Wednesday, 10 Mar, 2010 Technology
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New Zealand Company to Start Marketing Jetpacks

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The Martin Aircraft Company, an innovative firm based in New Zealand, unveiled its plans to start marketing commercial jetpacks. The price for the company's product is $75,000. Together with an unnamed company, the New Zealand-based firm will produce 500 jetpacks per year.

The video shows the inventor of the 200-horsepower duel-propeller jetpack, Glenn Martin, testing one of his devices. It would be interesting to note that this personal flying machine allows a person to fly for about half an hour (if its 5-gallon tank is full of premium gasoline).

The trials have showed that the jetpack can reach a speed of 60mph and a height of 2.4km (1.5 miles). There will be no need for a pilot license due to the fact that the jetpack weights only 254 pounds. At the same time the company says that anyone wishing to go up into the skies should go through training first. In case of emergency the jetpack features a parachute.

The machine can lift a weight of up to 120kg (265 pounds). To be able to operate the jetpack, the pilot should use both hands (one hand on the throttle and one on steering). Information on the device, its engines, the amount of gasoline in the tank and directions is provided on a display located in front of the pilot.

It is worth mentioning that the project has been in the development stage for almost 30 years. Sustained flight times were achieved in 2005, when engineers tested the ninth model. The Martin Aircraft Company looks forward to start producing jetpacks later this year. The company did not give any information regarding the location where the machines will be built, but it is known that the production will take place outside New Zealand.

The jetpacks will be sold mainly to emergency services and the military, but private users may also consider purchasing one of the machines. In case the demand for the jetpacks increases, the company says that the price for its machine may drop to that of a mid-range vehicle.

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