At last, that staple of air travel from cheesy sci-fi movies and, of course, the Jetsons, looks to be reality soon: The Wall Street Journal reports that a New Zealand company plans to have its jetpacks up for sale next year, and at least 10 already have been reserved for American customers. Some of the specs of the device from the Martin Aircraft Co.: It can fly up to 7,000 feet at 50mph; it has a gas engine that powers twin-ducted fans; pilots can stay aloft for a half-hour; and the biggie—it will cost $150,000.
Much of the story focuses on how New Zealand aviation officials are struggling to figure out how to categorize the aircraft, whether pilots will need licenses, where they can and cannot fly, etc. As for the US, the FAA says jetpack users might not need a license if it gets classified as an "ultralight" craft. All is expected to be ironed out before they go on sale in about 10 months. But don't expect a Jetsons-like revolution: The story ends with this quote from a top New Zealand air official: "Are we going to see people commuting to work in a jetpack? No, we are not." (A smaller "jetpack" already is flying in Florida, but it's a babe in comparison.)