An inventor named Glenn Martin has been developing a jetpack since the 1980’s, and it looks like his work is about to pay off. Ever since the Wright brothers first flight, science fiction has been in love with the jet pack. Who wouldn’t want to arrive at work wearing a shiny contraption strapped on their back? Martin’s invention looks like it is about to bring the jetpack from science fiction into reality.
In the past, attempts at producing a working jetpack were unsuccessful, or working models yielded such brief flights as to be impractical. But last month, Martin’s jetpack prototype successfully carried a dummy pilot on a flight that reached 5,000 feet above the South Island's Canterbury Plains in New Zealand. The jetpack is made of twin V4 engines, and runs on gasoline (petrol). Its 4.5 gallon tank has an estimated range of 30 minutes flight time or 31 miles.
We won’t be able to take one to work just yet. The Jetpack is classified as an ultralight, and ultralights are not allowed to be flown over most populated areas. Martin hopes to begin selling to commercial customers or emergency response personnel by the end of this year, with public availability in early 2012. The cost is estimated at $100,000. Yes, that was $100k, another reason these are not going to be in every driveway in the suburbs.