Want to Take a Jetpack to Work?

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Care to soar skyward strapped in your very own personal jet-suit? Of course you do. Just not one that’ll light your pants on fire, or cause too much commotion if you’ve just dined on a bowlful of seven-bean salad. And, you know, that’s priced somewhere in the neighborhood of an iPad or iPhone. Apple iFly, anyone?

(More on TIME.com: Jetpack Daredevil Soars at Nearly 200 MPH over Grand Canyon)

Looks like you may soon see your wishes granted. Well, most of them. The world’s closest thing to a rocket-powered backpack should set you back at least $100,000. Probably a small fortune to cover gas, too.

But if you’re into the whole strap-into-a-mongo-flight-suit thing, Martin Aircraft has your six: a jetpack powered by water-cooled pistons that blasts air downward to send you soaring. The New Zealand company just strapped a test dummy into its personal propulsion gizmo, remote-flew the rig to 5,000 feet above sea level, dropped back to 2,000 feet, then deployed a parachute before landing.

I love how the guy in the pack and the helicopter ascend simultaneously, sort of like Neo and Agent Smith squaring off without the black robes, kung-fu, and special effects.

The pack’s inventor, Glenn Martin, reportedly spent three decades and $12 million in personal savings and venture capital to make the jetpack a reality. Last year, we named it one of our “50 Best Inventions of 2010.”

What do you get for $100,000 and change? Two petrol-powered 200-horsepower engines with carbon-Kevlar rotors that look like jet turbines twisted 90 degrees skyward (it’ll fly forward at 63 mph), a carbon-fiber composite frame with harness that’s about 5 feet high, wide, and long, the option to climb up to 8,000 ft, and 30 minutes cruising time (the fuel tank holds about 5 gallons, per FAA requirements, and the engine burns gas at a rate of 10 gallons per hour). The jetpack itself weighs in at about 250 lbs, and can carry someone who weighs up to 280 lbs.

Best of all, Martin’s jetpack falls in the FAA’s Ultralight class, meaning you don’t need a pilot’s license to fly one. Nerves of steel, yes, and maybe a decent pair of earplugs. But if this thing goes commercial in the near term, as Martin hopes it will, the only thing separating you from flying around like the kid in Kick-Ass looks to be your bank account.

No word if they’re planning a tandem model, or maybe an 8,000 foot steel tether “optional accessory.” You know, for the “amusement park ride” version.

(via Stuff.co.nz)

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