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Where’s My Jetpack? Right Here

The Martin Jetpack in flight. Image courtesy Martin Jetpack

Step right up — you can now get your very own jetpack. That’s right, a real, not-science-fiction-honest-to-goodness jetpack. New Zealander Glenn Martin has been working on perfecting his jetpack for 30 years, and in 1998 created the Martin Aircraft Company to develop and market his idea. Now, the jetpack has become a reality. The 200-horsepower, dual-propeller is designed to fly average-sized person for 48 km (30 miles) in 30 minutes on 18 liters (5 gallons) of gas. The newest model can also reach heights of 2,400 meters (about 1.5 miles). Price? $100,000. “They are a helluva lot of fun to fly,” said Martin.

A drawing of the body of the Martin Jetpack. Courtesy Martin Aircraft Company.


Jetpacks have gone beyond being a science-fiction icon to become part of our cultural mind-set, and are such a powerful idea that several people have tried to develop them. The first serious attempts were instigated by the US military in the 1950s. The idea was to build an ultimate ‘all terrain vehicle’ to move military commanders around a battlefield. The Bell Rocket Belt was the most successful and first flew in 1961. But it only flew for 26 seconds.

Glenn Martin said he wanted to build a jetpack that could beat the 30 second mark, and beyond. He first developed his concept in 1981 based on a mathematical formula he came up with to determine what type of engine and thrust would be needed. In 2005, the 9th prototype achieved sustained flight times, laying the foundation for a viable and successful pre-production prototype to be developed.

Martin’s jetpack sounds like motorcycle or lawn mower. Since the jetpacks weigh less than 254 pounds, they don’t require a pilot’s license to fly. However, they must be flown under federal aviation regulations because it is powered by a piston driven engine. Martin says that buyers will be required to go through training before taking to the skies. The jetpack is also equipped with a low-altitude emergency parachute.

Those who have tested the jetpack say that with only the controls in front of you, flying a jetpack is a real free-flight experience.

The jetpacks should be ready for distribution later this year. Check out the Martin Jetpack website for more details.

Or check out the company’s You Tube site for videos of the jetpack.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • frankenstein March 10, 2010, 1:10 PM

    Re: “Crumb” Please don’t feed the Trolls

  • Aqua March 10, 2010, 2:26 PM

    So like has that thing been installed in my ejection seat yet, or what?

  • Aqua March 10, 2010, 2:31 PM

    Like to see it with an inflatable wing…(s?)

  • Lawrence B. Crowell March 10, 2010, 4:36 PM

    The jet pack is to the airplane what motorcycles are to cars. I suspect they are proportionately more dangerous as well. Not everybody is going to be flying around in these things, unless you want the urban airspace to become a dangerous swarm of these flying around. Jet packs are likely to be an impliment used by police departments.

    LC

  • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb March 10, 2010, 5:05 PM

    frankenstein Says:
    Re: “Crumb” Please don’t feed the Trolls

    I am far from being a troll. There are serious issues with these devices, because they could be used for purposes outside the realms they are designed.

    Also it IS a “ducted fan vehicle” and not really “a jetpack”. False advertising?

  • P. Edward Murray March 10, 2010, 7:50 PM

    Sounds pretty neat but how would you get around?

    And kudos to New Zealanders for finally doing this:)

    As to the use as a weapon well, I doubt it, having to spend $100,000.00 on it? Yeah that’s going to work real well…

    In the movies probably in real life nope…

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