What started as a fantasy about flying back to his student flat after a long night at the local pub has turned into a reality worth an estimated $100 million for a former Dunedin man.
Glenn Martin came up with the Martin Jetpack concept with friends while studying at the University of Otago and, after nearly two decades of secret tinkering in his garage, he founded the Martin Aircraft Co Ltd in 1998.
That company was launched on the Australian Securities Exchange this week, and shares jumped 50 per cent on their debut after the company raised $A27 million ($NZ28.2 million) to fund the commercialisation of his jetpack.
Mr Martin told the Sydney Morning Herald he was ''delighted'' with the result that valued shares belonging to a handful of family and friends, who were early backers, at between 10 and 20 times their original investment.
The $A27 million in funds raised via the initial public offering (IPO) will be used to help make the jetpack a commercial venture in 2016, and cover ongoing costs in the interim.
The Christchurch-based company is now valued at more than $100 million, and it is expected to make its first jetpack delivery in mid-2016.
Mr Martin said he kept quiet for 27 years while he worked behind the scenes to make his jetpack dream a reality.
Now, his friends complain they can't shut him up about it.
At the IPO launch this week, a Martin Aircraft spokesman said it had a letter of intent from the United States Department of Homeland Security for the provision of Jetpacks, and said it was negotiating another letter of intent with an undisclosed business which is in the ''renewable crude oil production'' sector.
The company was initially established with the specific goal of researching and developing a jetpack that could fly 100 times longer than the Bell Rocket Belt (its nearest competitor) which could fly for 26 seconds.
By 2005, the goal was achieved with Prototype 9, laying the foundations for a viable pre-production prototype.
The Martin Jetpack was unveiled to the public in July 2008, at the Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture, in Wisconsin, United States.
The Martin Jetpack runs on a V4 150kW petrol engine that drives two ducted fans, allowing it to fly for 30 minutes, with a 30km range, at speeds of up to 74kmh.
Basic versions are priced at more than $NZ266,000 each.
Martin Aircraft Co managing director and chief executive Peter Coker said the jetpack would be aimed initially at the first responder market, as an important tactical asset for police, the Fire Service, defence, and natural disaster recovery and emergency response organisations.
First deliveries will be in the second half of 2016.
However, the company also plans to target governments as potential customers for use in surveillance and remote operations and recreation providers, for tourism and flight school uses.
The company also plans to develop the Martin Skyhook - a robotic jetpack for use in conflict, and search and rescue operations - and an unmanned aircraft to target the $NZ130 billion unmanned aerial vehicle market.
Mr Coker said the ''inspirational and versatile'' aircraft solved problems that others could not, with its ability to land on rooftops covered with aerials and wires, fly into tightly confined areas, or provide an economic and practical alternative to traditional helicopters.
''Commercial Jetpacks are no longer the domain of science fiction. The dream of Glenn Martin to create a commercial jetpack is about to be realised,'' Mr Coker said.