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N.Z. firm launches jetpack venture

For Washington area commuters who have the means, relief from gridlock might not be too far in the future.

New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft Co. announced a $12 million joint venture to produce what it's billing as the world's first commercially available jetpack.

Dessin
The Martin Jetpack (Martin Aircraft Company)
In a news release, the company, which said it has been developing the pack for almost 30 years, says it will build the jetpacks outside New Zealand and aim to produce 500 a year. Company officials said the firm is still seeking capital investors.


The jetpack, which would travel at up to 63 mph and fly as high as 8,000 feet, runs on gasoline. Its five-gallon tank would give it a range of about 32 miles. A two-stroke, two-liter V4 engine puts out about 200 horsepower.

It also comes equipped with a parachute and retractable undercarriage, stands about 5 feet tall and weighs in at about 530 pounds.

The jetpack, which falls under the Federal Aviation Administration's ultralight classification, would not require a pilot's license to operate in the United States, but the company does require purchasers to complete a training program.

And the cost, which the company said is based on how many are produced, would be about the same as a high-end car or motorcycle - around $90,000.

The company envisions that its first sales would be to emergency responders and the military, but said the jetpacks might become available to the public as early as this year.

Check out the jetpack in action.


By Washington Post Editors  |  March 16, 2010; 2:30 PM ET
Categories:  Commuting  
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Comments

This should be located on the Tech Blog, not the traffic and transit blog. Thanks for wasting space.

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | March 16, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I love that this is in "Get There." Makes me feel like if they cancel my bus route or reduce service, I can always just jet to work. This made me smile, thanks!

Posted by: balanceandunrest | March 16, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

As much as a high end motorcycle?! You can park four high end motorcycles in your garage for $90,000.

Posted by: motoindc | March 16, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm assuming the FAA's idiotic "restricted area" around DC (which goes to Baltimore) would prohibit its use around here. Otherwise, that would be my new mode of commuting.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | March 16, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

My concern would be aircraft flying from 100 to 200+ MPH where flying under 8000 feet is very common for small and larger commuter aircraft landing at medium and small airports. Cool idea though and would require training on sharing airspace and how to see and avoid aircraft. Watched the video seemed pretty noisy, would need good ear protection.

Posted by: o45278 | March 16, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

The noise sounds deafening. That would need to be addressed. I believe there is a new air traffic control system being worked out for these and other types devices.
see, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_flight_%28air_traffic_control%29

Posted by: johng1 | March 16, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

You can't fly ultralights around controlled airspace such as near Dulles, Reagan, or BWI. That pretty much kills the idea of using this for a "commute" around the capital.

Don't forget the rated speed is 63mph and the range is 32m, which gives it 30 min flight time. To be safe you'd only want to be in the air 20min. If you weigh a couple extra pounds, that range and speed drop substantially. There's gotta be a reason for a tank of only five gallons - it can't take the weight.

Posted by: antispy | March 16, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

You can't fly ultralights around controlled airspace such as near Dulles, Reagan, or BWI (or near the no-fly-zone near the Capitol). That pretty much kills the idea of using this for a "commute". And really, would you want unlicensed pilots buzzing around overhead all day?

The 63 mph and the 5 gallon tank are FAA restrictions to put this in the ultralight category. It could actually take more fuel if the pilot wasn't too heavy to give it extra range.

Posted by: antispy | March 16, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Sorry... first post was incorrect.

Posted by: antispy | March 16, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Wow! I can vision lots of people getting killed flying this contraption! I am placing my order for one tomorrow!

Posted by: pt1836metz | March 16, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Ive been waiting for this since the 60's.

I loved Commander Cody.

But its going to get spoilled by an accident involving a couple lovemaking with a Jet Pack. Then the authorities will have to set new stricter FAA rules.
Then Homeland Security and then the Moral Majority. Then the Health Department.

Posted by: joehal19l58 | March 16, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

The noise sounds deafening. That would need to be addressed. I believe there is a new air traffic control system being worked out for these and other types devices.
----------------------------------------

I think MIDAS make dual exhaust mufflers for these.

Posted by: pt1836metz | March 16, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Be interesting to see the reaction when the Secret Service shoots down the first person using one of these who flies into an area the Secret Service says you shall not enter.

Posted by: 1995hoo | March 16, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely no good can come from this here in the D.C. area...


...where do I sign up to buy one?

Posted by: pikamander007 | March 17, 2010 2:06 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure how much of an advantage it would be to commute by flying four feet off the ground all the way. You couldn't even clear SUVs and trucks on the roads, trail users wouldn't appreciate getting blasted by your exhaust, and you'd surely annoy people by flying through their yards. But I admit, it looks pretty cool.

Posted by: jeffq | March 17, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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