Glenn Martin has been trying to build a flying jetpack since 1981. In 2004 he formed the Martin Jetpack company to take his garage tinkering toward a marketable product. Just recently (the exact date isn’t clear) the company took a big step forward when New Zealand’s aviation authorities approved manned test-flights of the prototype.
The latest version of the Jetpack is the P12 (prototype 12). You’ll notice that this version has moved the fan ducts from the very top of the machine to somewhere near the middle. According to the company this makes it far more maneuverable. Here’s video of a recent unmanned test-flight of the jetpack:
The first commercial version of the Martin Jetpack will not be available for sale to the general public as originally envisioned. Instead the company is focusing on a version for defense and search & rescue teams. So the first people to get these are likely to be members of the military or firemen.
The recreational version will come along later at a somewhat cheaper price point. The website says they are targeting a price of $100,000 which means you’ll probably see these at theme parks or sporting events first rather than in your neighbor’s garage. Still, there are always recreational tourism operators which will likely buy these and charge by the minute to use them. I’m ready to give it a try.