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Transportation Sci-Fi

Jet Pack Runs For Hours On Water 268

Posted by kdawson
from the got-your-back dept.
Ponca City, We love you writes "Jet packs have been around for half a century, but there's always been one problem: they run out of fuel in around 30 seconds. Now a German company has taken the standard jet pack design, run a fat yellow hose out the back, and connected it to a small unmanned boat that houses an engine, pump, and fuel tank and sends pressurized water up the hose, where it's shot out by two nozzles just behind the wearer's shoulders. Called the JetLev-Flyer, the design purportedly can reach a height of 15 meters, a speed of 72 kph, and a range of 300 kilometers based on four hours of flying time. A digital fly-by-wire system is used to control the throttle. Future designs may achieve higher altitudes, higher top speeds, and extended range, and even travel below the water's surface. The American manufacturers claim it is 'amazingly easy to learn and operate' and they're taking orders now at $130,000 each."
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Jet Pack Runs For Hours On Water

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  • are you crazy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @06:16AM (#26884247)

    and a range of 300 kilometers based on four hours of flying time.

          But based on the actual length of the hose, the range is more like 100 feet.

    • Re:are you crazy? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by GreenTech11 (1471589) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @06:25AM (#26884285)
      The boat is towed along behind the jetpack, so the range is correct, if you are only flying above water :)Which limits the practicality in my mind. If however they can engineer them to work underwater, with a longer hose like those used on old diving suits, then I can see this having a purpose, i.e faster descent times and time spent examining shipwrecks etc.
      • Re:are you crazy? (Score:5, Informative)

        by ToadMan8 (521480) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @08:59AM (#26885103)
        lol; I think they mean the boat / pump thing will be underwater, not the jetpack. Divers are limited by physiological things when ascending and descending, not how fast they can swim. SCUBA certification organizations will tell you one foot per second up and down is about the limit. They already have underwater propulsion things (little units you hang on to that you point in the direction you want to go, and they run of batteries) to combat currents, long distance requirements, etc. that are about as good as required.
      • by rohan972 (880586)

        The boat is towed along behind the jetpack, so the range is correct, if you are only flying above water :)Which limits the practicality in my mind.

        You're right. It's unlike all the other inventions that have no limit to their practicality.

        • by yotto (590067) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @09:37AM (#26885415) Homepage

          This seems more of a limit on a jetpack than I'd be willing to accept. I mean, cruising along 100 feet over the ground (Well, the water) is fine until you hit a dock, or accidentally go over land. Then you've got 100 feet of free-fall.

          As a bonus, you're almost guaranteed for this thing to ONLY fail when you're NOT over water, eliminating the only chance you have of surviving that big of a fall.

          • but... (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            But at least it is compatible with over 70% of the earth's surface

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ArcherB (796902)

            This seems more of a limit on a jetpack than I'd be willing to accept. I mean, cruising along 100 feet over the ground (Well, the water) is fine until you hit a dock, or accidentally go over land. Then you've got 100 feet of free-fall.

            As a bonus, you're almost guaranteed for this thing to ONLY fail when you're NOT over water, eliminating the only chance you have of surviving that big of a fall.

            Right! Just like a jet-ski, boat or any other water craft tends to fail when pulled out of the water. Well, except on a jet-ski, you impact the pier at 50 mph whereas with this thing, you your jets fail and you fall on to the pier or bank. There is no mention of how this thing operates when it's pulled out of the water. The jets may die all at once, causing you to free-fall, or the pressure may drop over a few seconds, giving you are much softer landing.

          • Re:are you crazy? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Goaway (82658) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:20AM (#26885957) Homepage

            As a bonus, you're almost guaranteed for this thing to ONLY fail when you're NOT over water, eliminating the only chance you have of surviving that big of a fall.

            You could just, you know, not try to fly over land.

            Since it doesn't work.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by berwiki (989827)
        yea, because it's safe to skyrocket beneath the waters surface and rise back up. (The Bends) [wikipedia.org]
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by leuk_he (194174)

          YOu have no (big) problems diving deep down and rising quickly up as long as you are not using presusired breathing.

          Free diving [wikipedia.org] with a jet-pack?

      • by Pig Hogger (10379)

        I can see this having a purpose, i.e faster descent times and time spent examining shipwrecks etc.

        Come back when you get certified for SCUBA. The rate of descent is limited by how fast you can equalize your ears (which is about 1 m/s), and the rate of ascent by how your tissues are de-gassing, which has to be slower than 30 cm/s for sport diver certification* (and that can take **WEEKS** in the case of saturation divers).

