Martin Aircraft Company of
New Zealand, makers of the Martin Jetpack that was demonstrated at EAA
AirVenture 2008, announced several new flight records for jetpacks and
unveiled a new video showing a quantum leap over what attendees saw in
Oshkosh last year.
“We have been asked about
our progress,” said Glenn Martin, founder. “The two most common
queries we receive are, ‘When are the guys running alongside going to
retire?’ and ‘Is the aircraft stable?’” During last year’s
Oshkosh demos, the jetpack required two people, one on either side, to
“spot” the jetpack pilot to ensure flight stability.
“We have now passed our 40
hours flight test milestone with this prototype, and this
video answers these questions,” Martin said. One of the jetpack’s
major advancements, he said, is electric stabilization, which was
implemented as a result of the many industry contacts made at Oshkosh last
year. “Touching base with leaders in the aviation industry was
brilliant,” he said, noting meetings with Boeing, NASA, Rockwell
Collins, and others. Rockwell’s Micro INS (advanced integrated inertial
sensor suite) technology essentially allowed Martin to incorporate
fly-by-wire technology with much better stability, Martin said.
Martin plans to return to
Oshkosh this year and hopes to have the latest version of the jetpack with
him. Martin will at the very least appear to show the aviation world the
progress that’s been made through presentations and videos, but nothing
is confirmed yet.
The company’s jetpack program is advancing well, he said. “We keep
breaking jetpack records and have flown the current machine over 1,800
Martin Aircraft has
established the following records:
- The world’s highest-time jetpack
pilot: (Bill Clemence with over 8 hours of flight time).
- The world’s heaviest jetpack pilot
(Glenn Martin, 240 lbs)
- The world’s youngest jetpack pilot
(William Martin, 11)
“The rocket belt replicas fly for around
30 seconds maximum,” Martin added. “Almost every week we set a new
endurance record measured in minutes, not seconds.”