Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What traffic? Go to work on a jetpack

Put away the Gulf Stream and park your Lamborghini, the ultimate in transportation accessories is on the market and will be yours for just £50,000, if you are prepared to wait one year for delivery. This is the machine that will really impress your friends – assuming you don't mow them down upon arrival.

Meet the Martin Jetpack, a contraption unveiled at a US air show yesterday. It is a real-life version of the toy we all fantasised about as children (and some of us as adults) and which Sean Connery as James Bond got to wear in the early minutes of Thunderball. Simply attach, the manufacturers claim, and up you go. No more traffic jams as you slice through the air at speeds of up to 186mph.

Developed in secret over the past 10 years by Glenn Martin, an inventor based in New Zealand, the jetpack made its public debut at AirVenture, an annual experimental aerospace show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The pilot yesterday was Glenn's son, Harrison, and he showed it off without mishap. The company, that also launched an accompanying website, calls it the "world's first practical jetpack".

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