PhysOrg reports that New Zealand company Martin Aircraft has been cleared to perform human flight testing on a personalized jetpack called P12.

The jetpack is the brainchild of inventor Glenn Martin, who began working on it in his Christchurch garage more than 30 years ago. Inspired by childhood television shows such as “Thunderbirds” and “Lost in Space”, Martin set out in the early 1980s to create a jetpack suitable for everyday use by ordinary people with no specialist pilot training. 

His jetpack consists of a pair of cylinders containing propulsion fans attached to a free-standing carbon-fibre frame. The pilot backs into the frame, straps himself in and controls the wingless jetpack with two joysticks.

According to the flight permit, the jetpowered pilot is only permitted to fly over uninhabited land and may not exceed 6 meters above ground. Martin Aircraft expects to put the unit on sale in 2015 for a cost of $150,000-$200,000, about the same cost as a Virgin Galactic suborbital jaunt. So you just may find yourself having to decide whether you prefer to own your own jetpack or a to finally see Earth’s curvature for yourself…Now that’s a tough decision.

Read more here.

Which would you choose: jetpack or a suborbital hop? Tell us in the comments!


About the author

Merryl Azriel

Merryl Azriel

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Having wandered into professional writing and editing after a decade in engineering, science, and management, Merryl now enjoys reintegrating the dichotomy by bringing space technology and policy within reach of an interested public. After three years as Space Safety Magazine’s Managing Editor, Merryl semi-retired to Visiting Contributor and manager of the campaign to bring the International Space Station collaboration to the attention of the Nobel Peace Prize committee. She keeps her pencil sharp as Proposal Manager for U.S. government contractor CSRA.

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