Remember how we all thrilled to see this test flight of the Martin jetpack a few years ago? It remained aloft, with a dummy in the driver's seat, for over 7 minutes. Now humans are going to start testing this jetpack, which the manufacturer says could be on the market as early as 2015.
According to Leslie Katz on C|Net:
If the human-flight tests go as hoped, Martin says a jetpack for the general public could hit the market in 2015 (and by general public, we mean people with at least $100,000 to spare). A version designed for the military and first-responder emergency crews could be ready for delivery a year before that.
The jetpack, which Martin Aircraft calls a "motorbike in the sky," is made of a carbon fiber composite with a bit of Kevlar for the rotor. A gasoline engine drives ducted fans that produce enough thrust to lift the one-person aircraft into a vertical takeoff and enable sustained flight before a vertical landing (in a 2011 test, the jetpack stayed aloft, with a dummy on-board, for more than seven minutes — a record). Fortunately for those of us accustomed to getting from home to work and back with our feet on the ground, it comes equipped with a ballistic parachute system.
Tests will begin this year in New Zealand, where the jetpack has the honor of being the first technology of its kind to be given license for human flight tests. If all goes well, our rich friends could be letting us borrow their jetpacks to fly to the latest installments in the Star Wars series, which Disney has promised will be coming out on a yearly basis starting in 2014. It should be a pretty awesome (though cold) way to travel, too — the Martin jetpacks can go up to half a mile into the air, and zoom along at about 43 miles per hour.
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