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CHDS MA Alum Chris Kluckhuhn Looks to Future with Jetpacks for Emergency Response

As a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter pilot, Chris Kluckhuhn had been haunted for more than a decade by what he and other responders couldn’t do immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City.

“What if there had been a way to rescue some of the people trapped in the Twin Towers?” said the retired lieutenant commander and founder of the Plymouth emergency-services firm Avwatch.

In 2014, he found a way. He learned that the Australian firm Martin Aircraft was developing a “jet pack” – a single-person, gasoline-fueled, mobile craft that can maneuver into and out of urban and remote sites where a helicopter can’t land.

It’s the first such craft to be developed anywhere, and it seemed ideal for the company Kluckhuhn founded in 2008. Avwatch provides digital and aircraft communications for the U.S. military, government agencies and corporations – and by early 2018, Avwatch’s first Martin Jetpacks will take to the skies, a new element in the array of what he calls “situational awareness technology.”

With a range of 12.5 miles and a top altitude of 3,000 feet, “I saw a lot of operational uses for it,” Kluckhuhn said.

With an open metal frame, hand controls and two turbines for lift, the Jetpack looks like a craft from a futuristic, action movie. But Kluckhuhn and Martin adviser Tony McGurk said there’s nothing fanciful about the machine, which is still in testing and will cost $500,000 when they’re marketed.

“It’s not a rich man’s toy,” said McGurk, who is a retired Liverpool fire chief. “It’s a professional tool for a professional environment.”

Read full article here: http://www.wickedlocal.com/news/20161015/plymouth-firm-has-jetpacks-in-i...