Every depiction of future transport since Buck Rogers includes a jet
pack, so who are we to mess with invention convention? The Martin Jetpack
positions itself as the planet's first practical jet pack — as if it were
some kind of airborne Swiffer. New Zealand inventor Glenn Martin spent
nearly 30 years developing a successor to the proven but impractical Bell
Rocket Belt, which first flew in 1961.
Martin's version doesn't look practical: he appears to have welded two
enormous leaf blowers together and thrown on a harness. But the
carbon-fiber composite frame houses a gasoline-fueled, 200-horsepower
engine — more power than a Honda Accord — that turns a pair of
carbon-Kevlar rotors. Theoretically, the Martin Jetpack could take its
operator up 2,500 m (8,000 ft). Since it holds only 30 minutes' worth of
fuel, though, you won't want to linger. The commercial application may be
more for first responders than for early adopters. The Jetpack will sell
for about $100,000; field tests start in 2011.