The humble golf cart is not very slick, but it gets the job done. So is there a better way to get from tee to green? In 2013, pro golfer Bubba Watson, along with Oakley and Neoteric Hovercraft, posed this question with a Golf Cart Hovercraft. Now, with the help of Martin Aircraft, the team has taken to the skies with the Golf Cart Jetpack.
Based on Martin’s current pre-production prototypes, the Golf Cart Jetpack can fly as high as 3,000 feet (914 m) and as fast as 46 mph (74 km/h), thanks to a 210 horsepower engine powering two ducted fans. So basically, it’s a standard Martin Jetpack with some extra space for clubs and sand bottles.
As fun as it would be to get a bird’s eye view of the course and watch your golf buddies’ shots from on high, practical considerations might keep this concept on the ground. Bubba insists the Jetpack will speed up play, but in the time it takes to strap in, fly down the fairway, land and take your shot, your friends – who can’t join you in your single-pilot craft – could well be a few holes ahead. And if you’re the kind of golfer who spends a chunk of their game time hunting for balls among the trees, well, the Jetpack will be no help there.
Add to this the 95 dB din, plus the fact that those fans will likely play havoc with any balls the contraption passes over, and suddenly the humble electric cart, or dare we say it –walking, doesn’t seem so bad after all.
But as far as a publicity stunt goes, Bubba’s Jetpack does look impressive, even if Bubba himself isn’t yet allowed to fly it. That’s Martin Aircraft’s VP of Flight Operations, Mike Read, in the video below – Bubba himself is third on the waiting list for pilot training, once the certifications and market release goes ahead.
That goal is another step closer, with the Martin Jetpack announcing in June that prototypes have received Experimental Airworthiness certificates from the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority. The company says that First Responder Jetpackswill begin shipping later this year, with personal versions to follow in December 2017. Both require proper training and certification – and carry a US$200,000 price tag.