On Tuesday, media in Australia and New Zealand reported that the latter country has approved an experimental aircraft permit for Martin Aircraft Company, which may lead to commercial development of a working jetpack – sort of.
The vehicle being tested is called the Martin Jetpack, presumably after its inventor, Glenn Martin. While not technically a jetpack, since it uses wind turbines and not jets to achieve lift, it does go on your back, and it does allow you to fly.
CEO of the Martin Aircraft Company, Peter Coker, likes to use the term “motorbike in the sky” when describing his company’s product. And it does indeed resemble one from the sky, as evident in test videos that the company has posted on its YouTube channel.
The New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has given its permission to Coker’s company to conduct manned test flights with the vehicle. While the company has given their product trials before this time, and in one case achieved an altitude of 5,000 feet, these were unmanned test s conducted with test dummies.
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The original Martin Jetpack was created in 2008, and has been followed by eleven revisions. So the Martin aircraft company is quite serious about this project, which has so far achieved a number of successful, stable flights.
According to Coker, if all goes as planned, the first commercially available “Jetpack” will go on sale by July of next year. Of course, you’ll have to be fairly well off if you want to invest in the device, since it will be vending for no less than $150,000.
But despite its hefty price tag, Coker mentioned a number of interested prospects, especially government agencies in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Besides these, Coker says “We’ve had over 10, 000 people who have actually enquired as to where they might actually be able to purchase these in future so I think there’s going to be a great demand.”