Jetpack with 20 mile range is targeting mid-2014 commercial sales to fire and rescue with individual sales to follow

Martin Jetpack has redesigned their jetpack. The first commercial sales, now expected in mid-2014, will be for first responder applications, such as rescue, fire, and police missions. According to the company, sales to individuals will follow shortly after the initial models are vetted in field use.

Manned test flights will take place again later in the year as part of the full test schedule. Previous prototypes have flown manned so this is not a big step for us although the performance of P12 is considerably greater than any other prototype and it will be the basis for our pre-production model.

We have received authorisation from the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority for us to conduct manned flight tests on P12 with the jetpack currently being classified as a Class 1 microlight aircraft.

Changing the position of the ducts has vastly improved the jetpack’s performance, especially its manoeuvrability. Also, the new design requires less maintenance.

As part of our testing programme we are making some modifications to the jetpack’s V4 engine. We are currently developing the engine to extend the Time Between Overhaul (TBO). This development work is focusing on the bottom end of the engine and improving the crankshaft design, including going to a single piece crank. There are also other areas where we are looking to make small improvements, which will make the engine more durable and decrease the maintenance requirements. We hope to have the engine fitted to P12 by the end of the year.

While the Martin Jetpack will qualify as a microlight aircraft in much of the world, this is not the case in the US, as it is too heavy. It will be a light sport plane, and as such a Sport Pilot’s license will be needed to fly the Jetpack. Although not required by law, Martin also offers a training course that would be a very good idea to include in one’s preparations for the first Jetpack flight.

While Martin hopes eventually to sell its Jetpack for $100,000 (plus shipping, duties, and taxes) in the US, the initial price is expected to be more in the $150-200K range.

Martin’s present focus is to further refine and improve the jetpack’s performance before releasing it for commercial sales. In particular, Martin is altering the engine design to extend the time between required overhaul from the present 200 hours. Planned modifications include improving the crankshaft design by going to a single piece crank.

Current performance numbers include a maximum airspeed of 74 km/h (46 mph) with normal cruise speed a more sedate 56 km/h (35 mph). A full tank of premium gas (with added oil) will keep the lucky pilot aloft for 30 minutes, during which time the Jetpack can travel about 30 km (20 mi). At its rated takeoff weight of 330 kg (725 lb), the ducted fans can supply an excess 50 kg of thrust, resulting in snappy changes in altitude.

The Jetpack’s ceiling is 3000 ft (900 m), and it is recommended for operation above 500 ft (150 m) to give the safety systems (including a rocket-deployed ballistic parachute) plenty of time to function.

SOURCES – Martin Jetpack, Gizmag

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