One Step Closer to Superhuman: Martin Jetpack Flies To 5,000 Feet

June 7, 2011

12:23 pm

Whether you’re a die-hard Superman fan or have watched in awe at Tony Stark’s gravity-defying moves, chances are you’ve dreamed of acquiring the ability to fly. We’ve all imagined what life would be like as a crime-fighting, secret-identity-possessing, costume-clad superhero kicking some serious ass on a daily basis. With the latest edition of the Martin Jetpack, soaring through the air at superhuman speeds is no longer a distant pipe dream.

In its most recent flight, the Martin Jetpack flew to a record-breaking altitude of 5,000 feet above ground level, only taking six minutes to reach apogee. According to Glenn Martin, the jetpack’s inventor, the company limited the jetpack to an 800 feet-per-minute climb during the test so the chase helicopters could keep up (that’s right, this thing can ascend faster than a helicopter).

The test flight also verified the jetpack’s ballistic parachute safety system. The humanoid dummy used in the flying seat was safely returned to earth after firing a rocket-propelled parachute, meaning that a flier could survive in the event of a mid-air engine failure.

Powered by a purpose-built gasoline engine driving twin ducted fans, the jetpack can climb over 1000 feet per minute and cruise at 62 miles per hour for a 30-minute flight. That’s 10 times faster than Martin’s previous model. If you’re trying to outrun the bad guys, this would be the way to do it.

The best part about the Martin Jetpack is that it doesn’t require a pilot’s license to fly in the U.S. (according to Martin, the jetpack is easy to fly and takes about 20 hours to learn to operate). The FAQs state that the jetpack can be used for recreational use as well as military and emergency response purposes.

The perfect crime-fighting vehicle comes at a hefty price tag, initially marked at $100,000 a pop. The company is currently accepting inquiries from commercial customers and hopes to have the first manned and unmanned (UAV) versions of the jetpack delivered within the next 18 months.

The jetpack’s high flight marks a milestone in the inventor’s dream of building the world’s first practical jetpack. With any luck, we’ll all soon be flying around to go to work and to hit up the club on Saturday nights. And if all goes according to plan, my childhood fantasies of being an “average citizen by day, superhero by night” will finally come true. Either way, I know what I’ll be asking Santa for this year.

Check out the Martin Jetpack in action below.

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Trisha Cruz is a Tech Cocktail intern with a passion for writing and design. She is a rising third year at the University of Virginia majoring in Media Studies and minoring in Studio Art. Follow her at: @heytrisha

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