The jetpacks have finally arrived. Decades after science fiction writers first popularized the idea of strapping a rocket to your back and piloting yourself through the air, a New Zealand aircraft company has announced it will actually start selling commercial jetpacks for a price of $150,000. But consumers will need to wait until 2016.
Built by the Martin Aircraft Company, the jetpack (known as the Martin Jetpack) would be the first aircraft of its kind to go on sale to the public. Rather than being powered by rockets, though, the jetpack lifts off and navigates with help from large fans, which are easier to control. It's capable of carrying a 260 pound person 1,000 meters into the air before they deploy a parachute, company sources told Reuters.
Even with such a high cost, Martin suggested jetpacks will be more than a toy for millionaires. They say the aircraft can safely land on wire-laden rooftops and navigate tight areas, two advantages over a helicopter.
“I think the first responders will see that as a massive improvement to their capability,” Peter Coker, chief executive of Martin, told Reuters. “Naturally for the ambulance service getting to a point of importance of rescuing people in the shortest possible time [is crucial].”
The aircraft was first put on display at the Paris Air Show last week. The first jetpacks, which the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration classifies as an experimental aircraft, are scheduled for delivery during the second half of 2016.