Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bid On EBay to Be a Jetpack Test Pilot

The Martin Aircraft Company of Christchurch, New Zealand is selling the opportunity to be a jet pack test pilot on EBay.

The bidding closes tomorrow. The current bid is $31,100. Fortunately it's free shipping.

Working jetpacks have been around since the 1960s, but according to a Wall Street Journal article from March of this year, only 13 people are known to have flown jetpacks without a line connecting them to the ground. Flights typically last all of about 30 seconds, which the FAA doesn't even deem long enough to be considered a flight.

Probably the most famous of those pilots is Bill Suiter, 64, who flew in the James Bond Film Thunderball in 1965 and also at the opening ceremonies for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Suiter's credentials for becoming a jetpack test pilot were that he was of draft age and he lived next door to the engineer in charge of the military project. He still flies jetpacks for Thunderbolt Aerosystems.

There is a Facebook group called I Want to Fly a Jetpack dedicated to the event (only 143 members, get in now and beat the rush).

The winning bidder will get at least 6 flights over a 3 day period of test pilot training, and can (if they so choose), share those flights with up to three other people. The training will take place at the Martin facility in New Zealand.

If you win I'll let you take me along as one of your friends.

Update: Just a email pointing me to the Trade Me (where Kiwi's Buy and Sell) listing for 10 more jetpack experiences. Auction closes October 12!

Martin Aircraft Company (photo)
Total Experience
Wall Street Journal
Thunderbolt Aerosystems

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