A bit of history: the very first post on Could This Happen was about jet packs. It seemed like the right place to start, given the prevalence of jet packs in science fiction and the implicit (and explicit) promise that by now we’d all be zooming around wearing them.
With the inundation of Olympics coverage, as well as news about security mishaps, doping, and scandalous badminton, viewers may have missed the most exciting part of the lead-up to the Games–the delivery of the Olympic torch by jet pack on the 46th day of the torch relay.
Nick Macomber, otherwise known as the “Jet Pack Man” (not to be confused with the Jet Pacman), wore a steam-powered Go Fast jet pack, which is described in more detail in that first post. Here’s some video of him zooming around with the torch.
The torch relay isn’t the only recent example of innovative jet pack use. A couple in California exchanged wedding vows while wearing Jetlev R200 jetpacks. This pack differs from the ones described on the earlier post; this one is designed specifically to fly over water. The system includes a hose connecting the pack to a boat, which has fuel and a propulsion engine that powers the pack with pressurized water. The water then shoots back out of exhaust pipes on both sides of the pack, allowing the user to fly. The hose helps stabilize the user and also tethers the user to the boat which reinforces a safe flight ceiling and range of flight.
A user can take off in either shallow or deep water, and then navigates via handlebars that extend over the shoulders and are connected to a Remote Throttle Control Transmitter, which allows for steering, velocity, and forward movement. The pack can reach a maximum speed of 25 mph and a height of 30 feet, and can fly for up to 4 hours and travel up to 80 miles.
Right now, recreational rental flight locations exist in Florida, California, Hawaii, and Arizona. If you decide to buy one, you should be prepared to fork over about $100,000, and you’d also need a compatible boat. In case you were wondering, Jetlev does provide special courses for “key members of your yacht crew.” How about combining the two and making a flying yacht? Think of the parties you could have on that thing!
This is the most interesting wedding I’ve seen since the couple who got married hanging from hooks. Although after the nuptials, the bride seems to have some trouble getting off the ground…er, water–let’s hope that’s not a metaphor for the relationship.
Given the publicity surrounding this event, I hope the couple at least receives a discount to use the packs again. You never know when you’ll need a little space from your partner, and a marital spat 30 feet above sea level could get interesting, especially if it involves a chase.