Prior to last week, the highest altitude a jetpack has soared was roughly 50 feet. Since then, that mark has been bested by, oh, 4,950 feet.
On May 21, researchers at Martin Aircraft, an aviation company, strapped a dummy pilot to their latest prototype and sent the radio-controlled aircraft up towards what's normally been airplane territory. The stunt was conducted to test out the jetpack's ballistic parachute safety system.
The company has also reported details and a video of their latest feat. After reaching peak altitude at an unheard of rate of 800 feet per minute, the jetpack descended to a level of 3,000 feet where the engine was cut out off, causing the the parachute to deploy. By the time it landed, it had been airborne for nine minutes and 46 seconds, shattering their previous world record of seven minutes and 15 seconds.
This latest achievement may help bring the prototype a step closer market. But don't get too excited -- at least not yet. For now, the company is primarily focused on developing the aircraft for military and emergency-response uses, like surveillance or back-and-forth transport in regions and situations too dangerous for people and other aircraft to operate in.
“This test also validated our flight model, proved thrust to weight ratio and proved our ability to fly a Jetpack as an unmanned aerial vehicle, which will be key to some of the Jetpack’s future emergency/search & rescue and military applications,” said Inventor Glenn Martin.
The next steps will focus on technological refinements that should improve the safety system, the engine's performance, and its overall high speed flight stability.
And the eventual cost for a recreational version? The company is aiming for a price tag of $100,000 dollars. Whether that's worth it to beat rush hour traffic is still up for debate.
Here's the video:
(via Martin Aircraft)
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