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updated 11/25/2010 2:28:02 PM ET 2010-11-25T19:28:02

A personal aircraft that requires minimal training and no pilot's license is about ready for production.

"We're trying to make the world's easiest-to-fly aircraft," Richard Lauder, chief executive of New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft Company tells Discovery News. "Our goal is to create a Segway for the sky, where the principles of flying would be very simple."

It certainly looked that way in the movies and TV shows of the 1960s and 1970s, when everyone from James Bond to Gilligan strapped on a jetpack for a thrilling change of scene.

"I think there's been an interest in this type of flying vehicle ever since man started to fly," said Dick Knapinski communications director for the Experimental Aircraft Association, a non-profit organization. "Going back to Buck Rogers in the '30s, '40s and '50s, it was assumed that within 50 years these things would have become commonplace. It hasn't gone quite as quickly. I think there's a lot more engineering in it than one might perceive."

© 2012 Discovery Channel

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