Soon, whiz around in strap-on mini helicopters!

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Sydney, August 4 (ANI): Tourists visiting New Zealand will soon be able to whiz around in a strap-on mini helicopter to get their thrills.

According to a report in www.news.com.au, Glenn Martin, a Kiwi inventor will launch public flights in the latest jetpack flying technology early next year, with plans to expand to Australia soon after.

Called 'The Martin Jetpack', the personal strap-on aircraft is a two-litre jet-powered engine designed to soar across the skies at 100km/h at heights of up to 50 metres.

For now, the first public flight program will be limited to low and slow flying in a controlled area while the Christchurch-based company road tests the safety and limits of the engine.

"Just because we have to stay under 10 metres high and under 10km/h doesn't mean it won't be an incredibly exciting experience," said Martin Aircraft Company chief executive Richard Lauder.

"It will still be flying as it's never been done before, just in the confines of a rugby field-type space," he added.

The flights are expected to cost about the same as a bungy jump or a tandem skydive, and will require just a few minutes training before a person can strap in and take a solo flight.

"It makes sense to start this up at our Christchurch base but ultimately we want to take to Australia, the US and the rest of the globe too," Lauder said.

The public flights have been decades in the making for Martin who first developed the jetpack design in 1981.

The invention didn't grab world headlines until a streamlined version was launched at the United States annual show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin a year ago.

Since then, orders have been rolling in for the first 100,000 (US) dollars packs, with at least two wealthy Australian businessmen among those most keen to own one.

But, according to Lauder, the company has had to halt personal orders until a big commercial operation like a military agency, border control or rescue organisation has trialled the packs.

"We had to rethink our plan to release it to make it very safe," he said.

"As much as we wanted to sell to very keen Australians, we need to see it used successfully by a corporation with strict protocols and structures in place before we just start giving them out for members of the public to fly around in," he added. (ANI)

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