        * Let's not get entangled in what constitutes "tech diving"... :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SnarfQuest (469614)

        What's the advantage to this, over just riding on a boat? You can get the same results by towing a balloon with a camera attached to it, without risking someones life. The only use I can see for it is for entertainment, like those parachute rides at the beach.

    • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @06:29AM (#26884313)
      It reminds me of the electric car I invented - the one with the really really long extension cord.
      • Re:are you crazy? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ericspinder (146776) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @09:45AM (#26885503) Journal

        It reminds me of the electric car I invented - the one with the really really long extension cord.

        So, you invented the Trolley [wikipedia.org]? Wow, nice to meet you.

  • by richy freeway (623503) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @06:21AM (#26884265)
    It actually runs on whatever powers the engine that drives the pump.
    • by Overkill Nbuta (1035654) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @07:07AM (#26884485)

      The real question should be. Does it run Linux.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by radtea (464814)

      Yeah, typical /. headline: so misleading that you have to read the article to figure out what they're talking about, and 90% of the discussion is focused on either annoyance about or misapprehension of the false headline.

      There's a story below that has a headline about the odds of finding an Earth-like planet within a few dozen lightyears of Earth, but I'm pretty sure the actual story is about a new way to bake pastry. With a /. headline, why would anyone assume otherwise?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rogerborg (306625)

        Yeah, typical kdawson headline: so misleading that you have to read the article to figure out what they're talking about, and 90% of the discussion is focused on either annoyance about or misapprehension of the false kdawson headline. There's a kdawson story below that has a kdawson headline about the odds of finding an Earth-like planet within a few dozen lightyears of Earth, but I'm pretty sure the actual kdawson story is about a new way to bake pastry. With a kdawson headline, why would anyone assume ot

  • A range of 300 km? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @06:26AM (#26884287) Homepage

    I assume this is dragging the boat after you.

    What exactly are the advantages over just simply using a boat?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Demoriel (1478317)
      You pretty much just nailed why this is a totally useless design.
    • YouTube Video (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Maddog Batty (112434) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @07:16AM (#26884525) Homepage

      YouTube video [youtube.com]

      Most people are missing the point of this. It isn't a sensible solution, it is a FUN solution. I would love to have a go.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cdrudge (68377)

        I can think of many more ways that would be quite a bit more fun then spending $130k on this. But hey, if you have the money to blow on it, more power to ya.

    • by wisty (1335733)

      I would presume that it will be mostly used by as a theme park / tourist attraction / eXtreme sports thing. The $200k will be nothing compared to the wages, operating expenses, free t-shirts, and public liability insurance.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by SeaFox (739806)

      What exactly are the advantages over just simply using a boat?

      Is your boat 15 meters tall? You get a higher view, which has many uses.

    • by nmg196 (184961) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @08:28AM (#26884903)

      Same goes for water skiing and parascending... The point is, its fun!

    • I assume this is dragging the boat after you.

      What exactly are the advantages over just simply using a boat?

      Ever see a parasailer? Like that, but for people who enjoy spraying mass quantities of water on whatever is below them.

      Really stretching now, could be used from the deck of a ship to quickly access overhead unloading cranes... if attached to a submarine it could potentially be used for personnel transfer to helicopters... ummm... I think it's just slightly more useful than the jet-pack James Bond used in Thunderball.

    • What exactly are the advantages over just simply using a boat?

      That you don't have to climb up the mast?

      I wonder what millage you get. My bet is that a car is way cheaper (but a different vehicle altogether.)

      Just like with water skiing I see no practical use whatsoever for this device. However, when on holidays, I'd be queuing to try it out.

      Wouldn't be surprised if the hose stabilizes it like a tail stabilizes a kite.

    • by PortHaven (242123)

      FUN!!!!

    • by ArcherB (796902)

      I assume this is dragging the boat after you.

      Watch the video. The "boat" that is towed behind you is smaller than the typical jet-ski and it is tethered to you. You fly where you want to go and the "boat" follows you. It actually looks pretty cool.

      What exactly are the advantages over just simply using a boat?

      Think of this as an uber-cool SeaDoo. A SeaDoo has no advantages over a boat other than it's more fun to drive. Same with this thing.

    • by necro81 (917438)

      What exactly are the advantages over just simply using a boat?

      Because it's totally frickin' awesome, dude!

