Awesome suit? Check! Sweet helmet (AND VISOR!)? Check! Flames galore? Check! Radical body armor? Check! Easy to use and fun?...Not so much :/ This new video produced by our friends at Red Bull demonstrates yet another attempt to get airborne and fly through the skies. This new contraption is just the latest iteration of the now very old idea of strapping a fuel burning pack to yourself and attempting to fly it in a controlled manner. Brave souls have been trying to perfect this idea for over 50 years! (see our blog article showing the early jet pack that flew into the Olympics opening ceremony HERE)
While these "rocket jet packs" certainly look cool, they fail extraordinarily in usability and practicality. The U.S military famously rejected the original jet pack system designed by Bell systems in the 1950s due to the pilot only being able to carry enough fuel for a 20-30 second flight. This lack of usability persists today. It's a physics problem: flight without the assistance of lift (e.g. airplane wings) is very inefficient. Also, there are very few fuel sources and engines that are practical for jet pack designs. All this gear weighs a ton, further limiting flight time and usability. The final problem is that in order to have a longer flight, you need more fuel and the more fuel you carry, the more you fuel burn trying to fly, still leading to a short flight...Whoa! (Keanu Reeves "Mind-Blown" Pic HERE!)
No matter the challenges, something inside us continues to crave the freedom of personal flight. We were in need of a new way of thinking about how to propel the pilot: Enter Ray Li. Ray Li is the genius that came up with the profound idea to use water to power a jet pack. He built the original water powered jet packs under the name of JetLev (now defunct). Ray Li was the first to engineer a way to push water up a hose and through a jet pack that could be flown for hours, controlled easily and was safe (No flames, which might be loss for cool points, but a definite bonus for keeping all your limbs intact). The JetLev water powered jet packs forever changed the landscape of personal flight.
Hydroflight is now the all-encompassing term used to describe a water powered personal flight device. To get an idea of how hydroflight works, check out our "How Hydroflight Works Diagram" HERE. There are now several companies making various hydroflight devices, like jetboards, jetbikes, jetpacks and "hoverboards" (See Buyer's Guide for more info). Hydroflight kits that are ready to attach to almost any personal watercraft (SeaDoo, JetSki, WaveRunner, Honda) now cost as little as $3495 in the Jetpack America Shop and can be installed in less than an hour. The invention of hydroflight has allowed Jetpack America to give flight lessons to over 20,000 people at their rental locations in Las Vegas and San Diego. Hydroflight is here to stay! It is a rapidly growing sport and recreational activity and will continue to be the only accessible outlet for people to experience the freedom and thrill of flying through the air under their own guidance. See you in the skies!