jueves, 3 de febrero de 2011
Water-Powered Jetpack Runs Two Hours on Single Tank
magine a fire hose in full, glass-smashing flow. Now imagine that it has gotten loose, and is whipping and snapping like a spastic cobra, at such terrifying speed that it is almost impossible to see its flailing tip.
Now imagine that you are strapped to the end. Congratulations. You are riding the JetLev Flyer.
Unlike “ordinary” jetpacks, the JetLev is actually two vehicles, tethered by a hose the thickness of your thigh. On the water is a small speedboat-like unit which contains a 250 horsepower motor and a pump. This is connected to the pack — into which you strap your frail body –- by the 10-meter [33-foot] hose. The water is pumped from the sea or lake below, up to the nozzles on the jetpack, giving a 1,900-Newton [430-pounds-of-force] thrust, enough to lift even a fat human of up to 150 kilos [330 pounds]Because of that hose, you are effectively tethered to the water, meaning your maximum altitude tops out at 8.5 meters [28 feet]. Your horizontal distance is only limited by flight time, however, and you can scoot around at 35 mph for up to two hours. Control is fly-by-wire, so the thrust handles are easy to twist, kept away from the intense pressure of the water.
I love it. All the fun of a jetpack with almost none of the dangers. Falling 30 feet onto water might not be pleasant, but neither is is going kill you. And two hours of flight time is way more than what you’ll get from a “traditional” jetpack.
The rub is that this costs $100,000 to buy. At this price, it is aimed more at water-sports–rental businesses than at the private user, although I’m sure plenty of luxury yachts will be adding them as essential equipment. Expect to see this in a James Bond movie soon.