World's first practical jetpack commercially available for $75,000

Published 11 March 2010

Kiwi company Martin Aircraft is offering the world’s first commercial jetpacks; the machine is expected to revolutionize the military and be taken up by emergency services; the jetpack travels for about 30 minutes on a five-gallon tank of premium gasoline, has top speeds of 60 mph, and reaches heights of 2,400 meters (about 1.5 miles)

Martin jetpack demonstration // Source:

This may be a case of one giant leap for one man, if only one small step for mankind. Christchurch, New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft Company plans to start selling commercial jetpacks to anyone with an interest and $75,000. The machine is expected to revolutionize the military and be taken up by emergency services around the world.

The Telegraph reports that Martin has partnered with an unnamed international aircraft company, resulting in enough capital to produce 500 jetpacks per year. The partnership has brought the jetpacks closer to reality compared with a year ago, when Martin’s goal was to produce ten units at $100,000 each.

The 200-horsepower, dual-propeller jetpacks seem to offer many features we would look for in a personal flying machine. The jetpack can travel for about 30 minutes on a five-gallon tank of premium gasoline (the same used by cars). Tests have shown that the jetpack can reach top speeds of 60 mph, giving it a range of 30 miles per tank. The newest model can also reach heights of 2,400 meters (about 1.5 miles).

The jetpacks weigh less than 254 pounds, so they do not require a pilot’s license to fly. Martin says, however, that buyers will be required to go through training before taking to the skies. The jetpack is also equipped with a low-altitude emergency parachute.

The jetpack, which can lift up to 120 kilograms (265 pounds), has two propellers that generate lift. The air in the propellers moves at about 300 km per hour, creating an upward thrust. The pilot uses both hands to fly, one on the throttle and one for steering. A flight display in front reveals information such as what the engines are doing and where it’s going. If the pilot lets go of the controls, the jetpack hovers in one spot. This self-righting mechanism occurs since the center of mass is below the jetpack’s center of pressure, which is located at the bottom of the ducts (near the pilot’s shoulders).

The jectpack will give environmentalists a headache. The five-foot-by-five-foot-five-inch device burns ten gallons of fuel per hour — five times as much as the average car.

The Telegraph notes that the company is on the cusp of commercialization, but the project itself has been almost thirty years in the making. Glenn Martin began working on a concept in 1981, which was later verified by the University of Canterbury’s Mechanical Engineering Department. In 2005 the ninth prototype achieved sustained flight times, laying the foundation for pre-production development.

Later this year, Martin plans to begin production of the jetpacks at an undisclosed location outside of New Zealand. The company plans to market the jetpacks to emergency services, the military, and private users. As volume increases, according to its website, the cost may decrease to that of a “mid-range motorcycle or car.”

Glenn Martin said:

When I was a kid I dreamed of flying around in a jetpack, just like most five-year-old kids do. I put that to one side as I was growing up, as you do. Then in 1981, when I was 21 and at university, a conversation came up about why we are not flying around in jetpacks.


So I used the university system to look at it and discovered the old Bell Rocket Belt that we have all seen used in movies and at the opening of the Olympic games. But it only flew for 26 seconds and not only that, you had to weigh less than 70kgs (11st). I weigh nearly 100kgs (16st) so that was never going to work for me.

So in my spare time at university I researched it and to cut a long story short, came up with mathematical formulas and a design of a machine that could fly for about half an hour and lift a decent sized person.

Now twenty-nine years later, he has come up with an easy to fly jetpack that can lift 120 kgs (19st).


Martin said: “The most common question we’ve had is When can I have a go? And now someone with reasonable co-ordination can come in and within 40 minutes of training, be up in the air and stable.”

Martin Aircraft Company chief executive Richard Lauder said the pack could be perfect for the emergency services, private users, and even the military. “This could be life-saving stuff,” he said.