Glenn Martin wants to beat the Bell Rocket Belt, which never achieved more than 30 seconds of controlled flight. He’s spent 27 years trying to build a personal aircraft capable of sustained, controlled flight in backpack form. He proved it can be done in Oshkosh, WI at this week’s AirVenture.
He strapped his 16 year old son, Harrison, into one of two protoype ‘jetpacks’, letting him fly a few feet above the ground with what appears to be minimal guidance for thirty seconds. Harrison and his mother have been frequent test pilots in their Christchurch, New Zealand yard.
Martin Aircraft claims a theoretical top speed of 63 mph and a max range of 31.5 miles. The jetpack is classified as an ultralight per US FAA regulations and is limited to 5 gallons of gasoline onboard.
The jetpack is technically a set of ducted fans powered by a 200 hp engine and weighs 250 pounds.
Martin responds to criticism about the name ‘jetpack’
If you have a very narrow view of what a ‘true jetpack’ is (i.e. that it is a pure jet) then none have ever been built. The closest would have been the Bell jet belt, but again this was not a ‘true jet’, it was bypass ratio gas turbine powered. In fact I cannot think of any ‘true jets’ in the GA industry, most are Fanjets.
Still doubt that it can fly? Watch more video of it untethered.
Want to use your own family as test pilots? Good Luck.
Read up on an earlier aviation pioneer named Glenn Martin