Man in Jetpack Soars Over China in Public Demo
Citizens of Shenzhen, China could not believe their eyes this week when they looked up and saw a man in an Iron Man-like jetpack soaring through the sky.
The KuangChi Martin Jetpack debuted at the OCT Harbor in Shenzhen, demonstrating a futuristic approach to urban transportation that used to only exist in science-fiction movies.
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The jetpack made its flight over a lake, and was piloted by Michael Read, Martin Aircraft's director of flight -operations, and a veteran pilot. The flight lasted for more than five minutes, and was seen by a crowd of more than 2,000 people. The company also held a remotely controlled demonstration of the jetpack.
The jetpack can fly as fast as approximately 50 mph with a commercial payload of up to 120kg (264 lbs.), and has a maximum flight time of 45 minutes.
The KuangChi Martin Jetpack claims to be the world's first practical and commercial jetpack. It is made up of a gasoline engine that powers twin ducted fans, which produce sufficient thrust to lift the aircraft and a pilot, and to enable sustained flight. It can operate close to or between buildings, near trees and in confined spaces that other aircrafts cannot access without risking an accident.
Hong Kong-based high-tech company KuangChi Science is the largest shareholder of the Martin Aircraft, the New Zealand manufacturer of the Jetpack. KuangChi Science is a subsidiary of Shenzhen-based Kuang-Chi.
As part of the event, Kuang-Chi launched its Iron Man Club, which it hopes will attract partners all over China to operate a wide range of innovative products and services on a global scale. A joint venture of KuangChi Science and Martin Aircraft signed three deals for a total of 100 manned Jetpacks and 20 simulators. The products are expected to be delivered in 2016.
The company says the jetpack has a wide range of potential uses, such as search and rescue missions, military operations, and recreational and commercial applications. The Jetpack can turn into a hovering mode once the pilot releases his or her hands during a flight. A parachute can be shot off within 0.68 of a second if the system detects imminent danger.