It’s not as sleek as Double Oh Seven’s in Thunderball, or the one from the 1991 movie Rocketeer, but New Zeland’s Martin Jetpack can nonetheless get you off the ground. The company has successfully tries and tested the first commercially available jetpack to be made available and aims to keep doing better with each upgrade of their ‘flying machine’. The latest iteration showcased is said to be more powerful but still not something that looks like it can be carried in the trunk of your car, unless you drive a pick-up truck.
With the ability to soar over 1000 meters high at speeds of up to 75 mph powered by a V12 gasoline engine, the latest version of the Martin Jetpack can also accommodate a payload of 120kgs during flight. While it may seem like a fun little rich-kids toy, the potential for this device to be used for more practical purposes, like on rescue missions etc. is quite high. It’s not something you’d use to rescue a cat from a tree limb (although I’m sure that’s possible) but it could come in handy for the Coast Guards, Lifeguards and other such entities. It may have a lightweight design but it’s still sturdy enough to protect the rider to a large extent and even comes with a low altitude, ballistic parachute in case of emergency landings. The new model has also been tested to fly for up to thirty minutes at a time, which may not seem like much, but could be matter of life or death in the right circumstances.
With a price tag of a little less than $150,000, it’s not really something one would use on a daily basis to commute to the office, unless you work really close to home or on your own estate, but it could be fun to play with on the weekends. Martin demoed the jetpack at the 51st Paris Airshow held recently and offered a virtual reality “test-drive” using Oculus for a 4D simulation; this way potential consumers or those just looking to have an interesting experience could test it out without having to get their feet of the ground.
It’s going to be interesting to see just how much further the technology will go before the final launch. Could we finally see a personal jetpack that’s closer to the Rocketeer’s in the next edition? Or will they manage to shave off just a couple more inches only? We’ll have to wait and watch, however for this model, you’ll have to wait till 2016 if you’re interested in buying one, although it was supposed to be launched in 2014.
[Via – Slash Gear]