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First commercial jetpack to go on sale this year

26-Feb-2010 • Bond Style

It is the perfect way for city high-fliers to miss the morning rush hour. A company is set to produce the first commercial JETPACKS - and one could be yours for just £50,000 reports the Daily Mail (click to see photos and video).

The traffic jam-beating packs will be manufactured after a multi-million pound deal was signed with an international aircraft company this week.

Martin Aircraft Company, in Christchurch, New Zealand, aims to make 500 packs a year allowing first-person propulsion through the skies for commuters.

The 200 horsepower dual-propeller packs can travel at 60mph for up to 30miles on a full tank of fuel. They have been reached heights of 7,800ft in tests.

At 250lbs when empty, the jet pack is not heavy enough to require a pilot's licence, although users will take part in a Martin Jetpack training programme.

However, the gadget is not environmentally friendly burning 10 gallons of fuel per hour - five times as much as the average car.

The 5ft by 5.5ft device is the brainchild of Kiwi inventor Glenn Martin who unveiled his machine for the first time in July last year.

While jetpacks are traditionally powered by jets of escaping gases, the new device uses a gas engine with two ducted fans to provide lift.

Pitch and roll are controlled by one hand, yaw and the throttle by the other.

Martin Aircraft Company chief executive Richard Lauder said the pack could be perfect for the emergency services, private users and even the military.

Mr Lauder said: 'This could be life-saving stuff. For us this is an excellent commercial step.'

The device has safety features to combat the inherent dangers of flying through the air. It has both an internal roll cage to protect the pilot from side impact and a a ballistic parachute system that works at low altitudes.

Jetpacks first emerged in science fiction in the 1920s and were tested by the U.S military by the 1960s, but have never 'taken-off' commercially.

Astronauts on the International Space Station wear rocket packs during space walks called a 'Safer.' This can be used in emergencies should they become detached from the station.

Thanks to '=bg=' for the alert'

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