Leadership

Jet-powered human flight is on the horizon

Martin Jetpack's latest prototype flies at approximately 30 mph and has been flown by humans. The company hopes to bring the manned jetpacks to market within a couple of years.

After last year's successful 5,000 ft. elevation flight, Martin Jetpack, one of the world's leading jetpack researchers and developers, is continuing its quest to bring a practical jetpack to market.

The Martin Jetpack consists of a gasoline powered, two-stroke engine that drives twin-ducted fans capable of lifting the aircraft and a human operator off the ground and sustaining flight. It was designed with recreational use in mind, but it has many commercial and government applications as well. For safety, the jetpack has a ballistic parachute onboard and will crumple on impact to protect the operator. This partially computer-animated video shows some of the Martin Jetpack's commercial applications.

Martin Jetpack's latest prototype is flying at 50 kph (approximately 30 mph) in winds up to 15 kph (10 mph) and is being remote controlled for safety. This video shows one such flight:

The jetpack has, however, been flown by humans. This video shows one of the employees doing a demonstration flight, and this video shows five paying customers on test flights. An outdoor, manned flight is set for late 2012. According to Martin Jetpack's website, the craft is very easy to operate, though the company will require each customer to pass their training course before receiving a jetpack. Depending on your country of residence, you may not need a pilot's license to operate the vehicle; New Zealand (where the company is based) and the United States don't appear to require a license, for instance.

Martin Jetpack is currently on the verge of gearing up to bring the jetpacks to market. The company is seeking 100 investors of US$20,000 each to accomplish the following goals:

  • A manned jetpack for commercial and government use by mid-2013
  • A manned jetpack for personal use about mid-2014

One of the benefits of being one of the initial 100 investors is you get to be the first group of personal-use jetpack recipients! That is, you're ahead of the thousands of people who have already inquired about purchasing a jetpack. Of course, you will probably still have to pay the estimated US$100,000 purchase price.

Many of you likely remember seeing the Martin Jetpack featured in my unintentionally controversial TechRepublic's geeky gift guide for the top 1%. So, instead of assuming anyone actually has $100,000 to spend, I'll ask: If you had the $100,000 to spare, would you be one of the first in line for a Martin Jetpack? Share your thoughts in the comments.

13 comments
HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

Still, the US exports gas so there can't be any real energy independence issues to worry about, meaning gas prices should still be low and no need to subsidize them either... Why the military? In a jungle environment, where most of the bad people we're fighting are, the baddies will hide behind trees and shoot. In an open field, such as a desert, neither side has too large an advantage, until the gas runs out...

RechTepublic
RechTepublic

I can't wait to actually see a real person and a real "jet" pack.

mckinnej
mckinnej

This not a "jet" pack. It is more of a "fan" pack. It bears more resemblance to a rotary wing aircraft than a jet one. Kind of big too. Nevertheless, I'd like to fly one.

jasmine2501
jasmine2501

Test pilots get paid fairly well. You don't pay to become a test pilot.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

for use by forestry staff or pipeline staff or electricity staff for checking things out in the field; and if quiet enough, for manned security surveillance.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I see UAVs powered by water(hydrogen generators aboard) that have 15 hour loiter capability, and others can carry ordinance. If it can carry two hell fire missiles, it can carry a 150lbs. man. I imagine the "jet" pack in the article can only carry 90lb. weaklings.(edited) Apparently I'm wrong if the Wiki link posted is correct. It is rated for 280 + or - payload.

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

People can't already drive - they'd rather eat, text, put on makeup, and all because "time is money" and other anti-life or life-aborting concepts. Now imagine that scenario with flying craft instead of things that roll along on wheels, and if these things aren't made properly, they might just stop in mid-flight. Splatters look great when it's tomato sauce on a pizza crust, but not human remains on pavement.

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

So many people will want to test and since the value of life is so low, nobody's going to complain because somebody else will be more willing to do it for less. The day of testing something being rewarded with money is long past. After all, when you test a new OS, does the OS maker pay you? No, you're telling them how to fix things, since they're too cheap to hire their own workers.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I seem to remember one that had a 12" axial jet turbine in it, about 41/2 feet long. Of course it was hard to control - you needed to be a Neil Armstrong to fly it. Today's gizmos, undoubtedly have computer stabilization, for newbie pilots.

Editor's Picks