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back to article Kiwi jetpack gets all-clear for manned tests

A decade of testing is close to paying off for New Zealand company Martin Aircraft Company, which has announced that it has received certification to conduct manned test flights for its Martin Jetpack. The New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority has given the outfit the go-ahead to conduct manned flights of its twelfth prototype, …

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Pedant Alert!

This is not a jet pack it is a ducted fan pack.

Other than the slightly worrying fact that it sounds like a pair of harmonising leafblowers... I want one!

I bet it scares the hell out of all the Orcs lurking in the mountains.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pedant Alert!

So what comes out of the ducted fans then? As far as I'm concerned, it's a JET of air.

Perhaps you're getting confused between 'jet' and 'turbine'?

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HMB
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Re: Pedant Alert!

I suppose by that logic if I pee hard I can call my man bits a jet pack.

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Happy

Re: Pedant Alert!

"This is not a jet pack it is a ducted fan pack.

Other than the slightly worrying fact that it sounds like a pair of harmonising leafblowers... I want one!"

On that basis it's actually better than a jet pack.

No 1000c jet exhaust to burn anything it lands on.

"I bet it scares the hell out of all the Orcs lurking in the mountains."

Foolish Human.

Orcs fear nothing.

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Devil

Re: Pedant Alert!

> I suppose by that logic if I pee hard I can call my man bits a jet pack.

Way ahead of you... much to the chagrin of the miss.

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I also

want one.

I wonder if I could land on the roof at work?

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But mythbusters sez it can't be dun!!!1

Sorry. A little fed up of a couple of people I know coming out with stuff like that on just about everything. They seem to think that Stephen Fry is God as well.

Thumbs up for the hover pack though.

(and where did all the icons go?)

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Re: But mythbusters sez it can't be dun!!!1

(and where did all the icons go?)

When composing your words, hit the "Add an icon" button above the title of your post.

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Re: But mythbusters sez it can't be dun!!!1

M Gale, are you saying that Stephen Fry isn't God?! Surely, he's at least the God of Technology!

(Why don't we have neither a Stephen Fry nor a God icon?)

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MJI
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Re: But mythbusters sez it can't be dun!!!1

Fry os not god of technology just god of sack people

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Boffin

Re: But mythbusters sez it can't be dun!!!1

Ha! I believe they said you can't make one that won't kill you for less than 5000 dollars from plans downloaded from the internet - They're still right about that!

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Happy

Re: But mythbusters sez it can't be dun!!!1

I think three people didn't get the "sack people" reference, and thought it's something quite offensive. It isn't.

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Anonymous Coward

I want one too

(but with an extra parachute, just in case).

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Do not want.

As a pilot, I see too much to go wrong ...

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Re: Do not want.

As a pilot, you'll know there's enough "aircraft" out there already that become something more akin to a brick should there ever be a loss of power. Granted, most of 'em are military.

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Stop

Re: Do not want.

I think you answered your own point there. Most civil types can make power-out emergency landings or, in the case of twin or more engines, can continue on to their destination. Power failure on one of these is going to result in a crash unless they have some type of BRS. Add to that there doesn't appear to be space for instruments so if you lose your ground reference you are likely to emerge from a cloud upside down.

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Re: Do not want.

As a pilot, I pay attention to details, and pick & choose what I fly.

This isn't an option, near as I can tell.

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Re: Do not want.

Interesting. Care to enlighten us?

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Re: Do not want.

There's a small panel in front of the pilot for instruments

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Re: Do not want.

You think that panel (a) would be visible inside of a cloud and (b) would be big enough for what is referred to by pilots as the Sacred Six in addition to the engine and fuel instruments?

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Re: Do not want. @Jake

Is there anything you haven't done Jake? Your 15 years old (worked out form the quality of your posts), worked on the google network, are a pilot, and have done loads of other fantastic stuff. I'm in awe. Can I have you children? You do have children?

On the other hand, you have the interpersonal skills of an amoeba.

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Boffin

@jake - Re: Do not want.

I bet you would have said the same to Wilbur and Orville...

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Do Not Want

I actually need one of these, it will be essential to my work and will increase my productivity.

