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Martin Jetpack gets $968,430 for improvements

Media Release December 9 2008

Martin Jetpack gets $968,430 for improved safety and performance

The Foundation for Research, Science and Technology has approved a $968,430 investment by its TechNZ arm in the novel Jetpack personal flying machine invented by Christchurch firm Martin Aircraft Company.

The funding will allow inventor Glenn Martin to carry out additional research and development to improve the performance and safety features of the Jetpack.

The Jetpack uses a unique propulsion system developed by Glenn Martin, with the present version flown by hand controls.

Mr Martin has developed the Jetpack over the past decade. It made its public debut – to major international public and media attention – in July at the annual AirVenture experimental aerospace show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

This is TechNZ’s second investment in the Martin Jetpack and follows $500,000 in February 2007 for earlier research and development.

Foundation business investment director Eileen Basher says the TechNZ investment is being made because of the international market potential for it.

“This is a challenging project, but Glenn Martin has a track record of improving each prototype and has experienced people around him to build the company,” she said. “Its success would reinforce New Zealand’s reputation as a high-tech country.”

Eileen Basher said the application for TechNZ funding was closely scrutinised. In approving it, the Foundation had noted the Jetpack had received several firm orders and expressions of interest for many more following its AirVenture debut. Additionally, venture capitalist Jenny Morel’s No 8 Ventures company had invested significantly in the project over recent years, an indication of its commercial potential.

“The potential is not for the Jetpack alone, but also for the engine, which has other potential uses,” she said.

“This TechNZ investment will help achieve Glenn Martin’s goal of getting safe, high performing aircraft to the first paying customers in the second half of 2009.”


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