If scoring a seat onboard an airship doesn't seem to be in your immediate future, why not consider a jetpack? We've seen jetpack stunts and world record attempts before, but the notion of actually buying one for private, sky-legal use probably seemed like science fiction. But hold your skepticism: the first commercial jetpack is slated to go on sale as soon as next year.
The Martin Jetpack is scheduled to go on sale in 2012, and the current price tag is set at a lofty $100,000. Amazingly, it's actually legal: It will meet the FAA's strict standards for ultralight aircraft flight. By design, the jetsetter along for the ride won't be able to exceed 63 miles per hour, with a flight time limited to 30 minutes.
Inventor Glenn Martin crafted the personal propulsion pack, which he has test-flown over a thousand times — but only by hovering a few feet above the ground. This May in New Zealand, Martin (monitored by a fire rescue squad) sent the jetpack 3,500 feet into the air for nine minutes and 43 seconds. That test flight wasn't manned — a test dummy was along for the ride — but it was enough to demonstrate that Martin's jetpack could stay aloft safely for a prolonged period of time.
The jetpack's most interesting feature is its support for a flight control unit — the same kind that steer the military's Predator drones and many other UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). With the remote control, the jetpack's utility reaches far beyond the scope of commercial use: military missions and search-and-rescue operations by medical teams could use the pack to extract a person in harm's way.
The control can also be used to ease new pilots (who will undergo a requires two week training) into the jetpack experience by smoothing out the flight path remotely while still allowing them input — good news, since we'll be saving up to buy one come 2012. If you have the cash at hand, put your name on the pre-order list so you can secure your jet-propelled spot in the sky!
[Image credit: martinjetpack]
This article originally appeared on Tecca
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