After 30 years of development New Zealand company Martin Aircraft is about to release the first Jetpack to the commercial market in 2012.
From the company: “To demonstrate flight high above the ground and the concept of the ballistic parachute as an emergency safety system, the Martin Jetpack was flown to around 1500m (5000ft), brought down from this height and an off-the-shelf ballistic parachute was deployed.The aircraft was flown by James via radio control in a chasing helicopter – also demonstrating the ability of the technology to apply to UAV applications. Jetson, Martin Aircraft Company’s weighted dummy was on board, and the parachute was placed out front for visibility and weight balancing.The video features inventor Glenn Martin and RC pilot James Bowker. The jetpack ascended initially at 4m/s (800ft/min) and the climb took about 6 minutes. The parachute was deployed at around 3000ft above ground level. The aircraft sustained some damage on impact, but we would expect that it is likely a pilot would have walked away from this emergency landing. The total flight was just under 10 minutes.”