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New Zealand inventor readies ‘jetski for the skies’

16 June 2011 No Comment

WHIZZING around with your own personal jetpack may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but New Zealand inventor Glenn Martin aims to have his ‘jetski for the skies’ on the market within 18 months.

After 30 years of painstaking development, Mr Martin’s jetpack last month soared 1,500m above the South Island’s Canterbury Plains as its creator watched anxiously from a helicopter hovering nearby.

The May 21 flight, featuring a remote-controlled jetpack carrying a dummy pilot, was a milestone in Mr Martin’s dream of building the world’s first practical jetpack.

‘The first people using these in cities will be medical personnel doing emergency response,’ he said.

‘Then you’ll see people putting camera mounts on them for traffic reporting and it will eventually evolve into people just flying for fun or going to work.’ Inspired by childhood television shows such as Thunderbirds and Lost in Space, Mr Martin set out in the early 1980s to create a jetpack suitable for everyday use by ordinary people with no specialist pilot training.

‘I’ve wanted one from the age of five and was disappointed they weren’t available and thought ‘if it’s not around, you’ve got to make it’,’ he told AFP at his factory in Christchurch industrial estate.

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