London, July 30 : A New Zealand-based inventor has developed a real-life jetpack that can actually enable people to fly just like Superman.
Glenn Martin, who worked on this invention in secret over the past 10 years, unveiled it at AirVenture, an annual experimental aerospace show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Glenn's son Harrison was the pilot who showed it off without mishap.
The company has also launched an accompanying website, which calls its invention the "world's first practical jetpack".
The description of the Martin Jetpack on the website suggests that it does not have very sleek looks, and would come without music system options.
The website also says that commuting with the jetpack will be noisier than a visit to a two-stroke lawnmower derby.
Technically, adds the site, it is an ultralight aircraft that is already in compliance with regulations of the Federal Aviation Authority in the United States.
According to the company, buyers would not require any special licence to fly the jetpack.
The company, however, stresses that a training course for buyers may be made mandatory.
"To attempt to fly any aircraft without professional instruction is extremely foolhardy," the Independent quoted the site as saying.
The company also has plans to deal with situations wherein a buyer fails the training.
"If for some reason they're not co-ordinated enough, we'll send them their money back and give it to the next person in the queue," Martin said.
A company official in New Zealand said that the books were open for orders at once at a price tag of about 50,000 pounds.
"We are not going to guarantee an actual delivery date, "but we are saying 2009, roughly 12 months from order," Jan Harvey said.
Martin is not sure whether his jetpack will one day replace the automobile as the transport mode of choice.
He instead feels that it will become more of a sports toy for the very adventurous.
"I've made the jetski for the sky," he said in Oshkosh.
The model displayed at the show can presently fly between 3ft and 6ft off the ground.
However, in theory, the pack can fly unimpeded for 30 minutes and go as high as 8,000ft.
Instead of airbags, the jetpack comes with a parachute deployed by a small explosive in the event of disaster aloft.