I’m going to really date myself here, but when I was a kid one of the coolest things about watching Lost In Space was when they’d break out the jet pack and fly, almost like Superman. Well, close enough. James Bond even did it once. James Bond is cool.
We used to think that one day everyone would have a jet pack and we’d all be flying around like superheroes. Stupid reality had to step in and slap us with things like danger (Will Robinson!) and expensive equipment so our dream of flying without wings never had a chance.
In the last few years a couple of companies have been working toward making flying in such a way not only a reality, but relatively safe to boot. Instead of using extremely ‘splodey chemicals strapped to your butt they’ve managed to basically merge a jet ski with a jet pack. The base (jet ski) acts as a pump and the pack is connected to it with a long fire hose.
Because water is a dense and basically incompressible fluid it takes a lot less energy to push you up into the air than a typical jet/rocket engine, so you can fly around for about 3 hours on a tank of gas. Your only real limitation is the hose connecting you to the base pump, but it’s about 10 meters long which keeps you from flying so high that you could hurt yourself if you fall and the weight of the water in the hose actually helps stabilize your flight.
Thanks to stupid reality most of us can’t afford the approximately $100,000 price tag to own one of these puppies, but they’re beginning to pop up for rental at waterfront resorts. Move over jet ski, I want to fly on water not just glide atop it.
The first of the two companies, Jetlev, has a traditional jet pack design that looks very easy to master. You can even take your hands off the controls and you’ll just hover safely in place. If you think it sounds fun just watch the video demonstrating the thing, then you, too, will shout, “Shut up and take my money!”
Pretty cool stuff, huh? Yeah, that looks about as fun as flying can get, at least for the average tourist. If you want to go full Tony Stark, Zapata Racing has the Flyboard that takes the jet system and places them on both feet and hands, just like Iron Man. You know, only with water. The standard rig doesn’t come all lit up like they do in the video below, but this nighttime show in Qatar is probably the closest thing you can get to being a real-life Avenger.
So the next time an otherworldly force tries to take over our little corner of the universe we can all strap one of these babies on and impress the hell out of them with our water aerobatics…until they blow us to bits. What a way to go.
For a lot more information and videos, check out the companies’ websites and social media pages:
The Jetlev-Flyer website
Zapata Racing Flyboard website
Zapata Racing FlyBoard YouTube Channel
JetLev on Facebook
FlyBoard on Facebook