The world’s first commercial jetpacks start production from next month.
New Zealander Glenn Martin has been developing the concept for Martin Jetpacks for more than 30 years. The machines are expected to retail for $US200,000 when they are released to the market later this year.
Martin Aircraft CEO Peter Coker says it’s always an exciting moment for a company when it watches its first products roll off the commercial assembly line, especially when that product has taken more than the decades to evolve from concept to reality.
The ASX-listed shares were up 2.5% today to $0.40.
To get an idea of how it all works, here’s a quick clip showing it in flight in China recently:
Coker says there’s a buzz of anticipation at Wigram, Christchurch, as the Martin Aircraft production team makes ready.
“Working with the marketing teams in both China and here in New Zealand, we are planning to have the capacity to assemble up to 33 jetpacks by the end of the year,” says Coker.
“It is key that we have the right equipment, processes and procedures in place to ensure smooth running of the facility and to make certain that we are in the best possible position to overcome any teething issues quickly and efficiently.”
Martin Aircraft initially plans to have the capacity to assemble 200 to 250 jetpacks next year at its Christchurch facility, increasing to 500 a year over the next few years.
However, Coker says the New Zealand facility will not have the capacity to cover worldwide demand. The company has been marketing the jetpack in China, the Middle East and Europe.
Martin Aircraft has signed a memorandum of understanding with Dubai to supply jetpacks and training to its civil defence and fire services.
“It has always been our intention to have a parallel facility in China focused on the Chinese market early on,” Coker says.
“In China, the KuangChi Martin Jetpack joint venture will provide a number of personnel to learn our processes and help build some of the jetpacks this year.
“This will allow them to be the core team returning to China to set up the China market focused production facility.
“This China facility is likely to start being built at the beginning of next year. We’ll then look at further assembly plants in different parts of the world depending on demand and where the customer base is.”
Last month, Martin Aircraft announced a deal with a UK company to put a powerful new engine into the jetpack.
Gilo Industries Group will supply its advanced rotary engines from subsidiary Rotron Power Limited. These engines deliver a higher power-to-weight ratio while remaining small and reliable with almost zero vibration.
The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand in October approved Martin Aircraft’s latest model jetpack, the Prototype 12, for manned flight.
Here’s more footage of the jetpack in action: