Company to sell 'world's first practical jetpack' for $75,000 (w/ Video)

March 9, 2010 by Lisa Zyga, weblog
The Martin jetpack can fly for 30 minutes on a five-gallon tank of gas, reaching a top speed of 60 mph. Credit: Martin Aircraft Company.

Taking a leap into the future, the New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft Company plans to start selling commercial jetpacks to anyone with an interest and $75,000.

As a recent article in The Telegraph has reported, Martin has partnered with an unnamed international aircraft company, resulting in enough capital to produce 500 jetpacks per year. The partnership has brought the jetpacks closer to reality compared with a year ago, when Martin’s goal was to produce 10 units at $100,000 each.

As Martin jetpack inventor Glenn Martin demonstrates in the video below, the 200-horsepower, dual-propeller jetpacks seem to offer all that one could hope for in a personal flying machine. The jetpack can travel for about 30 minutes on a five-gallon tank of premium gasoline (the same used by cars). Tests have shown that the jetpack can reach top speeds of 60 mph, giving it a range of 30 miles per tank. The newest model can also reach heights of 2,400 meters (about 1.5 miles).

Video demonstration of the Martin jetpack

Since the jetpacks weigh less than 254 pounds, they don’t require a pilot’s license to fly. However, 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.

The jetpack, which can lift up to 120 kilograms (265 pounds), has two propellers that generate lift. The air in the propellers moves at about 300 km per hour, creating an upward thrust. The pilot uses both hands to fly, one on the throttle and one for steering. A flight display in front reveals information such as what the engines are doing and where it’s going. If the pilot lets go of the controls, the jetpack hovers in one spot. This self-righting mechanism occurs since the center of mass is below the jetpack’s center of pressure, which is located at the bottom of the ducts (near the pilot’s shoulders).

Although the company is on the cusp of , the project itself has been almost 30 years in the making. Glenn Martin began working on a concept in 1981, which was later verified by the University of Canterbury’s Mechanical Engineering Department. In 2005, the ninth prototype achieved sustained flight times, laying the foundation for pre-production development.

Later this year, Martin plans to begin production of the jetpacks at an undisclosed location outside of New Zealand. The company plans to market the jetpacks to emergency services, the military, and private users. As volume increases, according to its website, the cost may decrease to that of a “mid-range motorcycle or car.”

Explore further: New type of aircraft is under development

More information:
via: The Telegraph

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4 / 5 (2) Mar 09, 2010
Yup, I want one.
5 / 5 (3) Mar 09, 2010
How about some mid-flight deployable swing wings to improve range... Less power needed to stay aloft. (not to mention making it a "transformer", further increasing the sweetness factor)

Looks well made!
4 / 5 (1) Mar 09, 2010
Would totally fly one to work!
4 / 5 (1) Mar 09, 2010
200HP ? that is OK to fly a single seater plane
or 6 ultra lights 100 miles ...

Evidently the power goes wasted in providing forced lift ..

They evidently havent read about "coanda" effect .

4 / 5 (2) Mar 09, 2010
Why are my feet dangling? How am I strapped into this thing? I can't feel my arms! Where's the gauge? I'm out of gas! I'll have to land in this river. Oh dammit! Is that a plane coming at me? Oh wait. It's a flying saucer. Thank God.
4 / 5 (1) Mar 09, 2010
If the video is a good representation, then make sure you have adequate hearing protection. Otherwise, a sweet ride.
4.7 / 5 (3) Mar 10, 2010
One word...
The reason its indoors is that a crosswind makes this thing into a death trap. What it needs is some fail safe stabilization that keeps it level. At the moment all the controls are 100% manual.
fly by wire
full autopilot,
sat nav,
Then it is a winner. Expensive at first but mass production would keep costs down.
I hope sooner than later. I could fly to work over the ocean - very cool.

4 / 5 (1) Mar 10, 2010
"The jetpack is also equipped with a low-altitude emergency parachute" but it would be nice to have a computer able to support a neural network that can take over when a poorly trained pilot is obviously out of control.
5 / 5 (2) Mar 10, 2010
30 minutes flight time at 60mph?
That would (barely) get me to work and back. But 5 gallons a day?

