For sci-fi aficionados who have dreams of flying like their comic book hero Ironman, their dreams might have just been answered.
The world’s first practical jetpack—the “Martin Jetpack”, made its first public flight in the south Chinese city of Shenzhen on Saturday.
The flight was made by a representative from the New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft Company and witnessed by hundreds of people.
While it only lasted five minutes, it was still four minutes longer than the Wright brother’s first airplane flight 112 years ago.
The jetpack can be flown by a pilot or via remote control. With a 200-horsepower gasoline-powered engine, the manufacturers say it is able to fly nonstop at an altitude of 1,000 meters at a maximum speed of 80 kilometers per hour for around 30 minutes.
It is thought that it could be widely used in areas including medical emergency, fire rescue, tourism and even general travel.
In terms of safety, the company said the jetpack could find its own balance after taking off and a ballistic parachute system can be deployed in case of emergencies.
Also on Saturday, the company’s Hong Kong-based joint venture KuangChi Martin Jetpack signed agreements with three Chinese companies for the purchase of 100 jetpacks.
Chinese e-commerce site jd.com has listed the jetpack for sale online since late July, with the price set at 1.6 million yuan (approx. 251,800 US dollars). The time of delivery is estimated at around a year.
The company has also launched a training center called the Iron Man Club. Anyone who wants to pilot the jetpack should join to receive professional training first in order to get a flying qualification.
But before the products can be sold on a large scale, the company also needs to take the flight regulations in different countries into consideration. To expand its market in China, the company is now applying for flying permission and airspace for training.
Disappointingly for some, the manufacturers, however, made no claims of being able to fly “faster than a speeding bullet”, “save the world from alien invasions” or any other comic book scenarios.