While we don't quite yet live in an era of jetpack travel, we are inching closer and closer thanks to visionaries like the Martin Aircraft Company.
Started by New Zealander Glenn Martin in his garage in the early 1980s, the Martin Aircraft Company has been developing the Martin Jetpack for over 30 years. To date, the company has yet to successfuly in bring a jetpack to the market, but that may change in the upcoming months with the recent release of their twelfth prototype, the P12.
Martin Aircraft's Peter Coker, who was appointed CEO earlier this year, has described the new prototype as a "huge step up," according to a press release on the company's site. "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 aircrafts maneuverability."
Though named a jetpack, ducted fans actually power the P12, which can hit speeds of 60 miles per hour and heights of 8,000 feet. If the P12 were to fail, a safety system would release a parachute to avoid a crash landing at heights above 500 feet. The P12 has a running time of 30 minutes and uses a mixture of premium gasoline and oil.
A 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine powers the device, which puts out 200 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque, yet only tips the scale at a minuscule 132 pounds.
The company seems ready to introduce the Martin Jetpack to buyers, with a projected production date of mid-2014, with an estimated cost of $150,000 to $200,000.
Even if that price doesn't scare you away, don't expect to get your hands on a Martin Jetpack any time soon. The first Martin Jetpacks produced will apparently only be used in first responder situations.
[Source: Martin Aircraft Company via Gizmag]