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Martin Jetpack gains manned flight certification; IPO plans firming

We're another step closer to an economy that's less Fonterra, more Jetsons.

The Martin Aircraft Company has gone public with its latest prototype Jetpack, the P12 – its first model to gain Civil Aviation Authority certification for manned flight.

The certification was granted in early July, CEO Peter Coker tells NBR ONLINE.

The P12 is billed as a “huge step up” on previous prototypes.

“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 manoeuvrability,” Mr Coker says.

The Christchurch company – founded by Glenn Martin in 2004 – has been experimenting with operational jetpack designs for hal a decade.

Now, it’s getting close to the point of commercial manufacture, Mr Coker says.

First, Martin Aircraft needs to raise another $3 million from private investors to finish development and testing of the P12 (of which there is only one at present; a second is being constructed).

Then, to raise funds for manufacture, Martin Aircraft plans an IPO on the NZX (chairwoman Jenny Morel has previously told media the company could seek $20 millon; Mr Coker would not be drawn today).

The CEO says the IPO will definitely take place within the next 12 months. Early next year is a possibility. Martin has been talking with potential underwriters and brokers, but has no formal agreements at this point.

A Martin Aircraft IPO has been mooted since 2009, but now there signs the company is getting serious. Previous Jetpacks have had mixed demos – sometimes more low-flying (as when NBR encountered it four years ago), more often these days spectacular and soaring. But with the CAA certification, the P12 is primed for commercial release. And on the commercial level, Mr Coker has been drafted in from Lockheed Martin, where we was international business development

The company could make up to 500 Jetpacks a year at its Woolston, Christchurch facility, Mr Coker says, initially priced at $250,000 each.

 “We are focussing initially on developing the Jetpack for use as a first responder vehicle and heavy lift unmanned air vehicle,” Mr Coker says.

The aim is to follow up with a $150,000 model, which would have broader appeal. Eventually the CEO sees the Jetpack hitting the recreational market.

If it does, and production takes off, manufacturing would move offshore, albeit with Martin Aircraft keeping tight control of design and IP. A joint venture partner is already lined up in China.

  • Read more about Martin Jetpack and its global sales push in this week’s print edition of NBR.
  • Peter Coker will be one of the attendees at this year's Morgo entrepreneurs conference, Sept 4-6 in Queenstown. 

ckeall@nbr.co.nz

BELOW: Flight demo clips for the previous prototype:

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Comments and questions
13

Hasnt this technology been taken over by unmanned drone technology

Martin Aircraft is targeting some of it first sales at military customers, it says, offering them the un-manned version for heavy lifting (or at least, perhaps, heavier lifting than most drones could carry out).

The only problem Chris is the opposing military can hear the Martin Jetpak coming well in advance of it arriving - as opposed to a drone or similar technology.

Drones do not carry people, the Jetpack can and does. Well done to the design and development team (and pilot). This is a big step on the way to everyone having their own personal airborne transporter in the future.

The makers of gofast energy drink have developed a far more modern and versitile pack in the USA.

The Jetpack International Jetpack (http://www.gofastsports.com/GoFast_JetPack/) looks like a blast, but it's flight times are listed in the 20 to 30 second range. Martin Aircraft says the Martin JetPack P12 Prototype can fly for 30 minutes at an altitude of up to 1500m, and speed of up to 74km.

Some people on this page just don't get it, a drone or the high pressure pack is not a replacement for this tool. it's essentially a mini helicopter, are you guys saying that unmanned drones are replacements for helicopters?

If the jetpack was the grey/white frame around the person and did not include the massive engines in the red frames, it would be a winner. As it is, it simply looks unfeasibly large to be practical.

It looks amazing - but what is it really useful for?

It's speed and range seem very limited. It goes 74km and flies for 30 minutes, so that's 37km, or a return flight range of under 20km.

First responder - Really? With that range and speed you'd probably need to drive it closer first? Seems to me helicopters are still a better option for medical / commercial groups.

Perhaps a rich toy? Boats sell but you get to pose on them - a personal helicopter probably hits this segment better.

Is there really a viable market for this? I hope so - but I'd not be into the IPO.

Hopefully not destined to be the Segway of air travel.

The company will have to survive their first "engine out" or other serious equipment failure before I'll be looking into them. i.e. come back in 50-100,000 hours flight time at least.

It's not a Jet pack if it doesn't use Jets??? Looks like props to me...
Prop pack! LOL

Very cool. Things that need fixing. 1. Too loud...need to work on muffling system 2. Range is extremely short, need to increase that (only 15 miles each way for round triop) 3. So uses up fifty gallons of gasoline to go about 30 miles? That is horrific gas mileage. What does a car use to go 30 mile, a gallon?