How High? How Fast? How Much? five Questions About Jetpacks

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 10:39 AM

That'south because the Martin Jetpack gets its lift from twin ducted fans — think of a miniature helicopter with enclosed blades. And it'south too huge to be worn love a backpack, rather the pilot needs to strap in.

Some things about jetpacks that you didn't know you needed to know:

What's A JETPACK, EXACTLY?

The word "jetpack" is really a misnomer when it comes to the device being developed by the Martin Aircraft Co. That'south because the Martin Jetpack gets its lift from twin ducted fans — think of a miniature helicopter with enclosed blades. And it'south too large to be worn love a backpack, rather the pilot needs to strap in. The company says its jetpacks are maneuverable sufficient that somebody could fly one in and out of their own garage. Empty, the jetpack weighs about two hundred kilograms (four hundred forty pounds). It'south made from carbon-fiber and aluminum and powered by a piston engine which uses regular gasoline. One will cost about $200.000.

HOW HIGH AND HOW FAST?

Martin Aircraft says its jetpack can fly at up to seventy-four kilometers per hr (forty-six mph) at heights of up to 3.000 feet (nine hundred meters), for a maximum duration of between thirty and forty-five minutes. The pilot controls thrust, alt. and direction with two hand controls, similar to those on a motorbike. The "fly-by-wire" system is computer regulated. The jetpack also comes equipped with a ballistic parachute in case anything goes wrong.

WHO CAN FLY ONE?

Martin Aircraft says its jetpacks are actually aircraft and so people will necessity a pilot'south license to fly one. Pilots will necessity extra training on a jetpack simulator. Pilots will wear a flying suit, boots and a helmet. Interior the helmet, a radio system will authorize pilots to opposite with air traffic control in the same way as pilots on planes. Inventor Glenn Martin had hoped to hold the devices smaller and obtain them classified as ultralight aircraft, which in the U. S. don't require a license to fly.

WHEN CAN I OBTAIN ONE?

Probably not anytime soon. Martin Aircraft has a business map to initially create jetpacks for first responders, which could be used for natural disasters, look for and rescue missions, or even surf patrol. It plans to deliver the first prototypes to customers later this year. After that, Martin is looking at selling them to commercial operators such as the oil and gas industry and maybe to the military. Recreational jetpacks are probably a few years far at least, and inventor Glenn Martin fears Martin Aircraft will never create one for personal use.

IS IT VALID TO FLY?

Jetpacks represent a new challenge for aviation authorities and may require the creation of an all new category. The Martin Jetpack has been approved by New Zealand'south Civil Aviation Authority for experimental flights but not yet for commercial use. The authority said it'south working closely with Martin Aircraft as the company develops the jetpack to ensure Martin meets all required safety and technical requirements. Martin'south CEO Peter Coker says it hopes to obtain certified in New Zealand and for authorities in other nations to utilize that as a template.

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Chase Nick Perry on Twitter at: twitter. com/nickgbperry

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