Jetpack to be unveiled at air show in New Zealand
An inventor from New Zealand today will be unveling what he calls 'the world's first practical jetpack' at the EAA AirVenture, which is a huge air show taking place in New Zealand.
Glen Martin is the inventor's name, and he has spent 27 years developing the 'mode of transport', which he soon hopes will take off (pun intended) and he can then sell them for $100,000 each.
Depending on how fast they can go and how long they can fly for, I might like to fly one to work now and again....
“There is nothing that even comes close to the dream that the jetpack allows you to achieve,” said Robert J. Thompson, the director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University. He called it “about the coolest desire left to mankind.”
For Mr. Martin, the jetpack is the culmination of a dream that began as a 5-year-old in Dunedin, New Zealand. For those who still remember childhood dreams of flying and comic-book visions of the 21st century, the jetpack suggests the possible fulfillment of the yearning for those long-promised gifts of technology.
Buck Rogers and James Bond used jetpacks, and since the 1960s, several real jetpack designs have been built from metal, plastic and propellant. None has flown more than a minute. Mr. Martin’s machines can run for 30 minutes.
Ok, so technically it's not a 'jet pack' according to Mr. Martin.
It is also not, to put it bluntly, a jet. “If you’re very pedantic,” Mr. Martin acknowledged, a gasoline-powered piston engine runs the large rotors. Jet Skis, he pointed out, are not jets, and the atmospheric jet stream is not created by engines. “This thing flies on a jet of air,” he said. Or, more simply, it flies.
Here are the current stats of the product:
The current iteration of the product, the 11th, weighs about 250 pounds and provides 600 pounds of thrust. It includes safety features like a so-called ballistic parachute with a small explosive charge for rapid deployment in case of an emergency, like those used in some small airplanes.
Only 12 people have flown the jetpack, and no one has gained more than three hours of experience in the air. Mr. Martin plans to take it up to 500 feet within six months. This time, he said with a smile, he will be the first.
So it might be a while before I can fly one of these to work (or be able to afford one for that matter), but this sounds like one of the best inventions I have heard of in a long time! I love this idea.