IT’S an idea that once belonged to science fiction.

But a Hampshire company is developing personal jetpacks to get rescuers to the scene of disasters.

Tech start-up Maverick Aviation is developing hands-free devices which use micro gas turbine engines to propel first responders through the air to inaccessible spots.

They could also be used for maintenance of windfarms and for policing, security and defence – as well as for adventure experiences.

The company was founded by Royal Navy commander Antony Quinn, who developed it during shore leave.

Antony, who trained as a jet suit pilot with Gravity Industries, said: “We are keen to move away from any parallels with sci-fi and superheroes because personal flight mobility is already a reality.

“This is about exhaustive R&D, along with rigorous technology validation processes, to create hands-free jetpacks which can be used for engineering and maintenance tasks, and life-saving rescue roles.”

His team of specialists include chief technology officer Matt Denton – who has worked on the Star Wars films The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, Rogue One and Solo, as well as the Harry Potter movies The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire. He also created the world’s largest rideable six-legged robot.

The business has received money through the innovation agency Innovate UK and has stepped up design and development from a new premises at Fareham Innovation Centre, next to Solent Airport.

Its work is under wraps due to pending invention patents.

Antony said: “Our aim is to make our jetpacks the Land Rover Defender of its kind – a machine workhorse, with affordable units produced for a wide range of industries in the UK and for export.

“Users will be able to strap on the jetpacks as easily as a rucksack and fly safely and intuitively without costly training, opening up the market to potential mass production and remote software upgrades.

“That we can carry out R&D here at Fareham Innovation Centre is to our competitive advantage – there are high-end facilities, complimentary business support by an in-house expert and deep pool of tech know-how from other occupiers.”

Stephen Brownlie, centre director at Fareham Innovation Centre, which is run by Oxford Innovation, said: “Based at one of our 20 workshops, Maverick Aviation is road-mapping technology to the end goal of launching affordable and accessible personal aviation jetpacks.

“In essence, Maverick Aviation is disrupting the market in the same way the electric car is challenging the internal combustion engine.”