Martin Jetpack Project Scrambling

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The innovation that took AirVenture 2008 by storm may be headed for oblivion as shares for the company that now controls the Martin Jetpack have been suspended from trading on the Australian Stock Exchange. The company couldn’t meet its statutory reporting requirements by the Aug. 31 deadline so the stock, which was trading at six cents AUS, was wiped off the board. The company has been through many iterations since entrepreneur Glenn Martin, a New Zealander, gave an awkward demonstration of the shrieking ducted fan backpack at the big show. Despite the IPO and some funding from its Chinese owners, it appears there are some significant technical challenges to creating a viable aircraft.

In an earnings report at the end of June, the company said the engines needed overhaul after 10 hours and they were working on that, possibly by “incorporating elements of turbine engine design,” according to stuff.co.nz. The news site reported the funding company, Kuang-Chi, is holding off on sinking more money into the project while it assesses the commercial viability. So far, the project has gone through almost $50 million and the engine revamp will need another three years of development work.  We, along with many others, were on hand for that AirVenture debut in 2008. See the video below.

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