What could possibly go wrong?

jet_packA New Zealand company is to begin production of a commercial jet pack which will sell for about 50,000 (about US$75 000). People will be able fly more than a mile high at speeds of up to 60mph - without even a pilot's licence, reports the Daily Telegraph. Martin Aircraft Company, in Christchurch, aims to make 500 jet packs a year.

The 200 horsepower dual-propeller packs are the brainchild of inventor Glenn Martin who unveiled his machine last year. It is capable of travelling 30 miles in 30 minutes on a full tank of fuel. Because it weighs less than 115kg, the jet pack does not require a pilot’s licence. And recent tests have seen the newest model reach heights of up to 2,400 metres and top speeds of 60mph.

But only now has sufficient investment been found for the company to begin production of the craft, which will also begin at an undisclosed site outside New Zealand. Martin Aircraft Company chief executive Richard Lauder said the pack could be perfect for the emergency services, private users and even the military. He said: “This could be life-saving stuff. For us this is an excellent commercial step.” Mr Lauder would not identify the partner other than to say it was an international aircraft company.

According to Wikipedia jet pack, rocket belt or rocket pack refers to various types of device, usually worn on the back, that use jets of escaping gases (or in some cases liquid water) to allow a single user to fly. The concept of these devices emerged from science fiction in the 1920s and was popularised in the 1960s as the technology became a reality.

But despite decades of advancement in the technology, the challenges of the earths atmosphere, earths gravity and the human body (which is not well suited for this type of flight) remain obstacles to the potential use of jet packs in the military and as a means of personal transport.

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