Up up and away

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The Martin rocketman suit during a test flight.


TRAVELLING by Jetpack is getting ever closer to commercial use. A team of New Zealand inventors recently conducted a test flight of their Martin rocketman suit which saw them soar 5,000 feet into the air. The flight lasted around 10 minutes, which is the longest time ever recorded.

Inventor Glen Martin has been developing the suit for the past 40-years and spent NZ$12million (€6.72m) on the venture. They will now enter another period of intensive testing to refine the technology and performance over extended and continuous hours of operation.

The first ‘jet-ski in the sky’ could be dispatched for solo flights by the end of the year for around €56,000 and Martin hopes to start mass production in the not too distant future. Designed to be the ‘simplest aircraft in the world’ it will “be a breeze to fly,” said Mr Martin.

“You just strap it on and rev the nuts out of it and it lifts you up off the ground.” Already 2,500 people have signed up to buy the jetpack with inquiries coming from Middle Eastern royalty and US millionaires, according to Martin. The jetpack was originally unveiled at a US airshow in 2008, but at that time it only went 6ft for no longer than 45 seconds.

Specifications:

Size: Height 5ft, width 5.5ft, length 5ft

Structure: Carbon fibre composite

Top speed: 60mph (100km/h)

Range: 31 miles (at max speed). Around 30 minutes air-time

Current altitude: 160ft (50metres)

Fuel capacity: Five U.S. gallons

Fuel economy: 10gph (around 15 cents per 20 seconds flying time)

Engine: 2.0 litre, 200 horsepower. Max 6,000 rpm.

Maximum thrust: 600lbs

Empty weight: 250lbs

Gross weight: 553lbs

Price: £50,000 ($75,000)

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