The Martin jetpack returns, ready for piloted test flights

Over in New Zealand, there's at least one jetpack with a flight permit. The new "P12" Martin Jetpack is a much more maneuverable design which also benefits from not-so-minor improvements in flight stability. It may have been these design improvements that lead New Zealand flight regulators to issue the device's permit.

The permit itself is quite limited. The jetpack may only fly at maximum altitudes of 20 feet above the ground or 25 feet over water. This is far below the jetpack's 5,000 foot height record — but then the only pilot at risk of injury during that flight was a crash test dummy. The jetpack may also only operate in uninhabited, rural areas for the time being.

All this regulation might be a temporary setback however, as Martin Aircraft Company's recently-appointed CEO Peter Coker has plans to offer a military and first-responder version of the vehicle for sale by next summer. Civilian models are to follow in late 2015. With plenty of testing yet to be done, we'll cross our fingers that Coker can stick to those timetables. Two years doesn't seem that long to wait for our very own one of these. All we need now is $200,000 and a calendar to cross the days off of.

Martin Jetpack via Phys.org

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