to learn that you soon may be able to see Bob jump from a plane in HD. With a jet strapped to his chest, he’ll appear in a reality TV project he’s dubbed The Rocketman Show.
For the four of five readers who don’t know him, Maddox’s hobbies include skydiving and strapping pulse jet engines to whatever he can find — bikes, boats, his body, whatever. If the Rocketman had organized the Olympics, jet-powered figure skaters would perform 300 mph double axels and Shaun White would still be tomahawking five miles above Vancouver. And it would be awesome.
Now, Maddox tells us he’s been approached by folks at Magical Elves, the production company responsible for Top Chef, Project Runway and Treasure Hunters. Seems they’re toying with the idea of making ol’ Bob a TV star.
“We e-mailed back and forth and I did a bunch of videos, and they seemed very positive about it,” Maddox said.
If the show makes it to the air, Maddox hopes to build jet-powered dragsters, Star Wars-style Podracers, go karts with 200 pounds of thrust, drone aircraft that double as skydiving platforms, and twin jet-engine mahogany speedboats.
“It’s kind of like MythBusters and Monster Garage,” Maddox said of the premise for the show. “We’re designing everything and taking them out and driving them.”
Best of all, the show will provide him with the funds to build more jet-powered creations without relying on the occasional sale of his jet bikes on eBay. “I’m in woodworking and construction, which is totally in the toilet right now, so I haven’t been making too many things recently,” Maddox said.
That means Bob could finally experience his lifelong dream of strapping on four jet engines, shooting 25,000 feet into the sky and skydiving back to earth. We want to see that on live TV, hopefully as a season finale and not a series finale.
Joining Maddox would be his nephew, also a skydiver, and Bob’s best friend, who plays in a local rock band. The vehicles would be both high-speed and high-design, with Bob using his artist’s eye and cabinetmaking skills to design and build their exteriors. Unlike the wrench-throwing antics of Orange County Choppers, most of the drama would come from the the very premise of the show: Maddox jumping out of planes and building, testing and piloting homebrew jet-powered vehicles capable of 300 mph.
“A lot of excitement would come from when we take out an engine that’s making 1,000 or 1,500 pounds of thrust that nearly makes you pass out just standing next to it,” Maddox said. “Even a mild-mannered guy like me gets excited.”
We’re still awaiting word from the Magical Elves about all of this. Stay tuned.
Photos: Bob Maddox
Here’s Bob with one of the four 14-foot pulse-jet rockets he wants to ride to 25,000 feet before parachuting back:
And here he is with one of the pulse-jet bikes he’s built:
Here is a collage of Bob’s creations. (Yes, those shots toward the bottom show him jumping out of a plane with a pulse-jet engine strapped to him in order to get more airtime.)
Originally posted 2010-03-04 12:07:33.