Mobile devices, Planets and the Human Condition

JET-PACK! Kiwi - Inventor launches personal levitation device.

, posted: 31-Jul-2008 14:00

(With Videos, Pictures and additional info links) Finally! it has happened, a functional "Jet-pack" that could actually be practical in the real - world! Ok, so its not actually a "jet" pack so to speak, some pundits have described it as a "mini-copter" But the short story is: Glenn Martin, the Kiwi inventor has created a personal Jet-pack - which as he says is not actually a jet "If you're very pedantic... this thing flies on a jet of air" and when he says it flies, he means it. it is a twin rotor powered by a 200-horsepower engine, the fuel? regular pump-petrol if the reports are to be believed. Just take a look at the thing. it is DAMN cool.
it weighs in at around 115kg, so its not really portable unless your flying, and its not the lightest "Mini-copter" there are mini copters out there which weigh much less, however the pack created by Mr. Martin has a much smaller footprint than 12 foot-diameter rotors of the other minicopters! There are a lot of people who are saying this is "just-another-jetpack-story" and "nothing to see here, move along" because of the fact there are already other mini-copters in the market that do what Mr. Martin's 'copter can do. and this is kind of the case, there is the GEN H-4 personal helicopter, it weighs 70kg can carry up to 220kg total has a 40hp 2-stroke engine and costs $35,000 USD. genh-4 this website has information (relatively overview) about building your own. The issue I have with the GEN H-4 Personal helicopter is as follows, first you have the 2 sets of large counter rotating blades, that need to be trimmed correctly to prevent torque spin. (I have lots of indoor R/C helicopters that use counter rotating blades so I consider myself an expert (lols) on the problem with counter rotating blades). The Martin-Jetpack does not. it has two 1.7ft diameter cabon/kevlar composite turbines, You don't need a pilots licence to fly one! (at least you don't in the USA under FAA Part 103, Ultralight regulations- however the Martin jetpack site states that "The Martin Jetpack is a unique aircraft and all owners are required to pass the Martin Aircraft Company approved traing program before receipt of their Aircraft" Ok, so you can't actually purchase one via a shopping cart on their website yet, however those interested should contact Martin jetpack USA (contact and links at the end of this article) so there are many articles out on the web, many of which are down-playing the coolness factor of this product, (along with many which are just hyping it up with its a jetpack! jetpacks are cool! especially in the new zealand media where its "its a jetpack! made by a kiwi!! jetpacks made by kiwis are cool!) but the main gist of why many of the articles are downplaying this invention/device is the fact its using so much _PROVEN_ technology, but I don't think thats a negative thing at all, I think the fact it is using proven technologies is a positive and gives it a much better chance of getting into the mainstream! The cost? around the web I have seen a huge range of figures, which I would guess means that no firm cost has been annouced, so several news agencies have just decided to go for the nice round figure of "around 100,000 dollars" what is interesting is on the website they say in the FAQ:     How Much will it cost:     Martin Aircraft has built several prototypes so we have a good idea how much they cost to manufacture. Depending on production volume,  the initial cost will be about the same as a high-end motorcycle or car. As volume increases this will drop to be similar to a mid-range motorcycle or car. so in otherwords "We can build it for a pretty good price, say a few 10's of thousands, but our V.C. investors will look to see how much they can charge for it and then charge double if possible until they get their money back" But thats ok with me, lets face it, anything new and exciting starts off as the reserve of the rich and priviledged, and if it truly "takes off" (sorry couldn't help myself) over time becomes more affordable, and other companies start building competitors and eventually becomes more affordable in the mainstream, I don't think however this will be in the mainstream for everyone any time soon, however I could see it becoming part of the mainstream in regards to hobby type vehicles, such as a Jetski (or skidoo ) on the water, where it doesn't have a hugely practical purpose, but for hobbyists and just outright sheer delight and fun there will be a huge market. I'll be following this with great interest (and also doing more investigation into building my own personal helicopter now that I've unconvered some interesting stuff from that perspective!!) and to cap it off, heres a video of the martin jetpack in flight! more information: here

More information

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Comment by sleemanj, on 31-Jul-2008 16:17

Comment by Zippity, on 31-Jul-2008 19:33

I don't believe we will ever see this machine fly free of it's handlers :(

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I'm a professional Geek, and also in my own time, I am likely to write about all manner of things on this blog.
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