When we first covered the Martin Jetpack back in March, 2010, the creators were hoping to get it on the backs of buyers sometime in 2011. While 2011 has come and gone, the New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft Company is continuing test flights and is now seeking investors to help bring the manned Jetpack to market in mid 2013.
Last year, Martin Aircraft entered an intensive flight period that saw an unmanned version reach an altitude of 5,000 feet at a climb rate (which was limited to allow the chase helicopter to keep up) of 800 ft/min (4 m/s) and also involved the first test of its ballistic parachute system.
Additional remote control test flights expanded the flight envelope and the company now reports that the unmanned version is now regularly being flown at speeds of 50 km/h (31 mph) in winds of 15 km/h (9 mph). A manned flight demonstration that is likely to take place in Auckland has also been planned for later this year.
To get the Jetpack to market, Martin Aircraft is seeking 100 investors willing to put in NZ$24,000 (approx. US$20,000) each. The company hopes this will allow it to release a manned Jetpack aimed at search and rescue, law enforcement and other Government services by mid 2013, with the personal version launching about a year later. The company also plans an IPO later this year or early next year.
To get an idea of what you’d be investing in, take a look at one of the remote control flight tests carried out late last year in the video below.