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Re: Do not want.

You think that panel (a) would be visible inside of a cloud...

Yes. Especially with nice beefy backlights.

Clouds are not quite as opaque as you think. You know when you wake up on a cold morning, look out of the window and see fog? That's a ground-level cloud, that is. You'll still see a couple of feet in front of you to the instrument panel.

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TRT
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Re: @jake - Do not want.

I wish I could fly, way up in the sky, but I can't.

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Re: Do not want.

Clouds are not quite as opaque as you think

True. But try riding a motorbike in the fog while wearing glasses. Then again, you probably won't enter a cloud with one of those jetpacks.

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Re: Do not want.

"As a pilot, I see too much to go wrong ...

What are the problems and how did you fix them on the one you made for your unicorn?

I'm with you that this one doesn't look like something I'd want to entrust my life to - they claim that "the goal is to provide impact protection from 30 feet high" purely by the construction of the machine (roll cage, crumple zones etc) which is not tremendously encouraging as the ballistic parachute which is the only other survival tool for catastrophic failure is only rated down to "very low altitudes which I suspect leaves a considerable zone of peril that is it going to be difficult to design out.

They want to make it safer than "similar light helicopters" - by which they mean safer than just about the most dangerous thing to take to the skies - not sufficient for me.

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Re: @jake - Do not want.

Yes you can!

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FAIL

Re: Do not want.

Watch the video of the 2011 test - it explicitly demonstrates it coming down on a ballistic parachute.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Do not want.

BRS? Isn't that precisely how the demonstration was concluded?

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WTF?

Re: Do not want.

Fail to RTFA much...? From manufacturer spec [1]: "Computer aided stability : "Fly by wire", no-pilot control-input produces a zero air-speed hover." If in doubt, leggo the frackin' stick, 'mkay? Are you seriously suggesting this sort of system would ever LET you invert that aircraft, cloud or no cloud? Really? I guess you never got to the "Aircraft operating rules : Daylight and visual flight only" part either...

[1] - http://martinjetpack.com/technical-information.aspx

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Boffin

Re: Do not want.

"would be visible inside of a cloud"?

Clouds aren't THAT dense... for example while flying through a cloud in a plane it's possible to see the wings through the window. If the panel is well designed and illuminated, this should not be a problem

"would be big enough"?

Depends on how much instrmentation is required. I suppose something the size of say a 21-inch monitor on a movable/lockable arm in front of the pilot's waist/chest (that could also double as a part of the harnessing mechanism) would do the trick

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Re: Do not want. @M Gale

As it happens I have flown IFR in clouds. Just like fog the visibility is variable. At one extreme you have dozens of yards of visibility, at the other you can't see the prop spinning in front of you. Either way one of the first things that happens is that your windshield gets covered in droplets of water which, wearing a crash helmet, makes reading instruments on the far side of the visor tricky. Fitting a horizon, turn/slip, altimeter, VSI, DI,and ASI into that limited space and expecting it to be clearly legible in those conditions is, at best, optimistic.

As to the folks who say "just don't fly into cloud", its a nice theory but in practice it happens, which is why student pilots are taught the basics of how to fly back out of it.

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Stop

Re: Do not want. -@DropBear

So you're going to hover in cloud until the fuel gives out? The thing about clouds and weather is that it changes. You can set off thinking you're fine for VFR, only to find the cloud level descending. Always have a backup plan.

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Re: Do not want.

BRS has its limits also. The first is that you have no control over where you land. Again student pilots a drilled in selecting the safest landing zone, away from trees, power cables etc. The second is that you tend to come down quite fast, faster than a normal parachute. You can right the aircraft off using one, and seriously injure yourself to boot.

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Re: Do not want.

Perhaps the Martin Aircraft Company could get Martin-Baker to come up with a suitable mechanism to separate pilot and machine so that the former can land without getting injured by the latter falling on top of them. Not withstanding injuries obtained during the separation. The cost could be prohibitive for this application.

http://www.martin-baker.com/

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Re: Do not want. @Jake

"Is there anything you haven't done Jake?"

