Wednesday, May 25, 2011
JetLev Water-Powered Jetpack
I saw this article in Popular Mechanics (http://www.popularmechanics.com) about a new toy being developed to replicate a jetpack but by using water. Very interesting. Honestly, I would not want to try it.
Full article: http://www.popularmechanics.com/outdoors/sports/watersports/jetlev-water-powered-jetpack-test-flight-exclusive-video-5525115
Below is an excerpts of the article for your reading pleasure.
Clearly, the purpose of science is quite simple: to provide humanity with jetpacks. Yet so far it has failed to deliver. Sure, there have been rocket belts, like the one seen in the 1965 James Bond film Thunderball. But the expensive, difficult-to-use hydrogen peroxide propellant is only good for about 30 seconds of thrust, relegating the technology to the status of curiosity.
Finally, things are changing. Starting next month, a Florida-based company, JetLev, will begin delivering the first commercially available jetpacks. JetLev invited PM to be the first publication to experience the technology firsthand by taking a unit for a test-fly. So this past Sunday morning I arrived at a small park next to a canal near Miami and found JetLev test pilot Stephen J. Grey and two of his colleagues waiting for me. The jetpack hung in a bright yellow steel frame. After performing some demonstration flights, Grey returned the machine to its frame and helped me strap in.
The JetLev is not quite the free-flying machine we all assumed we'd have by now. (In fact, it's technically not an aircraft but a boat, registered with the Coast Guard rather than the FAA.) Instead of hot gases, the machine shoots water from its nozzles, yielding an equal-and-opposite reaction to keep the user airborne. It's like riding around on a pair of fire hoses. The water comes via a 33-foot-long, 4-inch-diameter flexible hose connected to a modified personal watercraft. A 225-hp motor at the far end of the hose sends water up to the backpack and out to the nozzles at 1,000 gallons per minute. The JetLev can wander hither and yon for hours at a time, pulling its pump behind at speeds of up to 24 mph.