Company testing jetpacks for commercial use

One New Zealand-based company is looking to turn grounded civilians into rocketeers with a real jetpack.

“The Martin Aircraft Company in New Zealand plans to launch a consumer model next year. Launch, as in up to 7,000 feet up and flying at speeds of up to 50 mph.” (Via The Wall Street Journal)

The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand gave the company approval to test the 12th prototype of its Martin Jetpack. Surprisingly enough, inventor Glenn Martin said he gained inspiration from watching “The Jetsons.” (Via Martin Aircraft Company"The Jetsons")

But don’t get too caught up on the word jetpack. According to the Mother Nature Network, jetpack is a misnomer because the device flies using a gas engine and twin-ducted fans.

So, what’s it like to actually fly one of these things? At least one pilot said: “It’s a mixture of scary and just awesome. But when you’re actually in it, it’s all behind you.”

Martin told CBS he’s worked on the jetpack for 30 years and has the clunky prototypes to prove it.

The company is also working on how the jetpack will be categorized. New Zealand aviation officials will soon decide whether operators will need a license and where pilots can fly the so-called “motorcycles of the sky.” (Via Slate)

The company expects to sell the Martin Jetpack first to emergency responders and defense specialists. Commercial versions are expected to go on the market next year for about $150,000.

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