OWN THE SKY delves into the relentless obsession of the tantalizing potential of
jetpacks; it climaxes with the subject of the film, David Mayman, attempting the
world’s first jetpack flight around the Statue of Liberty. Shot over ten-years, the film
chronicles David’s quest to fulfil his childhood dream as it turns into an all-
consuming addiction that nearly costs him his life and his family.
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What begins as a life-long passion for jetpacks, turns to an obsession, then addiction and finally triumph. Shot over ten years, OWN THE SKY chronicles David Mayman’s seemingly impossible quest to build and fly the world’s first jetpack around the Statue of Liberty, and the impact his obsession has on his wife and children.
Growing up in middle class Sydney suburbia, David Mayman has the same dream that many young boys of his age have – to be able to take off and fly! His quest for speed however nearly takes his life and it’s during his recovery from a high-speed go-karting accident that he sees the opening of the 1984 LA Olympics and the famous flight of the rocket pack into the stadium. His life’s ambition is born… he is going to build and fly a jetpack.
He discovers the rocketpacks of his childhood were fakes. They could only fly for 25 seconds at most. What he needs is a fire breathing jetpack. Something that does not exist. Something he will have to build from scratch with 83 year old engineer Nelson Tyler and Bill Suitor, the pilot who flew in to the stadium.
Financial problems, a horrendous accident and near-drowning in Sydney Harbour soon brings his selfish journey to heel. Saschi and the kids find themselves increasingly isolated and are left wondering if it’s really worth it. Recovering from skin graft surgery and back with the family, David realises if the jetpack could be used as a rescue vehicle, it could save lives. The final stage of his quest has new life.
OWN THE SKY has been described as MAN ON WIRE with a jetpack. A very apt analogy, especially as David finally triumphs when he succeeds in building a ‘perfect’ jetpack and realizes his childhood dream of flying “like superman” around the Statue of Liberty in New York.