Commercial jetpacks are no longer the domain of science fiction-come fly the dream. Starting 2016, you can buy your own jetpacks, and fly anywhere you want anytime, for $150,000.
The Martin Jetpack was developed by New Zealander Glenn Martin with a late-night project in a garage in 1981. In 1988, Glenn founded the Martin Aircraft Company to kick start the development of a jetpack that based on current testing, will have over 30 minutes flight capability at a speed of up to 74 km/h and an altitude up to 1,000 m (3000ft).
Martin actually developed twelve prototypes of the jetpack before finally releasing a commercially-suitable model.
Indeed, the Time magazine named the Martin Jetpack as one of the Top 50 inventions for 2010, , the world's first practical jetpack, with potential usage spanning search and rescue, military, recreational and commercial applications, both manned and unmanned.
"The Martin Jetpack is a disruptive technology, much like the helicopter was when first developed, with substantial capabilities and is able to be flown by a pilot or via remote control," the company web site said. It added, "The Jetpack can take off and land vertically (VTOL) and because of its small dimensions, it can operate in confined spaces such as close to or between buildings, near trees or in confined areas that other VTOL aircraft such as helicopters cannot access."
The company said that safety and convenience were the primary concepts when the Martin Jetpack was designed. More importantly, Martin Jetpack also has to consider pilot qualifications when using the jetpack so they designed it so that a license to operate or fly the jetpack will be easy to obtain.
The Jetpack is "fly by wire" so unlike other aircraft including helicopters it is relatively easy to operate and with its ballistic parachute system that can safely recover the aircraft from a few meters above the ground it will be one of the most safe light aircraft on the market, Martin Jetpack added.
Martin Jetpack said their jetpack has several practical applications that gives it a competitive advantage in key areas, including: first responder, military, commercial and recreation. As a heavy lift Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) unmanned air vehicle (UAV), the Martin Jetpack has a significant operational advantage being able to carry commercial payloads of up to 120kgs unlike Quadcopters which are limited to only a few kilograms.
Here are other interesting facts about the Martin Jetpack, according to Philippine Star:
1. Private investors funded the research and development of the Martin Jetpack including a $50 million infusion from the Chinese aerospace group Kuang-Chi Science.
2. In 1997, Martin's wife Vanessa, became the first test-pilot of the Martin Jetpack. The first untethered flight of the Martin Jetpack was done in 2005.
3. The Martin Jetpack was first introduced during the Oshkosh air show in 2008. The public get to experience the jetpack during the recent Paris Air Show using the Martin Jetpack prototype 12 (P12).
4. The Martin Jetpack P12 can run on a V4 200 horsepower petrol engine that drives two ducted fans.
5. It can land almost anywhere, including rooftops covered with aerials and wires as well as tight spaces, giving it more advantage than a traditional helicopters.
Following the successful introduction of the Jetpack into the first responder community, the company said it would work on developing a jetpack for leisure and personal use. Here is a video of how the Martin Jetpack operates.