Martin Jetpack: Ready For Its IPO

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It's been in the works for many years -- AVweb shot video of it in flying at EAA AirVenture in 2008 -- but now the makers of the Martin Jetpack say they're ready to sell shares in their company, in an initial public offering, to raise cash for production, sometime before the end of this year. "We have done the majority of the research development to get to this point; now it's ready to commercialize," company director John Diddams told The Australian this week. The New Zealand-based company has said they hope to raise $20 million from the IPO. Last month, the company raised $6.5 million in a private offering, attracting investors mainly from Australia and Asia. About 40 orders reportedly are in hand for the jetpacks, which go for about $150,000 each. Most buyers intend to use the jetpacks for first response, border patrol and rescue missions. 

The jetpack's two ducted fans are powered by the company's own V4 200hp engine, which weighs 132 pounds. The jetpack frame is built of composite materials. Safety features include computer-aided stability, a pilot-protection cage, and a ballistic parachute. A jetpack display team is in development for airshow appearances and should be ready by mid-2015, according to the company website. The jetpack can reportedly fly for up to 30 minutes at about 45 mph. Also in the works are an unmanned version, a simulator, and a "jetpack experience" that would allow the public to safely fly the aircraft under the control of an experienced pilot.