A jetpack that is claimed to be the world's first practical and commercial unit has undertaken its first flight in China.
The machine consists of a gasoline engine driving twin ducted fans which produce sufficient thrust to lift the aircraft and a pilot, and enable sustained flight.
The creators said it is able to operate close to or between buildings, near trees and in confined spaces that other aircraft are unable to access.
The maiden voyage over a lake near OCT Harbour in the Chinese city of Shenzhen was undertaken by Michael Read, flight operations director for the device’s manufacturer Martin Aircraft.
The flight lasted for more than five minutes with an audience of 2,000 people watching. A remote-control demonstration was also shown.
Martin Aircraft claims the jetpack is able to carry commercial payloads of up to 120kg with a maximum flight time of 45 minutes at a speed of up to 80kph.
It can transition to a hovering mode once the pilot releases his hands during a flight. However, a parachute can be deployed within 0.68 seconds if the system detects a looming risk.
It has a number of potential uses including search and rescue, military, recreational and commercial applications.
Martin Aircraft said that the jetpack has already generated 100 orders from three companies interested in the product.
Other devices were also shown at the jetpack’s launch event including the Cloud mini, a balloon-like platform lifted by helium and equipped with a buoyancy system. It is mooted as having potential uses in urban surveillance.
China Daily News took a video of the device’s first flight: