Kiwi 'motorcycle in the sky' is revving up to jet away

The NZ jetpack was developed by Christchurch inventor Glenn Martin. Photo / Martin Aircraft Company Limited
The NZ jetpack was developed by Christchurch inventor Glenn Martin. Photo / Martin Aircraft Company Limited

A New Zealand company is getting ready to send the first of its world-leading jetpacks out the door.

Christchurch-based Martin Aircraft Company expects the first run of its P12 jetpacks - labelled a "motorcycle in the sky" - to be ready by around the middle of next year.

A prototype is capable of a 30-minute flight traversing 30km, buyers from around the world are already queuing up and the invention has recently featured in the Wall Street Journal and Telegraph.

"We are still in testing mode, and are waiting for the upgraded engine to be fitted," said Peter Coker, chief executive of the company.

The jetpack is designed for an altitude of 1.5km, a cruise speed around 56km/h and a top speed of 74km/h.

Mr Coker said several Governments had expressed interest in the aircraft.

A commercial model would cost around US$150,000 ($179,000), with a military or advanced model costing up to US$250,000.

Personal jetpacks will not be ready until at least late 2015.

"Our first jetpacks are really targeted to what we call first-responders, which is really for things like security, fire services, border control, search and rescue and so forth," Mr Coker said.

The majority of interest has so far been from overseas. New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority has given approval for manned test flights, and classed the aircraft as a microlight.

If that classification sticks, it will mean potential pilots will need a licence to fly it.

The jetpack was one of Time magazine's top 50 inventions for 2010.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a3 at 31 Aug 2014 16:04:48 Processing Time: 845ms