Jetpacks, once thought to be the future of travel, seemed to go the way of the flying car, but if Glenn Martin, founding director and inventor of Martin Jetpack, has his way, anyone will be able to purchase one for about $100,000 within the next 18 months.
Martin Aircraft Co., located in New Zealand, passed a crucial milestone this month when it tested its Jetpack at 5,000 feet, before it deployed an emergency parachute, allowing the flying machine and its dummy pilot to drift down to the ground.
"This successful test brings the future another step closer," said Martin in a statment. "This test also validated our flight model, proved thrust to weight ratio and proved our ability to fly a Jetpack as an unmanned aerial vehicle, which will be key to some of the Jetpack's future emergency/search and rescue and military applications."
The Jetpack was controlled remotely from a helicopter hovering nearby and could reach a top speed of 63 miles per hour. The flight was not only intended to test the Jetpack at a high altitude but also the deployment of the emergency parachute. Despite a relatively hard impact, the company believes a pilot could have walked away from the landing.
Previously, the highest the jetpack had flown was 50 feet for a little more than seven minutes.
"In the past two years, we've gone from unveiling a world leading invention to a company on the verge of international commercialization of both the manned and unmanned versions of the Jetpack," said CEO Richard Lauder in a statement.
The company said the Jetpack was easy to fly and took about 20 hours to learn to operate.
Test Flight Measurements:
Climb Rate: 800 ft/min
Altitude: 5,000 ft
Flight Duration: 9:46 min
Impact Under Parachute 15.7 mph