Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand jetpack’

The not-yet jetpack

Monday, April 11th, 2011

The Martin Jetpack has now reached 100 feet, under radio control and with a dummy aboard, in New Zealand. By now, the goal it should have reached is the one where depositers get their machine. When it was shown in 2008, it could rise only six feet. The pilot (the inventor’s son) said he didn’t want to go higher because in his words he didn’t want to crash, meaning the craft didn’t have the stability it needed. Now, a computer keeps forward speeds and climb speeds low to prevent a loss of stability, but it does climb to 100 feet. It’s always been a bit of an odd duck. It uses the term jetpack, yet it is a ducted fan driven by a gasoline engine built with advice from the outboard engine industry. It even sounds like one of those Mercury motorboat engines, although the inventor says he built it himself. Deliveries were to start in 2009 according to my 2008 story, but didn’t. I recall the “managed” press image this machine enjoyed when it was shown at Oshkosh. There were few straight answers for reporters who didn’t have the inside track. I wasn’t allowed to fly it because a CNN reporter was promised the scoop. I couldn’t see a preview flight because only the New Zealand press was invited. Now, I can wait.