Personal Jetpacks Approved for Manned Testflights

Anyone who has seen The Jetson’s has dreamed about having their own personal jetpack. New Zealand based company Martin Aircraft is looking to turn that dream into a reality as they begin test flying their personal jetpack with real-life human pilots.

Recently the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA) granted the company a special permit allowing them to begin manned test flights, although they “may not be flown more than 20 feet above the ground or 25 feet above water.”

The video below shows a higher altitude test flight done via remote control with a dummy pilot. The test was to demonstrate the emergency ballistic parachute safety system.

“For us it’s a very important step because it moves it out of what I call a dream into something which I believe we’re now in a position to commercialize and take forward very quickly.” – Peter Coker, CEO of Martin Aircraft.

The ultimate goal for the company is to begin commercial sales as early as mid 2015 at a projected starting price of around $100,000.Martin Aircraft Jetpack You may actually begin seeing these as early as 2014 as there has been strong interest to utilize these for first-responder and military missions.

There has been a lot of work being done in the future of personal and public transportation. Elon Musk recently revealed details for his supersonic hyperloop concept as an alternative to the high-speed rail project in California, and even NASA has joined the game working with California-based company, Skytran to construct the first magnetically levitating public transport system

Solar Powered Airplane Flies Flies Across the Country

solar-impulse

Fueled only by the power of the sun, Solar Impulse has just recently finished it’s first cross-country flight. This flight had many stops, and was very slow-going (about two months total), but also set three world records for manned solar-powered flight in the process, including the highest flight (30,300 ft), the longest flight (26 hours), and the farthest flight (693 miles).

There are those who see this and immediately blast it for not being applicable for real-life scenarios due to lacking power, speed, and durability. The thing to keep in mind is that this flight is symbolic of the future potential of solar-powered flight in the same way the the first Wright-brothers flight was symbolic of the future of manned airplane flights.

“Our airplane is not designed to carry passengers, but to carry a message.”  Bertrand Piccard

I believe the message that is send is one of possibility, one that states the future is here and let’s embrace it.

The plane is powered by solar cells that are not necessarily the most efficient, however, they have the best efficiency to weight ratio which is important to getting the most distance from each kWH of energy. The long-term goal is to eventually be capable of perpetual flight without the need of fuel. A worthy goal, but not one that will be attained before the plane’s next adventure to traverse the globe in 2015.

The application of this type of transport in the future is unknown exactly… With high speed rail, hyperloop, and other technologies coming forward, who knows what the future of transportation will be?