The Jetpack is finally here, but don’t expect to fly through the clouds just yet

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For decades, science fiction has teased us with notions of strapping on a jetpack and soaring through the clouds, (or, in the case of James Bond, eluding bad guys). Numerous inventors have tried over the years, with middling success, to create jetpacks for all of us. But pretty much every model created has suffered from one particular flaw: they can only fly for about 30 seconds.

Martin Jetpack, a New Zealand-based manufacturer, is changing all that with the development of a jetpack system that promises flights of 30 minutes or more. It will have the ability to fly not just people, but also equipment into hard to reach areas. The company’s current model, which is still in development, is being marketed to first responders like firefighters and search and rescue workers. It will have a hefty price tag (likely around $250,000), meaning that you’re not likely to keep one in the garage.

Purists may argue that the Martin device is not really a jetpack at all, since it doesn’t strap on your back and doesn’t actually use jets (it uses powerful, gasoline engines which force air through twin ducts for lift). But that doesn’t mean it isn’t still very cool.

In the video above, we take a look at the Martin Jetpack, and also go back in time to explore the mystique of personal flight and how our ideas of the jetpack have changed over the years.