Matthew Theunissen

Matthew Theunissen is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Jetpack company gets clearance for manned flights

Christchurch-based Martin Aircraft Company has revealed details of its latest jetpack prototype, which it says has taken a "quantum leap" in performance over the previous model.

The company had made huge progress in recent months in increasing flight time of the aircraft, and had full Civil Aviation Authority certification for a manned flight, company chief executive Peter Coker said.

"Changing the position of the jetpack's ducts has resulted in a quantum leap in performance over the previous prototype, especially in terms of the aircraft's maneuverability," Mr Coker said.

The company's focus was now on further improving the jetpack's performance through engine refinements in order to ready it for commercial sale.

"The jetpack continues to attract interest from potential customers and investors worldwide," Mr Coker said.

"We are focussing initially on developing the jetpack for use as a first responder vehicle and heavy lift unmanned air vehicle."

The Martin Jetpack, which was named one of Time Magazine's top 50 inventions for 2010, was the result of years of work by Christchurch inventor Glenn Martin in his garage.

It is intended for commercial use in areas such as emergency response, airborne inspection, security, defence and agriculture.

- APNZ

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