The Martin Jetpack – a James Bond style gadget becomes a reality

There is a fabulous tale from the early days of the airship Back then aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont would parade his new fangled Airship by hovering at roof level along the boulevards of Paris.

Santos-Dumont’s party piece was to fly one of his smaller airships to his favourite restaurant. Suitably emboldened by steak and frites and a glass of Beaujolais he’d just hop back into his shop and fly home.

In many ways personalised air travel of that kind hasn’t progressed a great deal in over 100 or so years until perhaps now. We have seen jet packs before but the Martin Jetpack which will go on sale next year in New Zealand takes the concept out of the James Bond book of gadgets and into the real world. Within a couple of years anyone will be able to own one, provided that is they can stump up the $150,000 price tag.

Check the video above – it certainly looks like a huge amount of fun. The jet pack can apparently go as high as 7,000 feet in the air and travel at speeds of 50 miles an hour. Though at the moment you can only put enough petrol in it to run for half an hour.

So will we soon be seeing jet packs over our heads as we walk through British cities? possibly not. A lot apparently depends on the categorisation of the jet pack. Is it a helicopter, an aircraft?

“Think of it like a motorcycle in the sky,” Peter Coker, chief executive of Martin Aircraft Co. Ltd., told the WSJ. It is apparently unique in that it is not rocket powered but has a gasoline engine driving twin-ducted fans.

That didn’t conceive the Kiwi authorities who described it as a micro light which means potential pilots will need a licence to fly it. There is no decision yet as to whether they will eventually be allowed to fly over built-up areas.

For now though enjoy the video and picture yourself in the hot seat.

Ashley Norris