Is There a Jetpack in Your Future?


Gadget freaks and scifi nuts can now rejoice. A small New Zealand company has just gotten test flight clearance for their one-man personal jetpack and that means we’re a big step closer to being able to actually buy one. The Martin Aircraft company was recently issued a flight permit to begin manned test flights of their latest version of the device which George Martin first started developing in his garage some 30 years ago.

In simple terms, the new unit, which is labeled the P12, consists of two ducted fans, much like leaf blowers as well as flight control systems and fuel. The pilot controls the flight with two joysticks and just backs into the frame, straps in and fires things up. The pack was successfully tested in 2011 using remote control and a dummy pilot. The unit reached an altitude of 5,000 feet while Martin monitored the test from a  nearby helicopter.

A special version has been developed for military and first responder use and a more basic unit is being planned for civilan use. The current cost estimate would be $150,00 to $250,00 but the company thinks that with full production, those prices will likely drop. Still, it’s probably going to cost you signifcantly more than a used Toyota but the likelihood of being stuck in traffic would drop considerably.

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