Jetpack maker the Martin Aircraft Company is talking up the potential for large-scale Chinese sales following a successful public flight demonstration in China on Sunday.
Chief executive Peter Coker said the firm received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the 2400-strong crowd who viewed the flight above the OCT Waterpark, in the city of Shenzhen.
"The Chinese public, and the VIPs and guests, were clearly awe-inspired," Coker said, adding that the event received widespread media coverage in China.
He said the jetpack - flown by the company's director of flight operations, Mike Read, a former Australian Air Force pilot - performed to expectations and the demonstration went according to plan.
"We flew both the manned and unmanned configurations so we managed to demonstrate the full capabilities of the aircraft."
The company said China was one of the world's fastest-growing aviation markets. Previously off-limit airspace was being opened up for civilian operations, creating strong demand for private aviation.
Martin Aircraft, which listed on the Australian Stock Exchange this year, is targeting the second half of next year for the first commercial deliveries of its First Responder jetpack, designed for uses including search and rescue.
The company announced yesterday that KuangChi Martin Jetpack - a joint venture between the New Zealand firm and its Shenzhen-based major shareholder, KuangChi Science - had signed three agreements for the delivery of 100 manned jetpacks and 20 simulators in China.
Coker said he could not disclose the names of the companies that signed the agreements.
Through a concept named "Ironman Club" each firm would take a certain number of aircraft and offer them for applications including first response, commercial and personal use in China, he said.
"Rather than individuals buying aircraft, we actually have companies that are leading the front end to deliver the capability," Coker said.
The agreements are subject to the completion of procurement contracts by June 30 next year, which will include the final purchase prices. The anticipated prices for the jetpacks are around US$150,000 for the personal version and US$250,000 for the First Responder version.
Last month, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with Dubai Civil Defence for the intended future delivery of manned and unmanned jetpacks, simulators, spare parts, support services and pilot and engineer training for civil defence and fire service personnel.
It covers an initial tranche of up to 20 jetpacks and two simulators.
Martin Aircraft shares, which listed at A40c in February, closed down A10.5c at A86.5c last night.
• Can fly for 30 minutes.
• Speeds up to 74km/h.
• Altitude as high as 1000m.
• Can be flown by a pilot or remote control.
• Potential uses include search and rescue, military, recreational and commercial applications.