The Christchurch-based company developing a commercial flying jetpack has appointed a former New Zealand Trade and Enterprise head as its new chair.
Jon Mayson, named chairman of Martin Jetpack on Wednesday, replaces Jenny Morel, who will remain on the board.
“The Martin Jetpack is such a great story of New Zealand innovation and I am really looking forward to being involved in the company’s evolution,” Mr Mayson said in a statement.
Mr Mayson was chief executive of Port of Tauranga from 1997 to 2005, and chairman of Trade and Enterprise from 2008 to 2012.
The Martin Jetpack is the brainchild of Christchurch inventor Glenn Martin, who has spent more than three decades and at least $NZ12 million ($A11.17 million) in developing it.
The 115kg jetpack relies on two powerful “superfans” which allow it to fly for at least half an hour, climb more than 1000 feet (304.8 metres) per minute and to cruise at 100km/h.
In 2010, it was named in Time magazine’s 50 Best Inventions list.
Martin chief executive Peter Coker was in Australia last month, trying to drum up interest in the jetpack.
Martin needs to raise about $NZ5 million to get it to production, and the Australian trip gleaned backing of about $NZ1m, he told NZ Newswire earlier this month.
Once the $NZ5m is raised it should take between seven and nine months before it can been sold.
Mr Coker said Martin was initially concentrating on Australia because it was closest.
There had been a lot of inquiries from search and rescue, disaster recovery organisations, the military and mining companies.
The interest came from the Middle East, Asia and the US.
Miners were interested because they could use it to lift equipment and to access difficult areas.
The jetpack underwent a design review in December. Its engine had been upgraded with balance shafts – to reduce vibration – to improve the reliability.
Martin Jetpack now employs about 15 people.