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Wed, Sep 23, 2009

Aero-TV: Continuing the Buzz - Glenn Martin Updates the Jetpack

A Year After Its AirVenture Premiere, Martin Details Jetpack Progress

Last year, at EAA AirVenture 2008, over 5,000 attendees witnessed the first public flight demonstration of the Martin Jetpack. 

Since then, the Martin Aircraft Company has made immense strides to improve the basic design and ease of operation of the prototype; most notably, the company has converted to a fly-by wire system allowing novice jetpack pilots to safely solo the aircraft within an hour of training.  Over the last year, nearly 5,000 test flights have been performed without injury.

The dual-fan technology compares to that of jet skis and jet boats, with a coherent stream of air exiting the fanjets allowing a pilot to be strapped in upright. 

Glenn Martin first developed the Martin Jetpack concept in 1981 and after thirty years of research, received verification on the design by the University of Canterbury’s Mechanical Engineering Department.  Produced to meet the requirements of the FAA Part 103 regulations, the jetpack is classified as an “ultralight” in the United States.

Though its ultralight classification does not require a license to fly, the Martin Aircraft Company requires all owners to pass the company’s pilot program before receipt of their aircraft.  Modeled after standard helicopter training, the program is held at the Martin Aircraft Company in Christchurch, New Zealand. 

Recently, the company announced it was holding an eBay auction for the opportunity to be an official jetpack test pilot.  Running until Thursday, September, 24th, the auction winner will become the first person outside the development team to fly the Martin Jetpack.  Currently, at the time of this publication, the highest bid received is $30,000 with only a day to go until the auction closes.



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