For decades, man has struggled to achieve that pinnacle of Q-designed gizmos cruelly teased by Sean Connery in Thunderball: the jetpack. We’re now one step closer to having a rocket-fueled burst-of-fire blast us into the air. The Martin Aircraft Company has been granted permission by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority to begin testing a military version next year. The nod of legitimacy means that the planned release of the civilian product in 2015 might actually happen. Founded in 2004 by Kiwi avionics entrepreneur Glenn Martin, the Martin Aircraft Company is perhaps the leader in the narrow field of jetpack manufacturers, and now will almost surely be the first to get people flying.
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In other words: we’re so, so close to taking that trip 5,000 feet up in the air. So close we can taste the jet fuel on our tongue and hear The Jetsons theme song in our heads. An unmanned test run of the Martin Jetpack model in 2011 offered a hint as to what we can expect from these toys for adventurous billionaires: he flight lasted for ten minutes, allowing for insane views as earth unfurled itself below, the never-before-felt sensation of hovering — at least when of sound mind and body — now reached.