JetLev Water Powered Jetpack

By Evan Ackerman

The big reason why it’s not the future and you don’t have a jetpack is fuel. Jetpacks are necessarily a compromise between the amount of fuel they can carry and the amount of weight they can lift, and so far the best you’ve been able to expect is 10 or 20 minutes of flying time. So if somehow you could get the fuel off of the jetpack, you’d be good to go… And that’s what the JetLev does.

The JetLev is a jetpack that’s powered by water. It doesn’t carry the water with it; rather, it’s got a 140 foot long flexible tube attached to a little boat that you drag along behind you. The boat has a 4 stroke 115 hp engine in it that pumps water up into the jetpack at 100 psi, and when that water comes shooting down out of the two nozzles at the sides, it puts out enough force to lift a person up to 50 feet in the air at speeds of 50 mph. Since you’ve got about 326 million trillion gallons of propellant at your disposal (and it recycles!), the only limit to the range and endurance of the JetLev is the gas in the motor boat pod thingy, which currently gives a range of nearly 200 miles.

There are downsides to being restricted to water, but upsides as well… Namely, if anything goes wrong, you’re no more than 50 feet away from a splash landing. The JetLev is reportedly a cinch to operate, and it costs about $128,000.

[ JetLev ] VIA [ Wired ]

7 thoughts on “JetLev Water Powered Jetpack”

  1. Ok, a few mistakes,
    The hose isnt 140 ft long otherwise you could fly at 140 ft, They have limited it to 15 mtrs or about 40 ft high. Why not say!!!!

    Unlike conventional aircrafts and jetpacks, the innovative Jetlev concept greatly improves thrust-to-weight ratio by locating the propulsion engine, fuel and related systems on a separate vessel tethered behind the jetpack, and uses water as the jet propulsion medium because its high density can carry vast amounts of power at much lower velocities, and generate nozzle reaction forces much more effectively, than gases. The Jetlev’s design and development was guided by six important principles:

    * Safety: Extensive research and test results helped us develop many safety features and “best practice” operating procedures. Although falling from height or at speed is inherently risky, from our experience falling from the JETLEV-FLYER is rare, and platform diving from 10 meters has been widely practiced for over a century with excellent safety records. Central to our safety design is using water as a safety net and enforcing low flight ceilings by restricting hose length. The jetpack’s 5-point quick-release harness, protective back rest and head support, safety saddle and inherent floatation are just some of the many other safety features.
    * High power-to-weight ratio: Traditional designs of airplanes suffer from low thrust-to-weight ratios which limit their performance and agility. Even F/A-18 E/F fighter jets can barely overcome the force of gravity. To achieve a dramatic improvement in this ratio, we decided to locate the propulsion source on a separate boat-like unit, and transmit low pressure, high flow water to the jetpack through a supply hose and generate thrusts by nozzle reaction force.

    * Inherent stability and effortless control: Our design incorporates built-in stability features to keep the pilot upright and return the jetpack to its centered position automatically. Even though the jetpack can generate upwards of 500 lbf (2220 N) of thrust for lift and propulsion, the flight controls are isolated from that thrust and only take a few ounces of effort to adjust.
    * Simple, intuitive flight controls: Fly-by-wire digital throttle control; nozzles angles determine allocation of thrust between lift and propulsion (forward, neutral or reverse); differential nozzle deflection generates yaw moments; and weight shifting from side-to-side generates roll moments.
    * Flexible supply hose/tether: A flexible water supply hose delivers power to the jetpack with pressurized water. It also serves as the tether, enforces a flight ceiling, discourages the pilot from flying over land, acts as a stabilizer, dampens vibrations, and maintains forward heading stability of the jetpack in flight.
    * Recreational use: We decided at the outset that jetpacks are not practical for commuting and should primarily be designed for recreation including short term rentals. For that purpose, they must also be very simple to learn and operate. Intuitive flight controls, inherent stability, and an effective training system means that most student pilots can learn to fly solo within a few minutes of in-water instructions.

    The smoothness, stability, control, performance and ease-of-use surpassed even our wildest expectations. Once you try Jetlev flight, we think you will appreciate why we are so excited over the results. Key features of the pre-production prototype:

    * Jetpack dry weight (approx.): 30 lbs (14 kg)
    * Maximum Thrust: 430 lbf (1,900 N)
    * Thrust-to-weight (150-lb or 68 kg pilot, at takeoff):
    2.3 : 1
    * Measured top speed (150-lb or 68 kg pilot): 22 mph (35 km/h)
    * Hose length: 33 ft (10 m)
    * Flight ceiling (measured at feet level): 28 feet (8.5 m)
    * Duration at wide open throttle (approx.) 1 hour
    * Duration at cruising speed (approx.) 1.5-2 hours

    Our first production model JETLEV-FLYER is undergoing final testing by MS Watersports GmbH and results will be available soon. There will be three versions, one with a 155 HP engine and one with 215 HP and one with a 300 hp. Top speed of the 300 HP model is expected to easily exceed 62 mph (99 km/h), and flight ceiling will still be restricted to 28 feet (8.5 m) for safety reasons. Specifications are subject to change and will be announced after final testing has been completed.

    For performance and duration records and other special applications, future versions of JETLEV-FLYER could reach speeds in excess of 65 mph (104 km/h), altitudes of 50 feet (15 m), cruise duration of 5 hours, range exceeding 180 miles (300 km), and carry payloads in excess of 1000 lbs (454 kg). Ultimately, it is largely safety considerations, not technical limitations that will dictate the limits of design.

    Besides the obvious recreational and entertainment applications, there are many potential practical applications of Jetlev technology including beach patrol, search-and-rescue, offshore services, marine/bridge inspection and maintenance, maritime safety, harbor security, anti-piracy missions, and the military.

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