Philip Bendall has became one of the first people in the world to experience flight in the Martin Jet Pack. On Thursday 27 August 2009 the Managing Director of Segway New Zealand was strapped into the latest prototype and lifted off the ground at Waitangi, New Zealand. The Jet Pack was being demonstrated as part of MORGO 2009.
“I’ve dreamed of a future where I’d be flying a Jet Pack for as long as I can remember, and I think just about every guy knows exactly what I’m talking about” he said afterwards. “The feeling of that moment of lifting off the ground with your fleet dangling down was incredibly exciting! Afterwards, I was standing back marveling at the Jet Pack as it rested on the lawn, surrounded by Segway PTs, taking photos on my iPhone and beaming them to friends worldwide. And I was thinking ‘If there was ever any doubt before, the 21st century really has arrived.'”
The Jet Pack is the invention of Glenn Martin, from Christchurch-based Martin Aircraft Company. It was first revealed at OshKosh airshow, Wisconsin, in 2008, where it made it’s one and only flight to date outside of New Zealand. Thursday’s two flights were the first-ever in the North Island, and the first away from the company’s South Island headquarters and R&D facilities.
“The test pilot flew a demonstration flight in front of more than 100 MORGO delegates, then I was fortunate enough to become not only the 2nd person in the North Island to experience the Jet Pack, but one of the very first not associated with Martin Aircraft. On Friday four other delegates had the chance to fly too, so we’ve all been pretty fortunate indeed.”
MORGO is an invitation-only event that brings together New Zealand’s top technology entrepreneurs to network and share experiences over two days, and features talks by individuals who’ve not only been very successful in their fields but also have an extraordinary story to tell about precisely how they’ve achieved what they set out to do. MORGO is organised by Jenney Morell from venture capital organisation Number 8 Ventures, and this was the 7th annual event.
Segway New Zealand has been in attendance since 2007, showcasing Segway PTs and running Segway PT Polo games during breakout sessions. New Zealand’s PT Polo team – The Pole Blacks – has included well-know technology entrepreurs Rod Dury (XERO, Aftermail), Steve Simms (Tomizone), Andrew Somerville (Biggie) and Seeby Woodhouse (Orcon, Green Carbon). This year the new Patoller PT’s were on display, with the i2 and x2 models shown below next to the Jet Pack.