August 13 - New Zealand jetpack developer gets Civil Aviation approval for manned test flights of their 'motorbike in the sky.' Ciara Sutton reports
It can climb to above a kilometre at speeds of around 70mph, and now the jetpack is a step closer to becoming a travel reality. A New Zealand company developing a commercially-available jetpack says its long-held ambition has had a boost as its latest prototype is given approval by the country's Civil Aviation Authority for manned test flights. For inventor Glenn Martin, it's been a 30-year labour of love. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JETPACK INVENTOR GLENN MARTIN, SAYING: "This is prototype 9. All the previous prototypes I just basically chopped up with an axe and took to the tip...haha." The Martin Aircraft Company, based in Christchurch, says the permit was granted two months ago and will now conduct manned-flight testing of prototype 12 of the Martin Jetpack. It aims to sell jetpacks to emergency and defence users while it continues to develop a lighter recreational version. Peter Coker is CEO. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CEO OF THE MARTIN AIRCRAFT COMPANY PETER COKER, SAYING: "We have over 10,000 people who have actually enquired as to where they might be able to purchase these in the future." With a price tag of around $150,000, the company says it expects to have its first commercial device on sale next year.