NZ jetpack gets flight permit

2013-08-13 10:19

(Martin Aircraft Company Limited / AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Video

The closest thing to a jetpack

2013-08-01 09:53

A Swiss adventurer is making his first public flights in the United States this summer with his custom-built jet suit. Check it out and try not be too jealous. WATCH

Wellington - The New Zealand developers of a personalised jetpack said Tuesday that aviation regulators have issued the device with a flying permit, allowing for manned test flights.

Martin Aircraft chief executive Peter Coker said the certification was a significant milestone in the development of the jetpack, which the company hopes to begin selling next year.

"For us it's a very important step because it moves it out of what I call a dream into something which I believe we're now in a position to commercialise and take forward very quickly," Coker told AFP.

The jetpack is the brainchild of inventor Glenn Martin, who began working on it in his Christchurch garage more than 30 years ago.

Inspired by childhood television shows such as "Thunderbirds" and "Lost in Space", Martin set out in the early 1980s to create a jetpack suitable for everyday use by ordinary people with no specialist pilot training.

His jetpack consists of a pair of cylinders containing propulsion fans attached to a free-standing carbon-fibre frame.

The pilot backs into the frame, straps himself in and controls the wingless jetpack with two joysticks.

While the jetpack's concept is simple enough - Time magazine likened it to two enormous leaf blowers welded together - fine-tuning it into an aircraft that is safe and easy to use has been a lengthy process.

Coker said the latest prototype, the P12, incorporated huge design improvements over earlier versions.

"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," he said.

Coker said a specialised version of the jetpack designed for the military and "first responder" emergency crews such as firefighters should be ready for delivery by mid-2014.

A simpler model aimed at the general public is expected to be on the market in 2015.

The price of your own personal flying machine is estimated at R1.4m, although Coker said the cost was likely to come down over time.

It comes with a rocket-propelled parachute if anything goes wrong.

In May 2011, a remote control Martin jetpack carrying a dummy pilot soared 1,500 metres (5,000 feet) above the South Island's Canterbury Plains as its creator watched anxiously from a helicopter hovering nearby.

The New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority said the jetpack had now been issued with an experimental flight permit for development test flying, which allows someone to pilot the aircraft.

It said the test flights would be subject to strict safety requirements, with flights not allowed any higher than six metres above the ground or seven meters above water.

The flights are also limited to test areas over uninhabited land.

 
Read more on:    travel international  |  aviation

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside Travel

 
/News

#FindYourEscape with Traveller24

Your insider guide to exploring South Africa and the world...
 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.