    • by Gilmoure (18428)

      Um... allows Sean Connery and Roger Moore to take over an off shore oil platform in a more exciting... idiom?

  • by Ihlosi (895663) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @06:26AM (#26884299)

    ... that is, not to have any wires or hoses connecting it to something else on the ground or in the air. Duh.

    Seriously, these guys take some sort of high-output water pump and call it a jet pack?

    • by Gordonjcp (186804)

      Exactly. So, it's not a "Jet Pack", so much as a "Fire Pump", and it doesn't "Run For Hours on Water", it "Runs For Hours On Petrol".

      • by sumdumass (711423)

        It achieve flight by jets of water from nozzles on a pack and it runs for hours over water?

    • by Morgaine (4316)

      As many others have pointed out, the name "jet pack" conveys entirely the wrong meaning. Jet packs are by implication untethered, with the "pack" containing everything required by the jet. So we need a more appropriate name to convey that the pack is tethered, and that the jet is pulling something on the end of its tether along.

      Well the answer is obvious: this is a JET CART, because the jet takes the place of a horse and is pulling the cart (boat) along. Naturally the horse is tethered to the cart, and

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I doubt how anything that makes you spin 300 km of circles around a fixed point in the water (and probably vomiting every now and then) is going to make you look cool.

  • Worms (Score:3, Funny)

    by harry666t (1062422) <harry666t&gmail,com> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @06:45AM (#26884391)
    FTFS:

    > but there's always been one problem: they run out of fuel in around 30 seconds

    But that's what made them fun in the game :)
  • And here is was, thinking that they had an actual jet pack. But this ... this is just a useless toy. Hey - when I want to fly around in the city, a *hose* isn't exactly practical.

    But this leads to some inherent problems with jetpacks and flying cars: fuel problems aside, these things would be *hard* to pilot. Just think about it - you're flying around with your shiny jetpack, at what, 150mph? Imagine the accidents that could happen, or the amount of skill necessary to remain in control of that thing. Same f

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Shrike82 (1471633)

      Same for flying cars. Just look at the number of *regular* car accidents. Adding an extra degree of freedom will not exactly lower down that number.

      It looked fine in Back to the Future Part 2. How hard could it be? They had floating lane dividers and everything. The only problem I can see is that it will add a whole new dimension to being "double-parked".

    • by AC-x (735297)

      Hey don't be so disappointed, it sounds like a _lot_ of fun!

    • by Eskarel (565631)

      I think the whole "control" thing is what makes it a flying car as opposed to a plane.

      You can already fly around the city at 150mph if you wanted to(and can get whatever permits are required) in a plane. Planes aren't even all that fuel inefficient.

      The idea of a flying car is a vehicle that is as easy to control as a car(or easier), but which can fly. This is of course theoretically possible, but the lift system and power generation equipment has yet to be invented.

    • You've just pointed out ONLY possible use for this thing - a training device for Jet-Packers.

      Or what ever the name for people flying around with Jet-Packs would be.
      Rocketeers, Jetsons...

  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @06:57AM (#26884423)
    One of the earliest uses for balloons and large kites was to tow an elevated observer behind a ship. I guess navies will be extremely interested in this. It's much less visible than a helicopter, cheaper, and safer, yet it permits over-the-horizon observation. Think of pirates off Somalia. Currently they can easily see and avoid ships, but fast patrol boats can't see them beyond a few miles. With one of these a small intercept craft can see the pirates, while remaining almost invisible themselves. Think of it as a floating artillery OP and the uses are obvious.
    • by paul248 (536459)

      Just make sure not to fly it over the boat.

    • Actually, no. You have the means mixed up with the purpose. The intended use for the balloons and the kites was to get them the f*** up in the air so that the people in them could make observations. Towing them behind ships was simply a means to do that.

      This thing only goes up 50' high. Not very useful for observational purposes.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by BenihanaX (1405543)

      There are much easier ways to do this than pumping water 50 feet in the air, like say... a camera on a balloon? The only ships going after pirates are sufficiently large enough to carry a mast or helo with enough range that another 50 feet vertical wouldn't change.

      • In your case, you appear not to have understood the Somali problem - the use of small high speed RIBs that can outrun a ship, and will see the fixed mast of a ship at a range that makes it useless for pursuit. You need similar pursuit craft that can quickly put up a mobile OP, and as quickly drop it to avoid observation. Helicopters are expensive to run, probably just too expensive for anti-piracy, balloons cannot be deployed quickly and are themselves higher than the observation point so they can be detect
        • Somali pirates are armed. Some jackass flying around on a glorified pressure-washer is going to have AK rounds coming at him awfully fast.

