Jetpack America will stay in Newport Harbor

On Tuesday, May 12th, the Newport Beach City Council heard statements from roughly 30 residents, customers, boaters and concerned citizens regarding the issue of “water-propelled vessels” aka jetpacks or jet packs in Newport Harbor. At the end of the statements, the council members discussed and placed their votes, with 4 voting in favor of regulation around a single operator and 2 voted against, thereby granting Jetpack America the right to continue its operation for at least the next 12 months. 
Here is the statement that Jetpack America president Dean O’Malley made before the council…

“Members of the council, my name is Dean O’Malley. I am a resident of Newport Beach and the president of Jetpack America.

Tonight I would like to focus on three main points… 

#1 is safety.

Some of our opponents have spoken about “potential” incidents and the possibility of one of our first-time customers crashing into a Duffy or a kayak.

As always, safety is our #1 priority, which is why we maintain a 3-to-1 staff-to-customer ratio, why the throttle for our customers is always controlled by our certified flight instructors and why we maintain constant communication with our customers via our walkie-talkie helmets.

The reality is that, in our four years of operation, we have not had a single incident with another vessel on the water. We have the controls in place to keep our customers safe as well as all those around us. How many other commercial operators can say the same thing?

This is why operating in the ocean is not an option for us. I am simply not willing to put my customers in a potentially dangerous situation, the same way Duffy would not ask his rental customers to navigate his boats outside the jetty.  

The second point I would like to make is regarding noise.

In the last council meeting, mayor pro tem Dixon stated in reference to our operation, “I saw with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears and thought, ‘Oh my goodness, I would not want to be living right there.”

As a result of these comments, we conducted our own door-to-door survey of all of the residents who live in the areas closest to our flight operation: Channel Road, W. Bay Ave and Via Lido.

Interestingly, what we found from speaking with these neighbors was overwhelming support.

On Sunday, I submitted the signatures from each of these residents, along with a highlighted map showing the specific location of each house, which demonstrates that the vast majority of people in the potentially affected areas are in favor of finding a workable solution rather than having an outright ban.

The final point I would like to make is on coexistence.

Since we opened in 2011, we understood the importance of cooperating, not only with the city, but with our neighbors, our fellow business owners and all of the other harbor users.

As we have demonstrated over the past four years, we are flexible, we are respectful and we are willing to do what we need to do to make this work, so residents and visitors can continue to enjoy this new and exciting activity.

I apologize for the inundation of your inboxes with emails of support from our customers, but I hope you spent the time to read through at least a few of the 500+ emails to see that we are, in fact, an asset to this beautiful city. 

I truly appreciate the council taking the time to seriously consider all aspects of this debate. It’s not an easy decision, I understand, but hopefully you can agree that a peaceful coexistence is possible, given the right oversight.

I encourage you to consider the reasonable plan your staff has put together, which outlines a single operation in the open area of the Turning Basin.

We are excited to move forward on this plan as soon as possible.  

Thank you.” 

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