Last year, the New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft Company had its first five customers pay to be jetpack pilots and fly the Martin Jetpack. You can see from this video the thrill they had. This day was a very early trial of this concept: all five customers were novice pilots, and they all made safe solo flights.
The Martin Aircraft Company is planning a Martin Jetpack Experience business, to open for tourist jetpack flights in 2010 - and it's expected that early orders for sales to private individuals will commence late 2010. (The company signed a $12 million joint-venture deal with an as yet unnamed international aircraft company to start production of the world's first commercially available jetpack just last month).
Of course, these days a world where people are buzzing around on jet packs seems a bit scary... quite apart from the potential terrorism implications, can you imagine what kind of damage drunk flyers might cause? The company is well aware of these issues of course, and notes that after manufacture the "human factors" come into play.
"These include standard operating procedures, training and retraining of the end users to maintain a high degree of compliance."
Before you or I can get your hands on one, the jetpacks will be sold to emergency response organisations, such as police and military, providing a quick way of getting aid and relief into disaster-hit areas.
The company says the jet pack is "unlikely" to have a direct military application but could be used in a troop-support role.
Yeah, right - we've seen how Captain Scarlet and SPECTRUM operates!
• Fly the Dream: www.martinjetpack.com