World’s first practical jetpack

prototype P12 Martin jetpack CREDIT Lee Howell

(From Daily Mail) A TV science-fiction fan who built what is being described as the ‘world’s first practical jetpack’, has been given permission to carry out manned test-flights.

Glenn Martin began building jetpacks in his garage more than thirty years ago, inspired by programmes such as Thunderbirds and Lost in Space.

Over the years he has gone through a number of prototypes, founding the Martin Aircraft Company based in Christchurch, New Zealand along the way.

His latest design, the P12, has been described as a ‘major step forward’. Previous versions have flown to 5000ft but only with dummies on board.

The P12 has a range of 30km and a total flight time of 30 minutes. Although described as a jetpack it is technically a miniaturised helicopter as it uses small fans as opposed to jet engines for thrust.

Designer Mr Martin wanted to create a device that could be used on a daily basis by people with no pilot training.

It consists of two propulsion fans enclosed in cyclinders which are attached to a free-standing carbon-fibre frame on either side.

The pilot straps himself in and uses a pair of joysticks to steer. The device is also equipped with a rocket-propelled parachute in case something goes wrong.

Although originally designed for recreational use, as a plaything for multi-millionaires, the company says there has been strong interest from the commercial sector.

The device could also have military applications or be used to patrol borders or by emergency services for rapid response.

The New Zealand aviation authority has granted permission for manned test flights although they will be limited to no more than six metres and can only be carried out over uninhabited areas.

The company hopes to begin delivery next year with an estimated price of between £97,000 and £160,000, although they hope to bring the cost down over time.

(read the full story)



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