TECH

Martin Jetpack Gets Flight Permit For Full-Scale Tests (VIDEO)

14/08/2013 09:28 BST | Updated 13/10/2013 10:12 BST

We know, we know. When it comes to the promise of a realistic, working jetpack, you've been burned before. People have been married wearing jetpacks, flown alongside passenger planes with a jetpack.

And yet here you are, still driving around in a car like an idiot.

But today we have news of a genuine step forward on the quest for a personal, commercial jetpack - even if it's only towards further testing.

Martin Aircraft have been granted a flying permit for manned tests of their potentially revolutionary device.

The New Zealand developers of the large, twin-cylinder propulsion jetpack will now be able to start tests with a human pilot. The jetpack comes with a rocket-propelled parachute as standard, as well as a light-weight carbon frame - and no wings.

The downside? While the machine has already successfully flown at more than 5,000 feet with a dummy pilot, Martin will be limited to flying just 20 feet above the ground with a human at the controls.

martin

The New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority said that the experimental flight permit would also be subject to strict safety measures, and would not be allowed over inhabited areas.

Martin inside that the machine is on track for a military rollout in 2014, and a full civilian launch at about $200,000 a pop in 2015.

Recent changes to the design, including repositioning the ducts, has led to big improvements in performance. The new P12 model is said to be closer than ever to a production-grade machine.

"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," Martin Aircraft chief executive Peter Coker told AFP.

"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."