Whizzing around with your own personal jetpack may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but New Zealand inventor Glenn Martin aims to have his “jetski for the skies” on the market within 18 months.
After 30 years of painstaking development, Mr. Martin's jetpack last month soared 1,500 metres above the South Island's Canterbury Plains as its creator watched anxiously from a helicopter hovering nearby.
The May 21 flight, featuring a remote-controlled jetpack carrying a dummy pilot, was a milestone in Mr. Martin's dream of building the world's first practical jetpack.
“The first people using these in cities will be medical personnel doing emergency response,” he said.
“Then you'll see people putting camera mounts on them for traffic reporting and it will eventually evolve into people just flying for fun or going to work.”
Inspired by childhood television shows such as Thunderbirds and Lost in Space, Mr. Martin set out in the early 1980s to create a jetpack suitable for everyday use.
He said the jetpack is still undergoing final testing and he hoped to make it publicly available in 2012 at a cost of about U.S. $100,000.