Sky’s The Limit

Jet-set for real as you zip over traffic in your personal Martin Jetpack

Given how the roads here are looked upon as real estate that have to be capitalised upon through fees and tolls, it’s only a matter of time before we take to the freedom of the skies, well, save for those who have a fear of heights or flying.

That future will soon become a reality when the P12 Martin Jetpack makes production sometime next year. Designed and developed by New Zealand inventor Glenn Martin and his team of engineers from Martin Aircraft Company in Christchurch, the P12 has got the aviation world excited following its clearance for manned flight testing by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority.

Looking like something out of a James Bond flick, the P12 gets our stamp of approval in the looks department. A sleek form makes it aerodynamic while the extensive use of carbonfibre composites means it’s light, rigid, very strong, as well as “fast, agile and stable,” claims company CEO Mr. Peter Coker.

According to him, the P12 Martin Jetback is a breeze to operate as it is, “computer controlled and intuitive to fly.” Should the pilot ever release the controls, “the jetpack automatically enters a hover and maintains height,” adds Coker. In the unlikely event of engine failure in mid-flight, a ballistic parachute will be deployed to remedy the situation.

Although still a prototype, we understand that the craft will be powered by a 2.0-litre water-cooled V4 engine capable of 200 horsepower with 244Nm. Performance-wise, the jetpack is designed to reach speeds of up to 74km/h and climb up to 3,000 feet – high enough for us to land on top of office buildings here. The actual production jetpack should come fitted with a 45-litre tank, which should yield 30 minutes of flight time – more than sufficient for us to get us to most places on our little island.

As this is a new frontier in aviation, Martin Aircraft has developed a training syllabus with approval from the New Zealand government. Typically a week long, the course will comprise lectures, tutorials, egress training, simulator and flight training. Having said that, “all jetpack pilots should possess a microlight pilot’s license before carrying out the jetpack-specific training to ensure a minimum level of aviation knowledge,” Coker highlights. Development of the P12 Martin Jetpack is currently focused on its purpose as a civilian or military first responder vehicle, but we do know that when the personal version comes out, it’ll be expected to set buyers back by approximately S$190k, which really isn’t so bad considering that you’d be free from road taxes and ERP tariffs.

P12 Martin Jetpack
Engine: 2000cc water-cooled V4
Power/rpm: 200bhp/6000rpm
Torque/rpm: 244Nm/3500-6000rpm
Top Speed: 74km/h

Story: Jonathan Tan
Photographs: Martin Aircraft Company

Author: TopGear
Top Gear is a British television series about motor vehicles, primarily cars, and is the most widely watched factual television programme in the world.