Aussie cash sought to get jetpacks off ground

SALLY ROSE
Last updated 05:00 18/02/2014

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New Zealand company Martin Aircraft hopes to bring the first commercial jetpack to market in 2016 - and it wants Australian investors to back its plans.

Company founder and director Glenn Martin, a biochemist, was a university student when he began designing his dream jetpack in 1981. Today, the 12th prototype Martin Jetpack has a V4, 200-horsepower engine that drives two ducted fans. It has been flown to more than 3000 feet and can travel at up to 74kmh.

Corporate adviser Axstra Capital arranged for Martin Aircraft to meet with investors in Sydney last week in a bid to drum up $5 million to get commercial production off the ground before expectations for a dual listing in Australia and New Zealand late this year or early next year.

K2 Capital Group co-founder Sean Soole intends to invest $100,000 of his own money.

Martin Aircraft chief executive Peter Coker was recruited last year to lead the commercialisation phase. He is a former Lockheed Martin salesman and consultant on military transport policy.

Recreational jetpacks will carry a price tag of about US$150,000 (NZ$179,135). An unmanned courier model is expected to sell for about US$200,000. Military models could fetch up to US$250,000. Roughly $20m has been invested in developing the technology. Accounts show the company has operated at a loss of about $1.5m a year for the past five years.

Once production begins, the goal is to ramp up output over three years and achieve an annual turnover in excess of $75m by the third year.

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- BusinessDay

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