ABU DHABI // The world's first practical jetpack has been created for civilian use with the help of two UAE institutions.
The Martin Jetpack, which was showcased at Idex yesterday, is a collaboration between Emirates Advanced Research and Technology Holding (Earth), Khalifa University and the New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft Company.
As well as being for military use, there is a civilian version that can travel at a cruising speed of 100kph and reach heights of 1,500 metres.
It will be available to adventure lovers who have a spare US$100,000 (Dh 367,300) in their pockets.
Martin Aircraft is undertaking a two-year period of testing and development alongside Earth and Khalifa University. The latter is involved in developing and improving the control systems for the unmanned military version of the device.
Martin Aircraft said the jetpack could be deployed for search and rescue missions, rapid response, ship-to-ship or ship-to-shore transfer, or even for hopping across to your own private island.
James Bowker, the design engineer and test pilot on the project, said the rescue capabilities of the machine had been a key element in its design.
"We could bring a medic to a situation rapidly. We have seen a lot of interest in that area," he added.
The jetpack is powered by petrol and allows for vertical take-off and landing thanks to two powerful fans. Flight times last up to 30 minutes.
Added features include a ballistic parachute that deploys should the engines fail. Mr Bowker said there had been a great deal of interest in the device, not only from companies but also from individuals looking to use it for recreation and to "fly the dream".
"Hopefully in the next two years, you'll be able to buy your own jetpack," he said.
A more versatile, unmanned version of the jetpack will cost $180,000.