Personal jetpacks are almost here, if the market can support the company long enough for them to ship. New Zealand’s Martin Aircraft has a jetpack ready to go, if a pair of ducted fans worn as a gigantic backpack counts as a “jetpack”. In development for years, the company became the first publicly traded jetpack company last year, with a public offering on the Australian Stock Exchange. Their first year in operation, they posted a loss of $5 million.
Losses are fairly normal in the early stages of a business, and inevitable before a company starts selling its product. Martin Aircraft still has over $23 million on hand, which should be more than enough to fund them to launch. Their single-person flying machine is still supposedly on track for delivery in 2017, with the delivery of an unmanned, remotely piloted version still planned for the end of 2016.
The drone variant will fly for about half an hour at a speed of up to 45 mph. Martin Aircraft is billing the unmanned option as a tool for emergency response, like rescue struggling swimmers. The onboard pilot version is a recreational and personal transport vehicle, fitting for one with a price close to that of a small home in the United States. If jetpack sales take off as well as the jetpack itself does, expect to see lots of amazing video of jetpacks in 2017, as well as new insufferable stories from twenty-something-year-old tech billionaires flying around at Burning Man.