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It’s been a long time coming, but finally the world’s first commercial jet pack has gone into production and on sale. Made by the Martin Aircraft Company in New Zealand it’ll travel at 60mph for up to 30 miles on a full tank.
This is something of an advance on James Bond jet pack in 1965’s Thunderball. The Bell Rocket Belt used by Sean Connery could only fly for just over 20 seconds. Attempts to improve the device in the 1990s still didn’t take it past the 30 second mark.
The Martin Aircraft Jetpack is a more practical proposition, costing £42,000 or about the same as a three-litre Jaguar XF saloon car. The Jetpack doesn’t have quite the same fuel economy though, managing the equivalent of around six miles per gallon.
But what is perhaps the most surprising news is Jetpack flyers won’t need a pilot’s licence. That’s because aviation law is based on an aircraft’s minimum weight. Without fuel the jet pack weighs only a little more than an average Caledonian Mercury journalist, around 18 stone or 113 kilos. Despite the lack of legal restrictions, Martin Aircraft does insist buyers undertake a 40 minute training session.
With the device having reached heights of 7,800 feet (2,400 meters) in test flights a little practice does seem a good idea. The two propellers push out 200 horse power, so it’s a powerful beast.
More than 500 of the packs will be made each year and there’s already a waiting list of people who’ve put down a ten per cent deposit. There’s also expected to be a substantial demand from the world’s emergency and military services.
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