One of the biggest newsmakers at EAA AirVenture this summer was the Martin Jetpack -- a spiffy-looking unit that promised great mobility and potential, though its live demo at Oshkosh was inconclusive as to its true capabilities. But this week, the product took another step forward in mass-market appeal when Ballistic Recovery Systems (BRS) announced it has entered into an agreement with Martin Aircraft Company to provide an emergency parachute recovery system for the jetpacks. "This system enables the Jetpack pilot to be saved during a catastrophic failure even when flying at a reasonably low altitude," BRS said in a news release. How low is "reasonable" when you are strapped into a jetpack? "Our official position is 500 feet," BRS President Larry Williams told AVweb on Tuesday. "But as always, deploy when in doubt, since we have seen successful deployments as low as 60 feet. The parachute offers some drag immediately that will slow down the impact. Also, as with all our applications, the function of the system will be influenced by forward velocity as well."
BRS said it will work with Martin Aircraft Company, which is based in New Zealand, to create a system that suits the jetpack's unique qualities. The Jetpack sells for $100,000, and production is expected to start next year. Click here for AVweb's exclusive video from Oshkosh, the only public demo of the jetpack.