Test flights approved for world's
first practical jetpack

| 17 comments

Test flights approved for world's first practical jetpack

News: New Zealand firm Martin Aircraft Company has been given permission by the country's Civil Aviation Authority to conduct manned test flights on what it claims is the world's first practical jetpack.

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Martin Aircraft Company has been developing the Martin Jetpack for several years and this ruling could help it meet its target of providing working 'first responder' jetpacks to the military and emergency services by mid-2014. Test flights will be restricted to a height of six metres and must be conducted above uninhabited ground.

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Speaking to international news agency AFP about the announcement, Martin Jetpack CEO Peter Coker said: "For us it's a very important step because it moves it out of what I call a dream into something which I believe we're now in a position to commercialise and take forward very quickly."

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Martin Jetpack P12 prototype

The company's latest jetpack design, named the P12, has a lightweight carbon fibre body and is propelled by a gasoline engine driving twin ducted fans, enabling vertical takeoff and landing as well as sustained flight.

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Martin Jetpack prototype

A remote-controlled prototype carrying a dummy pilot soared to a height of 1,500 metres in 2011, and the company say that "changing the position of the ducts has vastly improved the jetpack’s performance, especially its manoeuvrability."

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Martin Aircraft Company hopes to release a commercial jetpack in 2015, with an estimated price of US$150,000-250,000 (£96,000-160,000).

Earlier this week, Elon Musk revealed the designs for a supersonic transport system comprising capsules propelled along a magnetic track by built in rotors. A Canadian company recently won a 33-year-old prize by building a human-powered helicopter, while a Massachusetts-based firm is working on a flying car capable of vertical takeoff.

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  • Dan Leno

    How sad that our future is constructed based on tasteless ideas of the past.

    • Crack

      Yes, ’cause this concept has no benefit to society at all.

  • alex

    Are the first two images not test flights?

  • Lee

    This actually looks pretty dope.

  • Joao Castro

    For the jetpack I suggest a two seater version (jetting people out of tight spots) and wheels so you can land and drive to where you want to be and wherever flying is not allowed. How’s that?

    • Chris

      Shhh.

  • Gavin

    I do love this, but can’t help thinking how massive it will appear in a few years, when they’ve made one that fits in a backpack.

  • kalish

    @gavin No way, it’s not electronic here, the propeller needs to be big because the bigger it is, the less it uses energy, or the more efficient it is. The tank needs to be big, there are very few improvements possible, classical jetpacks usually end in few seconds, if you want a longer you need it to be big.

    • Gavin

      I see your point but this seems as like a jet pack as a microlight is. It’s smaller than a plane, but not jet pack small. It doesn’t stop me wanting one though.

      There have been people telling you a computer could never fit in a phone once upon a time. I hold hope.

    • iag

      Unless you create a new method of propulsion, and how that propulsion is fuelled, of course.

  • Allan

    I demand a jetpack in the size of an average backpack!

    • south

      Even in space, they’re still rather bulky.

  • Sean

    “Tasteless ideas from the past”? “This concept has no benefit for society”?

    You don’t even have to use your imagination to realise the benefit, as it’s intended use was posted at the top of the page. Imagine in a crowded city how long an ambulance would take. Wouldn’t it be great if a couple of these, flown by medics, arrived in a far shorter period doing what they do before transport got there?

  • Matt2013

    “Practical jet-pack” – another one for my collection of oxymorons.

  • vince

    Hasn’t anyone seen the movie Minority Report. Coming to reality near you.

  • http://gorangrooves.com Goran

    I would LOVE to have me one of these :)

  • Adrian von Gegerfelt

    I’m guessing that by ‘practical’ they mean “quite easy to get in and out” rather than ‘portable’ :)