Jetpack First Flights On eBay

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If Glenn Martin has gauged his market correctly, there should be lineup of adrenaline junkies bidding to become the first "test pilot" of the Martin Jetpack. The always-innovative Martin is auctioning off the first six flights of the piston-powered, ducted fan contrivance available to the public on eBay. The winning bidder can take the prize on their own or invite up to three friends to take part in the historic occasion. The winner will be responsible for their own expenses in getting to New Zealand for the three-days of training and flying. Martin says anyone who can strap into the device can submit a bid. "Whoever wins this auction, whether it's a highly qualified pilot or someone who has never flown before, we will be able to tailor a testing program for the jetpack that matches their skill," he said.

Martin said a lot of improvements have been made since the tentative flight, watched closely by spotters, at EAA AirVenture in 2008. In fact, Martin is building his business around making the experience available to virtually anyone in an adventure tourism sort of enterprise. He insists the thrill seeker version of the Jetpack will be safe and fun. "Our aim is to make the easiest-to-fly aircraft in the world," he said. "Because of the fly-by-wire systems we have developed in the last year, we recently had a novice pilot fly solo quite safely with 12 minutes of flight time." The auction ends Sept. 24 and there's a minimum bid of $30,000. There were no bids in the first six hours.

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Listen to our conversation with Martin at EAA AirVenture 2009 in this podcast.