Bubba Watson, the fifth-ranked golf player in the world, just can’t seem to get around a golf course like regular pros. Three years ago, he boarded a hovercraft and glided over fairways, bunkers and water hazards. Now he’s ready to fly over them in the world’s first golf cart jetpack.
The two-time PGA Masters champ is featured in a new stunt video from Oakley and Thinkmodo, the marketing, media and video company that memorably brought you Devil Baby (yes, that’s a thing), Tiny Cop Lifting Car and the Automated Selfie Stick, which strangely never caught on with Kim Kardashian..
Oakley commissioned the new video, which Mashable is debuting here, to celebrate the return of golf to the Olympics when they kick off in Brazil on Aug. 5. Watson is a member of the U.S. Olympic Golf Team. They also commissioned the video to, obviously, promote their sports apparent and their PRIZM sports sun-glasses. Watson’s somewhat nontraditional style of play fit the creation of this radical golf cart design.
In the video, a trained pilot boards what looks almost like a tiny rocket ship, then lifts off and flies over Methven golf course in New Zealand — where the aircraft is certified to fly — as other stunned golfers look on. It’s a feat you could accomplish easily in CGI, but this jetpack golf cart (a.k.a. BW-Air — for Bubba Watson- Air) is real.
Built by Martin Aircraft, BW-Air is actually an experimental aircraft capable of flying at 46 mph and at 3,000 feet of altitude. It runs on regular gasoline and makes about as much noise as a high-performance motorcycle (which means it’s pretty loud), but Thinkmodo’s James Percelay insisted it’s quiet — in a relative sense thanks to a piston-less rotary engine that runs at about 90 db. Its ability to take off and land vertically in relatively small spaces makes it, potentially, ideal for first responders, the actual target market. Martin Aircraft hopes to start selling to fire, police and rescue departments by then end of this year.
Percelay told me that Martin Aircraft is seeking FAA approval and does hope to eventually market the $200,000 aircraft to consumers. Those who do buy this extreme craft for personal transportation will need flight training. Even Watson has yet to pilot a BW-Air, but Percelay told me the golfer is currently third in the queue for training.
And, yes, the Martin Aircraft is already taking pre-orders.
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