Developed over the past 35 years, Martin says its jetpack is powered by a 200HP V4 petrol engine that drives two ducted fans for upto 30 minutes of flight time. The company claims that it can carry a payload of up to 265 pounds, attain a top speed of 45 MPH and reach altitudes of 1,000 meters.
The New Zealand-based company showed off its latest prototype at an air show in Paris, using a simulator outfitted with an Oculus Rift VR headset to let visitors experience the product without lifting off the ground.
Martin Aircraft had initially planned to launch its jetpack in 2014, with a commercial release this year at a starting price of $100,000.
While the jetpack may certainly seem like a neat toy for those who can afford it, Martin’s chief executive Peter Coker says it’s aimed at emergency responders and government agencies as well as police, fire and ambulance services.
Coker told Reuters:
I think the first responders will see that as a massive improvement to their capability. So, for example, in the fire services going around to look at the situational awareness of what’s going on, perhaps through water security or even search and rescue on beach patrol, something along those lines.
Naturally for the ambulance service getting to a point of importance of rescuing people in the shortest possible time. So there’s a lot of uses within that first responder environment.
The company believes that the jetpack’s ability to fly into tightly confined areas and land on rooftops covered with wires make it a practical alternative to traditional helicopters.
➤ Martin Aircraft Company Limited Investor Relations Update [Martin Aircraft (PDF) via Reuters]