The jetpack – which started life as a science-fiction story staple back in the 1920s – is getting closer to reality.

New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft Company lists on the Australian stock exchange today with the promise that it will offer “the world’s first practical jetpack, able to be flown by a pilot or via remote control”.

The company said it is already taking orders for the device, which will be manufactured in Christchurch, and says it will be commercially available by 2017.

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