Move Over James Bond. Here Comes a Jetpack for the Rest of Us
Say goodbye to the gridlock on your morning commute. Taking a cue from James Bond's Q, developers in New Zealand have come up with a personal jetpack that not only looks amazing, it might actually work.
The machine is the brainchild of inventor Glenn Martin, who has been working on the design for more than three decades. "Inspired by childhood television shows such as Thunderbirds and Lost in Space, Martin set out in the early 1980s to create a jetpack suitable for everyday use by ordinary people with no specialist pilot training," the AFP reported.
Called Martin Aircraft, the developers came up with a machine that consists of a pair of cylinders with propulsion fans attached to a free-standing carbon-fiber frame. To pilot the device, one backs into the frame, straps him or herself in and uses a pair of joysticks as controls.
Technically, the Martin Aircraft "jetpack" might not be a true jetpack after all, since it is propelled by fans blowing air instead of the traditional idea of jets of escaping gases. But, who cares? This thing looks cool. It even comes with a rocket-propelled parachute in case the pilot loses control.
While the group is still working out some details on the design, New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority issued the device a permit for manned test flights. In a 2011 test, a Martin Aircraft successfully carried a dummy pilot 5,000 feet above sea level.
Martin Aircraft says a version of the jetpack designed for the military and first-responder emergency crews could be ready for delivery as early as 2014, according to the AFP. A model aimed at the general public is expected to be on the market in 2015 and cost somewhere between $150,000 and $250,000.
I hope the price comes down, significantly, or how else am I supposed to pretend I'm James Bond in Thunderball?
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