Anyone who visits this website regularly and has seen our blog posts in the past may have noticed our (my) slight obsession with anything that hovers (ever since Star Wars and Back to the Future) and Jetpacks.
Ever since that opening scene in the James Bond film Thunderball I have wondered in amazement at individual flying machines strapped to ones back, as I am sure, have most of you technophiles out there.
Since then there have been many attempts at replicating this feat, including the opening ceremony of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles (where else would this be showcased)
and also the many, readily available water based jet packs. These have a hose and pump system that shoot water from below to create flight.
Whether or not James Bond was the inspiration behind New Zealand student Glenn Martin’s endeavours we do not know but we do know that he has been developing something over the last 35 years and is finally ready to offer the world’s first commercially available ‘jetpack’.
Now I have put jetpack into inverted commas like that for a reason – The Martin Jetpack is not really a jetpack. The £100,000 device, The P12, actually works with two ducted fans that are powered by a V4 200 horsepower petrol engine which can fly for more than 30 minutes and can reach speeds of up to 74 kilometres per hour at altitudes of 1,000 meters and with a payload of up to 120Kg.
The latest version was on show at the Paris Airshow last month and Martin also had a simulator for those lucky enough to get a go to experience the Jetpack for themselves.
Of course all aspects of safety have to be covered with something like this and the vertical take-off and landing system means that it can fly and manoeuvre in extremely tight and confined spaces.
It will also have a composite structure pilot module to protect the pilot, even in the event of an accident, as well as a ballistic parachute system that can deploy from only a few meters above the ground.
Initially aimed at first responders it is thought that this could be available commercially in 2016 and with the backing of the massive Chinese Aerospace group Kuang-Chi Science this could be a real possibility.
For more information please check out their website www.martinjetpack.com