If you have ever dreamed of flying – literally, Ryan Fleming of DigitalTrends.com has recently written about the Martin jetpack which may be heading to a garage near you. And while jetpacks already exist for the likes of Evil Knievel, the Martin Aircraft Company in New Zealand is developing a commercially viable jetpack for mass production and eventual release to the public (Coincidentally, the Martin Aircraft Company was founded by Glenn Neal Martin while the “Glenn L. Martin Company” which became the “Martin” in “Lockheed Martin,” was founded by Glenn Luther Martin).
The company has an order for 500 jetpacks that are intended to be used by emergency services and by four unnamed defense companies. And although the company is now focused on selling jetpacks for government purchase, they are also seeking funding to build a factory to produce jetpacks for ordinary (that is, extremely rich) consumers.
The Martin jetpack will also come in two models with the first model being a device that can carry someone up to 8,000 feet or 31.5 miles at 63 mph with a full tank of gas (However, they expect this to improve once their manufacturing processes become more efficient). The second model is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which will be released before its human counterpart.
Field trials for the UAV will begin in 2011 and depending upon the results of these trials, manned flight trials would begin the following year. However and if you must own your own jetpack, be prepared to spend at least US$100,000 – enough to buy a luxury car or your own airplane for that matter.
No word on whether a pilot’s license will be needed or just what EASA or the FAA will think about such a device.