$100,000 Jetpack Flies High In Demo Flight
The thrill of soaring thousands of feet above the ground in your own personal jetpack may now be one step closer to reality, thanks to Jetpack maker Martin Aircraft Co. of New Zealand.
In a demonstration on Sunday, the $100,000 Jetpack climbed 800 feet per minute to an altitude of 5,000 feet, but could have traveled even faster, at 1,000 feet per minute, the company said.
“In this test we limited the jetpack to 800 ft./min climb so the chase helicopters could keep up,” said the Jetpack’s inventor, Glenn Martin.
The demonstration used the unmanned (UAV) version of the Jetpack, using a weighted dummy to simulate a pilot’s weight.
The record-breaking Jetpack flight took place over Pudding Hill in Canterbury, New Zealand, and is a major step towards commercial production of the world’s first practical jetpack, Martin Aircraft said.
The previous record was 100 feet per minute.
“This successful test brings the future another step closer,” Martin said.
The flight was part of an intensive period of testing as Martin Aircraft works through the final development phase of the Jetpack’s technologies.
The company said it hopes to have first deliveries of both the manned and UAV versions to key customers within the next 18 months.
Named one of Time Magazines’ top 50 inventions for 2010, the Martin Jetpack has the ability to fly for half an hour or more, climb more than 1000 ft. per minute and to cruise at 60 mph.
Sunday’s flight also represented the first test of the Jetpack’s Ballistic Parachute safety system, which ensures there is no height at which a catastrophic failure needs to lead to significant injury, the company said.
“This test also validated our flight model, proved thrust to weight ratio and proved our ability to fly a Jetpack as an unmanned aerial vehicle, which will be key to some of the Jetpack’s future emergency/search & rescue and military applications,” said Martin.
The earliest Martin Jetpack customers are expected to be in the military and emergency response industries. Unmanned Jetpacks could be used for delivery, observation and extraction in areas and situations too dangerous for people and other aircraft to access.
The company is currently conducting intensive testing to refine its technology in the areas of safety, engine performance over extended and continuous hours of operation, and high speed flight stability, said chief executive Richard Lauder.
All the technologies tested during Sunday’s flight performed well, and technicians are already working on the next test to push new boundaries of the flight envelope, he said.
“This latest successful high flight was a complex aviation event requiring approval from the Civil Aviation Authority, and took several months to coordinate,” he said.
“From a company point of view, the high flight shows Martin Aircraft’s development over the past two years and its expertise in coordinating and running a sophisticated and complex aviation event of this nature.”
“In the past two years we’ve gone from unveiling a world leading invention to a company on the verge of international commercialization of both the manned and unmanned versions of the Jetpack.”
Martin Aircraft has received substantial interest in the Jetpack from governments, military and emergency services around the world, along with many in the general aviation sector who are interested in being one of the first to own a jetpack.
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