Ballet comes to mind ... Bad knees. Hazard of riding horses & motorcycle racing.

"Your 15 years old"

Nope, I'm in my 50s. You're (note splelling) noted.

"(worked out form the quality of your posts)"

Have issues? Speak up.

"worked on the google network"

Absolutely fucking not. I wouldn't touch that clusterfuck with a bargepole. I was a TA for a couple of the founders, though ... Sadly, I failed in my mission.

"are a pilot"

Yes. It's a useful skill. Try it. See: http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/699334

"and have done loads of other fantastic stuff."

Yes, I have. I call it "having a life".

"I'm in awe. Can I have you children? You do have children?"

I don't donate sperm to ACs. I have a child (29), and a grandchild (3ish).

"On the other hand, you have the interpersonal skills of an amoeba."

Of course. I get stuff done. Don't like it? Fuck you, you fucking fuck. <sfsf>

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Actually, Graham ... (was: Re: @jake - Do not want.)

In that era, I'd have been one of the dudes in the trenches, and probably would have volunteered to pilot it first time out. Innovation is good. Even if dangerous. (I drove for Dale Arneson nearly 30 years ago). I don't see anything innovative about the thingie in the OA.

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Re: Do not want.

By virtue of most civil aircraft being winged objects or powered parachutes you are correct.

That said, A helicopter without power doesn't make for a particularly comfortable landing, nor does a powered parachute when it's parachute knots up, regardless of power.

The 'jetpack' is sold with an optional BRS (Ballistic [Parachute] Recovery System) for a survivable vertical landing without power.

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Re: Do not want.

*coff*

Helicopters do the whole auto-rotate thing. Disengage the clutch, maintain airspeed, it does a passable impression of a controllable sycamore seed.

Probably still a pucker moment for the pilot though. He won't be shitting himself because it'll be clenched too tight!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Do not want. @Jake

you're, your, yaw, yawn.....

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Re: Do not want.

I'm inclined to agree.

My first thoughts were (cue 8 year old's voice) wow! cool!

But then I imagined if everyone had one...

Pub closing time would look like a mid-summer ants nest with lots of bizzare creatures wafting skywards uncontrollably, colliding, falling. Eeek.

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Re: Do not want. @Jake

"and have done loads of other fantastic stuff."

Yes, I have. I call it "having a life".

Y'know, I'm a few years younger than Jake (though coincidentally my child is the same age as his, and my grandchild just a couple years younger); and while I haven't done all the same things he says he's done, my range of experiences is of the same order. I've been a professional software developer and published literary criticism. I've taught college and carved jewelry from bone. I've knapped flint arrowheads and installed plumbing. I've lived in Japan and corresponded with famous authors. I've testified in court and climbed a volcano. I've broken a finger and painted a house. I've been threatened by a madman (recently released from the psych ward) with a gun and driven 18 hours through night and fog. I've held a newborn and a casket, though fortunately never at the same time. I've done things I deeply regret and others that I'm a bit proud of.

If you enjoy the moderate privilege typical of the middle class in a modern industrialized society, it's not hard to pack a life pretty damn full of stuff. Or you can waste your time criticizing those who have bothered to take advantage of opportunity.

(I do recommend the bone carving, by the way. Lovely material to work with.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Do not want. @Jake

I wish there was a "sincerity" icon, but since there isn't, you'll have to take my word for it.

Thank you, sincerely, for this beautiful potted history and life lesson.

AC because I don't want everyone to know I'm often a sentimental fool who blubs like an infant when I hear the sound of a minor chord.

Looking forward to hearing the full "What a boy needs to know about being a man" speech some day.

<wipes away tear>

<gets back to "work">

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Missing a laser

I'll only consider buying one once they add on a laser.

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Happy

Re: Missing a laser

Upvote for provoking a misty-eyed reminiscence. All that joy in just 16kb...

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Re: Missing a laser

Just drop grenades over the side and take pictures. If your names is royals call yourself the royals flying corpse.

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Re: Missing a laser

Oh noes, flying sharks...

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Kiwi not Kiki

Was trying to work out what the Kiki in the title referred to until I read they are in New Zealand and realised its a typo........

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