The Martin Jetpack is set for commercial launch in 2016, and its creators believe it could transform emergency response and search-and-rescue missions. Jim Drury met the team marketing it.
It's the world's first commercial jetpack and could be yours for 150,000 USD. Three decades of research has gone into the Martin Jetpack, which in tests flew at more than 1,000 metres above ground, at up to 74 miles per hour. This simulator gave Paris Airshow visitors a taste of what flying a real jetpack might feel like. SOUNDBITE (English) PETER COKER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND MANAGING DIRECTOR OF MARTIN JETPACK, SAYING: "It actually flies the same as the jetpack, so it's an opportunity for members of the public to see what that experience is all about." Peter Coker is chief executive of the New Zealand based company. He says the jetpack is totally safe. SOUNDBITE (English) PETER COKER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND MANAGING DIRECTOR OF MARTIN JETPACK, SAYING: "We have safety built into the actual structure itself. Very similar to a Formula One racing car, and finally what we actually have is a new ballistic parachute that is the basis of recognising the way that we can be as safe as we possibly can. It opens at very low altitude and actually saves both the aircraft and the pilot in an emergency." The newest, P12 version, runs on a petrol engine that drives two ducted fans and can carry a commercial payload of 120 kilograms. Although it will interest rich thrill-seekers, it's aimed primarily at emergency responders in hard to reach areas, and search and rescue missions. Vertical Take-off and Landing means the P12 can land on rooftops covered with aerials and wires, and fly into tightly confined areas. It can stay in the air for 30 minutes and the firm calls it a practical alternative to helicopters. Chinese aerospace group Kuang-Chi Science has committed 40 million dollars of funding. Chairman Dr Ruopeng Liu is keen to try one for himself. SOUNDBITE (English) DR RUOPENG LIU, CHAIRMAN OF KUANG-CHI SCIENCE CO LTD, SAYING: "For sure, I would fly it by myself and I will even buy one for myself. It's one of the finest machines I've ever seen in the world and people will love it." First deliveries of the jetpack are scheduled for late 2016. Its makers are sure that sales will soar.