By Billie Cohen for Yahoo! Travel
Jet packs are here! Almost. (Photo: Martin Aircraft Company)
Start saving your money — a New Zealand-based company is getting ready to put jet packs on sale. By the end of 2016, Martin Aircraft Company will release what it calls the world’s first “practical jetpack.” (As if there’s any other kind.)
CEO Peter Coker altruistically notes that the highly maneuverable transporters, which can fly with a pilot or a remote control, will be invaluable for search and rescue operations where helicopters can’t reach. But if you opt for the joy ride use, keep in mind that the craft will work for short trips only — about 30 minutes of flight time at speeds up to 46mph and an altitude of 3,000 feet.
You’ll also have to put down $5,000 just to get on the waiting list — and about $150,000 in total. Retailers will have first crack at the aircraft (Martin already has deals with businesses in China, India, and the Czech Republic), and personal-use versions will arrive in 2017. What’s more, you’ll have to get a special pilot’s license and undergo about three weeks of training before you can take off.
Watch a test flight of the Martin Jetpack from September 2013. (Video: Martin Aircraft Company)
Not that any of this is likely to deter deep-pocketed dreamers who grew up with the promise of a jet-pack-filled future. Even with the bulkiness of this first iteration, the world is so ready. Remember how gigantic the first cell phones were? We can wait. In the meantime, we will have to be satisfied with the Martin Jetpack thermal travel mugs and logo T-shirts shirts available from the company’s online shop. They’re almost the same.