Futuristic water-powered jet packs unveiled

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A futuristic water-powered jet pack which can hover up to 30ft in the air and reach speeds of 22mph has been unveiled at the London International Boat Show.

The jet-pack, which works by forcing water through a downward pointing tube, has been developed over the past nine years by Canadian engineer Raymond Li. It was shown shown off on the River Thames to excited fans outside the ExCel centre in east London.

The James Bond-style jet pack, as the media has chosen to call it, comes as a very juicy piece of news specially for 007 fans. The Jetlev-Flyer was seen in Sean Connery's Thunderball. The jet-pack comes with a price tag of £110,000.

How the Jetlev-Flyer Works

SUPPORT

Li built the backrest out of fiberglass, glued a thick layer of rubber foam to the front so it wouldn't sink when he takes off and lands, and attached a four-point racecar-style harness to lock himself in. He also added a crotch belt, a unicycle-like seat and an acrobat's trapeze for a footrest; all help to keep the operator in optimal flying position, explained Popular Science.

POWER

Li custom-built the first boat unit out of plywood and fiberglass, but his latest prototype is an extensively modified Jet-Ski with a 215-horsepower engine, which powers an onboard pump attached to it by a direct-drive shaft. The pump connects to a 33-foot-long, four-inch-diameter polyester-and-rubber hose. The production craft, a smaller and lighter pod, will come with a 260hp engine.

THRUST

The Y-shaped assembly on the back, as well as the jet nozzles and the handlebars that steer them, are custom-fabricated aluminum tubes. Li attached the assembly to the harness above the body's center of gravity so that, in flight, the operator is suspended beneath it. He takes off from the water, hits a trigger on the handgrip to start the pump on the pod behind him, turns the throttle, and two streams of high-velocity water of up to 60 psi lift him as high as 30 feet in the air. To go forward, he pushes down slightly on the handlebars, angling the nozzles to a maximum of 45 degrees.

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