Aircraft

Redesigned Martin Jetpack deliveries expected to start in 2014

Redesigned Martin Jetpack deli...
Martin Aircraft's will start deliveries of its new P12 Jetpack prototype in 2014 (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
Martin Aircraft's will start deliveries of its new P12 Jetpack prototype in 2014 (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
View 11 Images
Three-quarter view of the P12 prototype Jetpack (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
1/11
Three-quarter view of the P12 prototype Jetpack (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
Overhead view of one of the ducted fan units, showing the carbon-fiber composite fan blade (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
2/11
Overhead view of one of the ducted fan units, showing the carbon-fiber composite fan blade (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
Rear view of the P12 prototype Martin Jetpack (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
3/11
Rear view of the P12 prototype Martin Jetpack (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
The carbon-fiber nose cone of the ducted fan blade (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
4/11
The carbon-fiber nose cone of the ducted fan blade (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
One of the carbon-fiber composite fan blade assemblies not yet mounted in the ducted fan shroud (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
5/11
One of the carbon-fiber composite fan blade assemblies not yet mounted in the ducted fan shroud (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
A carbon-fiber fan blade in place (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
6/11
A carbon-fiber fan blade in place (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
Martin Aircraft's V4 Jetpack engine (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
7/11
Martin Aircraft's V4 Jetpack engine (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
Martin Aircraft's will start deliveries of its new P12 Jetpack prototype in 2014 (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
8/11
Martin Aircraft's will start deliveries of its new P12 Jetpack prototype in 2014 (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
Martin Aircraft's new P12 Jetpack prototype has the ducted fans mounted at waist height for improved maneuverability (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
9/11
Martin Aircraft's new P12 Jetpack prototype has the ducted fans mounted at waist height for improved maneuverability (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
The P12 prototype during a manned flight test (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
10/11
The P12 prototype during a manned flight test (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
The P12 prototype during a manned flight test (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
11/11
The P12 prototype during a manned flight test (Photo: Martin Aircraft)

The Martin Jetpack being developed by Martin Aircraft Company in New Zealand has undergone a major design overhaul. Reemerging as the P12 prototype, the ducted-fan personal VTOL is fully certified for manned test flights as a Class 1 microlight. The first commercial sales, now expected in mid-2014, will be for first responder applications, such as rescue, fire, and police missions. According to the company, sales to individuals will follow shortly after the initial models are vetted in field use.

Glenn Martin, founder of the Martin Aircraft Company, has been actively developing the Martin Jetpack for over 30 years and the P12, as the name suggests, is the 12th prototype. Initially working at night in the family garage on a budget of NZ$20 per month, the first serious attempts to bring the Jetback to market began in 2010. With the unveiling of the P12 it seems Martin's vision is now almost ready to leap into production.

Martin Aircraft's new P12 Jetpack prototype has the ducted fans mounted at waist height for improved maneuverability (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
Martin Aircraft's new P12 Jetpack prototype has the ducted fans mounted at waist height for improved maneuverability (Photo: Martin Aircraft)

The P12 prototype, shown above during a flight test, is described by Martin Aircraft Company’s CEO, Peter Coker, as a “huge step up” from the previous prototype. “Changing the position of the jetpack’s ducts has resulted in a quantum leap in performance over the previous prototype, especially in terms of the aircraft’s maneuverability,” says Coker.

Current performance numbers include a maximum airspeed of 74 km/h (46 mph) with normal cruise speed a more sedate 56 km/h (35 mph). A full tank of premium gas (with added oil) will keep the lucky pilot aloft for 30 minutes, during which time the Jetpack can travel about 30 km (20 mi). At its rated takeoff weight of 330 kg (725 lb), the ducted fans can supply an excess 50 kg of thrust, resulting in snappy changes in altitude.

The Jetpack's ceiling is 3000 ft (900 m), and it is recommended for operation above 500 ft (150 m) to give the safety systems (including a rocket-deployed ballistic parachute) plenty of time to function. The 95 dB noise level is significant (think loud vacuum cleaner) as you will experience in the video below, calling for hearing protection for the pilot in addition to helmet, neck restraint, boots, and fireproof suit.