          A more effective tool for dealing with the Somali pirate problem would be small, cheap UAVs. This toy can get ALL the way up to 15 meters in the air? That's not "over the horizon". Even a small vessel like a frigate has a mast height much greater than 50 feet.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      You're wrong because these days they can just use a quadrocopter or some other convenient ROV form factor and it would be a lot cheaper and more functional. It could be a great means of propelling subaquatic ROVs, though.

    • by will_die (586523)
      Unmaned aircraft with a transmitting camera are cheaper, have long time in the air, have higher range and are not afraid of the shore.
      This thing is for entertainment purposes only.
    • by CmdrGravy (645153)

      I can't believe you've got a +5 insightful mod for that ! This thing can reach a height of 15 metres, is that even at deck level on a Naval Frigate ? I can't see how it would be any use to the navy at all, they have 1001 more suitable tools for over the horizion spying than this several of which are cheaper, more reliable, safer, more effective and more useful.

  • It can't go anywhere a boat can't go. It can't go faster than a boat. It has no more range than a boat. But it carries significantly more danger than most boats ever did. It can go up as high as -- oh my gosh -- 15m... around 50 feet. And it has no payload capacity whatsoever.

    So... what's it going to be used for? Rescuing cats from trees along the river?
    • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @07:17AM (#26884531) Homepage Journal

      So... what's it going to be used for? Rescuing cats from trees along the river?

      Basically the same use case as a parasail towed behind a ski boat. They are a lot of fun, actually.

      • by Ckwop (707653)

        Except that wiht a parasail, if the boat's engine fails you fall safely to earth.

        If the engine fails for the jet pack, you smack in to the water at 100mph.

        I know which one I'd rather ride!

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Except that wiht a parasail, if the boat's engine fails you fall safely to earth.

          Usually you fall safely back into the water, unless perhaps you're being pulled by an amphibious craft.

        • by e2d2 (115622)

          One way you can account for an engine pump failure is to use pressurized tank. When the engine fails you have enough remaining pressure to bring the passenger down safely.

          One concern of mine would be a control failure where nozzle control is lost, leading to a situation where the passenger may get injured. This could be accounted for in design, but is it cost-effective?

          I would just hate to be the guy that has the first accident on this thing, slamming into something solid, or hitting the water fast enough t

  • Water is heavy stuff - you don't have to expel much of it at a mediocre velocity in order to support the weight of a adult human.

    What made those portable jetpacks interesting is that they used a limited amount of reaction mass and managed to expel it with sufficient velocity that it was able to support the weight of the pilot+jetpack.

    Personally, I would be satisfied to see a solution based upon small jet turbines with vectored thrust. In some ways, it would be more tricky to make stable due to the response

  • Prior art (Score:3, Funny)

    by bobdotorg (598873) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @07:40AM (#26884669)

    This is pretty much a human Water Wiggle:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4D_WdavMuKs [youtube.com]

  • So What? (Score:2, Informative)

    by bgray54 (1207256)
    Mario has been doing this for years, and he doesn't even need the "small unmanned boat". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Mario_Sunshine [wikipedia.org]
  • by srussia (884021) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @08:01AM (#26884771)
    to take a ride on the Firehose.
  • Team sports (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dpbsmith (263124) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @08:02AM (#26884777) Homepage

    This sounds like a recreational device, and perhaps an interesting one. Calling it a "James Bond-style jet pack" is rather misleading, though.

    Safety: a fall into water from that height is not safe but not suicidal. I wonder how bad it is to be underneath and accidentally get sprayed by one of those jets? The video clip is silent; I'll bet the thing makes a hell of a racket. I wonder how many waterfronts will put up with it.

    I'm thinking, team sports. An extreme kind of polo or soccer or something. With players deliberately maneuvering to hit each other with the jets and/or tangle their hoses.

    • by TheLink (130905)
      One dangerous bit I see is if two people get their hoses tangled together, or tangled with a fixed object.

      You might not react quickly enough to cut the power, so you zoom round and round, and bad stuff happens.
  • ...idiotic contraption to make noise, and spoil the serenity of my local lake. Fricking manufacturers should be stopped from producing these things that serve no purpose other than to encourage stupid people to waste their money.

