OK, next best thing to a flyin’ car!

March 14, 2010

The Martin Jetpack

Finally, somebody invented a practical jetpack. It’s not a rocket pack, but uses a proprietary jet engine design. It’s inherently stable by design, so if you go “hands off” it goes into a hover. Technically it’s a “gas turbine-powered ducted fan,” but runs on regular gasoline. It has a range of 31 miles at 60+ miles per hour – a flight time of a half hour, instead of the fifteen to thirty seconds of the rocket packs that run on catalyzed superheated steam, like the 1960s Bell Rocket Belt.

Bell also built a prototype jet engine-powered belt, shown here with the “classic” rocket belt:

(By the way, the definitive site on the history of this stuff is here.)

So the Martin version seems highly manueverable:

It will be interesting how it works outdoors. While it’s obviously larger than the old rocket packs  – and apparently not something you’re going to walk around with – it will still have some applications besides sport flying. The folks in New Zealand building it are comparing it more to an untralight aircraft than anything else. Smart.


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