No thanks: I'll stick with my car which uses about 10% of that (and is faster to boot)

I can see it being a 'fun' vehicle - but not really as a 'mid-range motorcycle or car' replacement.
5 / 5 (3) Mar 10, 2010
you don't have to wait in traffic and you can fly in straight line unlike cars
all it needs is a light and powerful fuel cell + light engine
it will all come together eventually with all ongoing nanotech research
5 / 5 (1) Mar 10, 2010
Only two turbines. Sounds like a death trap. Minimum three with a center one having the same power as the two side ones for emergency descent. No way two turbines is safe. I agree with the fuel cell improvement idea.
5 / 5 (2) Mar 10, 2010
We'll need to redefine DUI.
4 / 5 (1) Mar 10, 2010
Great start. Throw in 15-20 years of technology like advanced fuel cells or batteries, quiet electric motor, and lighter airframe and we're off. There is something so strange about it flying in the video. You almost think it's being suspended by cables. It has a very smooth flight characteristic. Excellent work.
5 / 5 (3) Mar 10, 2010
We'll need to redefine DUI.

No, since no one will be charged with FUI (flying under the influence) - because there will not be enough of you left to sue.
1 / 5 (1) Mar 10, 2010
I''m not buying into it. They are too large and bulky. I would like a pair of Spock's flying boots, or nano-tech rockets strapped to my shins. And by the way, they are not a jet pack at all, since they fly by propellor. Still, kudo's to the guy for realizing his dream.
not rated yet Mar 11, 2010
nice, he used solid-works to build a conceptual model, i love that program
not rated yet Mar 12, 2010
Gonna go WAY out on a limb as say you're not commuting to NYC, LA, SF, Chicago.....

Fortunately my job applows me to pick the time at which I go there - so traffic jams are not my problem :P
5 / 5 (1) Mar 14, 2010
Let's see:
60mph, fuel for .5 hrs, =
30 miles.. with NO room for error!
BUT: 5 gal x $3/gal = $15 bucks .. I dare you to go to your local airport and charter a Cessna for that!
Of course, amortizing the $75 grand is another issue ...

but this is progress!
3 / 5 (2) Mar 15, 2010
Not to worry, once these hit the market, supply and demand will set in and you'll see competitors coming out with better units for about $12,000.00! When plasma TVs first came out, I saw one at BrandsMart for over $30,000; now you can get them for one tenth of that. Long live the free market!
not rated yet Mar 15, 2010
Way cool... but is it practical?

And if you live in area with above ground power lines this looks like an accident waiting to happen.

Also, I'm uncertain how this craft would handle shifting air currents and changes in atmospheric pressure.

Would it be safe to fly over fast moving traffic?

So let's assume it is relatively safe... why not a larger fuel tank? 30 minutes of flight / 30 miles of flight is not very far... even if it is as the 'crow flies'.
not rated yet Mar 15, 2010
So it can go 30 miles max in 30 minutes and consumes 5 gallons of gasoline in the process which means that it is making 6 miles per gallon. On top of that they want $75,000-100,000 for one. Why do I not think that it's going to become popular as anything more than a weekend toy for the very rich?
not rated yet Mar 15, 2010
I think it will take a long time for the average joe to be flying around in these.. but right away what they said about selling these to emergency services gives me hope for them to make some money to keep developing it. High rise fires.. search n rescue.. all sorts of things !
not rated yet Mar 30, 2010
Imagine Honda or Toyota building these. Costs would plumit. Remember Toyota were forced to raise their car sale price in the US because they were getting too cheap compared to US manufacturers. Even with those stacked odds US auto failed.
My point is that this concept needs major backing. Throw a billion dollars R&D and let the Japanese work all nighters on it. Have you seen asimo and the toyota robots recently. Honda/Toyota will dominate robotics this century. Then think about what happens when you have a robot that can make itself - asymptotic zero labor cost.
Remember we are seeing a prototype. Look at an early helicopter prototype and then compare with a modern one. Now think modern composites, fly by wire and avionics.

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