We have mentioned the Martin Jetpack in the past (see The Martin jetpack is coming to a garage near you), but Yahoo! News recently ran an update and it sounds like the jetpack is coming closer to reality.
Apparently, the Martin Jetpack’s latest prototype, which can fly for 30 minutes, reach heights of 5,000 feet/1,500 meters and speeds of 60 mph/96.6 kph, has been cleared for manned testing by New Zealand’s aviation authority.
When asked how safe it was, inventor Glen Martin said:
“In comparison with a light helicopter or something like that we believe this is going to be significantly safer.”
Moreover, there are redundant operational systems, an impact-absorbing undercarriage and a ballistic parachute that opens in .2 seconds (if needed).
It also took twenty years of tinkering for Martin and his team to come up with an engine that is 90% efficient in converting horse power to thrust and uses a giant ducted fan fired by a piston internal combustion engine – similar to what a personal watercraft or snowmobile uses.
Once airborne, an onboard computer controls the Martin Jetpack while the “pilot” uses the computer’s two joysticks with the left one controlling height and the right one controlling direction. If the pilot removes his or her hands, the jetpack simply hovers in place.
According to Martin, various governments and military units are already interested in using the Martin Jetpack for border patrols and search and rescue missions. He is also planning to deliver a recreational model for approximately $150,000 and there are already more than 2,000 buyers on a waiting list.
A quick look on YouTube reveals a Martin Jetpack channel with the following video uploaded in early August showing the latest prototype (it already has over 100,000 views):