Martin's present focus is to further refine and improve the jetpack's performance before releasing it for commercial sales. In particular, Martin is altering the engine design to extend the time between required overhaul from the present 200 hours. Planned modifications include improving the crankshaft design by going to a single piece crank.

Martin Aircraft's V4 Jetpack engine (Photo: Martin Aircraft)
Martin Aircraft's V4 Jetpack engine (Photo: Martin Aircraft)

The engine is a bespoke design for the Jetpack, with a 2.0 liter displacement that tops out at 200 hp (150 kW) and 180 ft-lb (245 Nm) of torque. Based on a V4 two-stroke design, the weight of the engine was reduced through careful engineering to 60 kg (132 lb). The size of the engine is a tiny 0.5 x 0.45 x 0.3 m (20 x 18 x 12 in).

For comparison, a high-performance 2.0 liter, 200 hp four-stroke automotive engine from Weber Motor weighs 75 kg (165 lb) and measures 0.5 x 0.5 x 0.45 m (20 x 20 x 18 in). The new engine is expected to be installed in the P12 prototype before the end of the year.

While the Martin Jetpack will qualify as a microlight aircraft in much of the world, this is not the case in the US, as it is too heavy. It will be a light sport plane, and as such a Sport Pilot's license will be needed to fly the Jetpack. Although not required by law, Martin also offers a training course that would be a very good idea to include in one's preparations for the first Jetpack flight.

While Martin hopes eventually to sell its Jetpack for $100,000 (plus shipping, duties, and taxes) in the US, the initial price is expected to be more in the $150-200K range. The company is currently accepting inquiries from commercial customers and prospective early adopters can secure an secure an "early production position" with a $5000 deposit. While the practicality of the Martin Jetpack for a private pilot may be questionable, the bragging rights will be enormous!

Source: Martin Aircraft Company

Martin Jetpack - Prototype 12 Remote Control Test Flight

37 comments
kellory
Great, one more piece of equipment that every swat team will just HAVE to have, to go with the armored troop carriers, the tanks, and semi-auto AR-15's (note: not an assault rifle) that are just too scary for civilians to own. Why, with this tool, they could post airborne snipers armed with Tracking Point scopes, to better "handle" anyone who disagrees with their definition of "Domestic Terrorist". Thanks guys, for a while there, I thought with an order for more than 1.6 billion rounds, and only another million or so in frangible rounds, they might just have been out gunned. Though I missed the rocket launchers........next model?"sigh." (I only WISH this was sarcasm)
David Buzz
there is no pilot onboard. increasing the MTOW by 70-100kg is going to make the motor work a lot harder than this.
Ozuzi
Ducted fans are jets now? Its less a jetpack and more a strap-on airplane. The motor sounds like an interesting base for a few projects.
Mr T
Can you imagine how many rich morons will kill themselves in these things, a parachute doesn't help when you fly into tall objects due to lack of skill and just plain stupidity :)
Nairda
Jetman is laughing in his armchair. You can't call it a jetpack unless the thrust and your body points horizontally, and you travel like a bat out of hell.
The Skud
Still of limited use - you can't carry much gear with you and would probably need a helicopter winch to complete any rescue. Still, first response from the tray of a nearby 4WD pickup or SES van would be good in hilly areas while a copter is readied.
Nathaneal Blemings
Pretty sure this will be just for recreational use, or using it to travel short distances for the rich people who can afford it, like traveling to your cottage... from your other cottage. Or maby traveling to work if its not more then 30km away.
GiolliJoker
Uhm... is the engine the offspring of four Honda CR500 powerplants?
Grunt
Tell me they're going to put a silencer on that exhaust! Bloody hell, 'tis bad enough now with all the microlights and private aircraft buzzing around here, 7 days a week. This is going to irritate the hell out of the neighbours. And anyway, surely an internal combustion engine is obsolete in this role. Wasn't there an outfit developing an electrically powered, back-pack thingy, or did that fall by the wayside. (Sorry)
Mike Kling
Why not make this unmanned and use it for things like plucking people from the water or other places where people need rescuing. An unmanned version would be just as safe as a manned version.