What has been repeatedly forecasted in the media as a Sci-Fi technology that is just about to become a reality of personal air transport is finally likely to achieve lift-off.
Dr Liu Ruopeng became known worldwide as a man who proposed the design for an “invisible cloak” in an article published in the journal Science back in 2009. Now he has another obsession. He wants to allow humans to fly without ever getting on a plane. That’s what earned him a nickname “Elon Musk of China”.
An article published in South China Morning Post on April, 7 tells a story about this extraordinary man and his ambition to finally offer the world long-awaited commercial jetpacks. His aerospace company, Kuang-Chi Science, recently acquired 52 per cent stake of Martin Aircraft, firm that initially developed the Martin Jetpack, an experimental wearable flying apparatus, capable of lifting an average person up to 5, 000 feet in the air.
The Martin P 12 Jetpack is equipped with a V4 200 horsepower gasoline engine with two ducted fans, capable of propelling you through the air at speeds up to 60 mph for over 30 minutes.
The story began in 1981, when Glenn Martin, a university student from New Zealand, started to develop his first prototype of a simple and dependable jetpack in his Christchurch garage. It took him more than 30 years to bring his vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) device on the level of reliability that granted him approval from New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for a series of manned flights in 2013.
In February 2015, Martin Aircraft Technology began trading on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). After subsequent IPO in Hong Kong, the company’s valuation jumped to $3 billion. Along with Kuang-Chi Science’s funds, Martin Aircraft will be able to deliver the first commercial Jetpack products in 2017. The retail price for a basic version is set to $200, 000.
In Kuang-Chi Science and Martin Aircraft they expect to attract interest of wealthy individuals and different community services, such as Police, Firefighters, and Emergency management organizations. Additionally, they will be offering unmanned version of their flying machine, known as Martin Skyhook, a model of a heavy lift VTOL UAV, capable of carrying payloads of up to 265 lbs.
The air space above your home could soon become overcrowded: commercial and hobby drones, flying robots, flying people…, and who knows what else.