Personal jetpacks, long the stuff of science fiction, are poised to break into the mainstream sooner than you might think. Sure, we’ve seen video of crazy jetpack aerobatics looping through the Dubai skyline, but we’re talking about something a little bit more accessible to the masses.
Info Blizzard is reporting that the Martin Aircraft, a developer of personal jetpacks, signed a number of big-time commercial deals at this Paris International Air Show this week. What this means for you, dear reader, is that the dawn of personal jetpacks may be just around the corner.
The Martin Jetpack is incredibly lightweight can travel up to speeds of 74 km/h (45 mph) with a travel time of 30 minutes. The jetpack is guided by ducted fans that are powered by v4, two stroke engines.
The jetpack can be controlled remotely, or by a pilot and is capable of reaching places that are often inaccessible to cars and helicopters.
What also makes the Martin Jetpack a realistic option for commercial use is the classification regulations the company has been able to hurdle. The company says that the jetpack is currently classed as a lightweight aircraft.
The Martin Jetpack, we should point out, is far from being the new kid on the block. Back in 2010, the jetpack was named one of the 50 best inventions of 2010.
Speaking to CNBC earlier this week, Martin Aircraft CEO Peter Coker said that his company’s jetpack will initially be of interest to and useful for first responders in emergency situations. Later on, recreational use may also be a possibility.
As for a launch window, Coker believes the jetpack will be ready for commercial use in about 12-18 months from now.
“We’re moving to a commercial product so we can release it in the second half of 2016, so right now we are taking the prototype and adding the commercial aspects to it,” Coker said.
Coker added that production is slated to take place in New Zealand and that the company anticipates an annual production rate of 500 units per year. The jetpacks won’t come cheap, though. Pricing for an individual unit is believed to be in the $200,000 range.
As for the agreements Martin Aircraft inked in Paris this week, they include:
- An agreement with Beijing Flying Man Science & Technology Ltd involves the parties working towards the future delivery of a Martin Aircraft package with an initial tranche of 100 manned Jetpacks, 50 unmanned Jetpacks, 25 static models and 25 simulators. It is noted that at this stage the agreement is a strategic co-operation agreement and any sales are dependent upon a successful supply agreement.
- An agreement with Beijing Voyage Investment Ltd a subsidiary company of well-known Chinese-based AVIC International Holdings Ltd for the intended future delivery of manned and unmanned Jetpacks, simulators, and static models.
- An alliance agreement with Czech Republic-based Martin Aircraft Company s.r.o. to establish a European sales centre for the Martin Jetpack.
- An alliance agreement with New Delhi based M2K Group Ltd to establish a regional sales presents in commercially important India market.