    The same retards buy 500 hp speedboats to drive at 60 miles an hour on a mile long lake. Shit-for-brains people like that should be buried young.
    • To allow respectable recreational boaters over 50 to be armed with twin torpedo tubes and surface-to-air missiles. As the NRA keeps telling you, an armed society is a polite society.
  • I struggle to see this as a jet pack. It's more a small boat with a very strange propulsion system. Having said that I wouldn't mind having a go.

    • Yes it is! (Score:5, Informative)

      by camperdave (969942) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:14AM (#26885861) Journal
      I struggle to see this as a jet pack.

      Go and look up what a jet actually is. Here. Let me help you [wiktionary.org].

      jet (plural jets)

      1. A collimated stream, spurt or flow of liquid or gas from a pressurized container, an engine, etc.
      2. A spout or nozzle for creating a jet of fluid.
      3. A class of airplane using jet engines rather than propellors.
      4. An engine that propels a vehicle using a stream of fluid as propulsion.
      5. A part of a carburetor that controls the amount of fuel mixed with the air.

      Pay particular attention to number 4.

  • I have a crane that runs on gravity!
  • Prior Art (Score:2, Informative)

    by Monoliath (738369)

    Yeah this idea is so old, I mean...cmon:

    http://media.giantbomb.com/uploads/0/8178/446755-mario_with_fludd_super.jpg [giantbomb.com]

  • Firetruck? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tim12s (209786) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @09:26AM (#26885315) Homepage

    Is this going to replace/augment the firetruck with a more flexible and maneuverable rescue platform?

    Who says that it needs to be connected to a boat.

  • Oh, sure, it sounds good, but what if the hoses rupture while you're being towed over the ocean-- that's straight water pouring out, at tens of gallons per second! It'll get all over everything! And what are the people running it going to do then, when there's suddenly water all around them? Float? Didn't anyone think this through?

    This does sound seriously fun... and smart too. Shades of Armadillo's EPA visit for their earlier hydrogen peroxide rocket, paraphased "what do you do if there's a fuel spill"

  • This is not a jetpack. It is a device for riding a firehose.

  • Sure it looked fun, but my reaction was more like, "wouldn't it be easier to just ride in the boat?" And if the added feature is being able to gain elevation and move back and forth, well, a cherry-picker in a boat then. Without having to wear the propulsion system on you.

  • Think about it...

    You're off the coast of Somalia. Pirates come at your vessel. You just smile, as 5 members of a special forces unit deploy. Skirting around 45 meters off the water with tactical weaponry, RPGs, and machine rifles.

    Within moments the pirates have been decimated, the few remaining have turned and fled.

    G.I JOE!!!!!!

    Real American Hero!!!!

  • They should put a seat on the part being pulled in the water. Those that "get it" can use the jet pack. Everyone else can ride the boat. :)

    Transporter_ii

  • by Optic7 (688717) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:32AM (#26886069)

    In Soviet Russia... the [waterskier|parasailer] tows the boat!

  • I can see it now, there you are taking a row boat down the river in elegant comfort.... ..then some f**ker flies one of these things overhead fill your boat in seconds and sinks it!

    Am I the only one who thought of that?

  • according to the article its 160,000.00 GBP which according to xe is $227,799.31 USD
    • Oh the second article says they are 100,000 GBP, or $142,362.59 USD at todays rate, but the second article is older...they must have upped the price...oh wait the second one is fox news, nevermind its probably always been 130,000 GBP
  • Clap on - Clap off (Score:2, Insightful)

    by XB-70 (812342)

    Clap on: Amazing device that is completely useless.

    Clap off: Recession (and reality) checks in. End of extremely useless device.

  • The downthrust is water that's being lifted up the pipe - the masses are the same, the speed must be the same, so don't they cancel out?

    Why don't they just block the thrusters and use the turgidity of the pipe to hold the pack in the air?

    • The water direction reverses. Assuming that its exit velocity is the same as the pipe velocity (possibly incorrect) and that it has a mass transfer of M kg/s at a velocity of V M/s, the momentum change is 2MV per second. Conservation of momentum means that this must be transferred to the "pilot", which because of its direction must oppose the change in momentum the pilot must experience due to gravity. Tension in the pipe opposes any net difference between gravity and lift. If the pipe is blocked the liquid
      • by Peet42 (904274)

        The water direction reverses.

        I know; that was the point I was making. For every kg of water fired downwards as thrust another kg must be lifted, thus negating it. At least blocking the end so the pipe fills with water under pressure would give some actual, measurable degree of support. :-)

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