First Commercial Jetpack Set to Arrive this Year

Interesting Engineering

Jetpacks have been the dream of futurists worldwide and now 2014 is set to be the year we finally see commercially available products. New Zealand based Martin Jetpack Company have demonstrated its latest P12 prototype and have received full certification from the Civil Aviation Authority for manned flights.

P12 Prototype in action

jetpack-cover-1[Image Source: Martin Jet Pack]

The jetpack is powered by a two-stroke V4 engine producing maximum speeds of up to 74 km/h and can be flown for 30 minutes on a full tank of fuel. It stands at roughly 2m and weighs in at 180kg when manned. While traditional jetpacks have focused on being powered by jets of escaping gas, Martins design uses a gas engine with two ducted fans operating at 200 horsepower . The device can be manned by a pilot or even remotely flown and due to the devices low-weight, it does not require a pilot's license. Users will however be obliged to take part in a Martin Jetpack training programme.

First Responder Jetpack


[Image Source: Martin Jet Pack]

Test flights have flown at altitudes exceeding 800 feet and therefore, safety is a key factor of interest in the design. A carbon fibre composite frame offers lightweight, strong and rigid protection for the pilot and as the fans are ducted, there is no risk of coming into contact with exposed blades. Furthermore, the jetpack comes equipped with a ballistic parachute that can provide rapid chute opening in the undesired event of catastrophic failure at such low altitudes.

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Ducted Fans Closeup

phoca_thumb_l_2013 p12 duct

[Image Source: Martin Jet Pack]

Martin Aircraft Company hope to start providing the first commercial products by the end of 2014, mainly to response services such as the fire service, army, search and rescue and other emergency services. Chief executive Richard Lauder said: "This could be life-saving stuff. For us this is an excellent commercial step."

The company hopes to offer personal jetpacks by late 2015. Jetpacks emerged from science fiction in the 1920s but have yet to see a successful commercial 'take-off'. Although practical uses for a personal jetpack seem limited, they would certainly be beneficial for dodging heavy traffic and some general damn good fun!

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