By Trevor MoggProvided by
It's been a while coming, but Raymond Li and his fellow engineers are finally in a position to bring their water-powered jetpack to the commercial market, turning the ultimate childhood fantasy into reality for millions around the world. Well, maybe not millions. You see, the jetpack will set you back $100,000.
For those who can afford it, the JetLev R200 will be available in spring 2012 with the company already taking orders via its website.
The jetpack is powered by water pumped at more than 1,000 gallons per minute from a 200-horsepower marine engine up a 10-meter hose -- connected to you (or your jetpack, to be precise). It's the thrust of the water gushing out of two ground-facing nozzles coming out of the jetpack that enables you to take to the skies.
This means, of course, that you can only fly over water. This is just as well though, because if things take a turn for the worse mid-flight, you'd much rather land on a soft watery-type substance than a rock hard concrete-type substance, right? Fortunately the pack on your back also doubles as a flotation device, so when you do return to the Earth's surface, you'll have no worries about drowning.
The JetLev jetpack is capable of speeds of up to 25 mph at a height of nine meters and can travel for a distance of 80 miles.
Florida-based Li says on his website that he first came up with the idea for a water-powered jetpack 11 years ago. Since then, the Chinese-born Canadian has dedicated himself to developing the R200, which has involved "numerous prototype iterations, dozens of test pilots, hundreds of flights, thousands of hours and countless modifications."
The part that concerns me is the "dozens of test pilots" bit. Why so many? What happened to them all? Let's just hope they're all safe and well and didn't succumb to some unfortunate jetpack-related calamity during a test flight one afternoon.
Take a look at a demonstration of the JetLev R200 below. It has to be said, those flying the jetpack in the video make it look very easy, though unfortunately you'll have to fork out $100,000 to find out for yourself.
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