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Jetpack ready to carry pilot - developers

Monday 12 Aug 2013 10:12 p.m.

The New Zealand-made Martin jetpack has been cleared to carry a person (file)

The New Zealand-made Martin jetpack has been cleared to carry a person (file)

The New Zealand-made Martin jetpack has been cleared to carry a person as the development makes a "quantum leap in performance".

Christchurch-based Martin Aircraft Company on Tuesday revealed details of its latest jetpack prototype, developed by Christchurch inventor Glenn Martin.

The P12 prototype was a "huge step up", said Martin chief executive Peter Coker.

"Changing the position of the jetpack's ducts has resulted in a quantum leap in performance over the previous prototype, especially in terms of the aircraft's manoeuvrability."

Martin now had full certification from the Civil Aviation Authority for manned flight and have made great progress in increasing the flight time, he said.

Further performance improvements will be needed before it is ready for commercial sale.

"We are focusing initially on developing the jetpack for use as a first responder vehicle and heavy lift unmanned air vehicle".

In 2011, the jetpack carried a crash test dummy to a height of 5000 feet, or 1.5km, above sea level, before parachuting back to earth as planned.

Mr Martin has spent the past 32 years and at least $12 million in savings and venture capital on the project.

An earlier prototype of the 115kg jetpack relied on two powerful "superfans" which allowed it to fly for half an hour or more, climb more than 1000ft per minute and to cruise at 100km/h.

In 2010, it was named in Time magazine's 50 Best Inventions list.

However, when it was shown bouncing just off the ground at the Oshkosh Air Show three years ago it was ridiculed by industry professionals.

Mr Martin said that only left him more determined.

The company is also getting ready to list on the stock market.

A jetpack simulator will be available for sale in the next few months.


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