A tantalizing yard-marker for our progress to the future — second only to the flying car as a personal transportation gold standard — the jetpack has finally been perfected by the Martin Aircraft Company, and it’s on track to hit the market sometime in 2014.
That’s right, you can finally own your very own jetpack. The P12 Martin Jetpack is a nifty unit that gets you airborne with two giant ducted fans – no worries about singing your pant cuffs or tender body parts. And it’ll keep you aloft for up to 30 minutes at a time on a single tank of premium gas, with a range of around 20 miles, a maximum altitude of 3,000 feet and top airspeed of more than 40 mph — perfect for short commutes. Just imagine the looks you’ll get in the employee parking lot.
And if you’re having too much fun and happen to stay aloft for, say, 31 minutes or so and run out of fuel? No sweat: Just activate the onboard safety parachute and float softly down to earth with your pack. A Sport Pilot license is required to fly it in the States, and taking a Martin Aircraft course in handling the P12 is, to say the least, strongly recommended.
We have Glenn Martin to thank for this visionary leap forward. The founder of the New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft Company has been working hard for more than 30 years to make the Martin Jetpack a reality. The fulfillment of a childhood fantasy, he built 12 prototypes before perfecting the technology and design with the aptly named P12.
“When I was a kid I dreamed of flying around in a jetpack like any 5-year-old,” Martin said.
He started out in his garage on a shoestring budget before building Martin Aircraft into a major player in aeronautics, spending the past three years tweaking the P12 and working on rolling it out in the personal aviation market. Early reviews are thumbs way up: the Martin Jetpack recently earned a Best of What’s New Award from Popular Science Magazine.
Exciting times, indeed, but there’s a potential downside: It’ll cost upward of $125,000. We’re waiting for the second or third generation, when prices always go down. In fact, Martin Aircraft claims that the cost could come down to the level of “a mid-range motorcycle or car” as production increases. But for early adopters with deep pockets, it’s difficult to imagine a high-tech toy packed with more cool cache or potential for kicks.
Courtesy of Drive The District