Jet pack gets green light for flight

14 August 2013 - 09:14 By Sapa-AFP
A handout photo released on August 13, 2013 by Martin Aircraft Company Limited shows a newly developed personalised jetpack in Christchurch, New Zealand. The New Zealand developers of a personalised jetpack said on August 13, 2013 that aviation regulators have issued the device with a flying permit, allowing for manned test flights.
A handout photo released on August 13, 2013 by Martin Aircraft Company Limited shows a newly developed personalised jetpack in Christchurch, New Zealand. The New Zealand developers of a personalised jetpack said on August 13, 2013 that aviation regulators have issued the device with a flying permit, allowing for manned test flights.
Image: MARTIN AIRCRAFT COMPANY LIMITED / AFP

The New Zealand developers of a personalised jet pack said yesterday that aviation regulators have given them a permit that will allow test flights.

Martin Aircraft chief executive Peter Coker said the company hopes to begin selling its jet packs next year.

The pack is the brainchild of inventor Glenn Martin, who began working on it in his Christchurch garage more than 30 years ago, inspired by television shows such as Thunderbirds.

Though the jet pack's concept is simple enough - Time magazine likened it to two enormous leaf-blowers welded together - fine-tuning it into an aircraft that is safe and easy to use has been a lengthy process.

The price of a jet pack is estimated at between $150 000 (R1.5-million) and $250 000, though Coker said the cost was likely to come down over time.

The jet pack is sold with a rocket-propelled parachute - just in case something goes wrong.

X