Even since the days harking back to the tales telling of young Icarus, who glued feathers with wax onto his body in an attempt to fashion his own set of wings, flight has been one of humankindâ€™s biggest fantasies. With the work of the Wright brothers in developing the airplane, man came a whole lot closer to his dream of soaring in the clouds. However, the most elusive of all remains is the realization of the desire of free flight, without having to travel in a machine. Since the 1920â€™s, one term has been occupying the thoughts of these free flight enthusiasts, the jetpack. By combining a fuel storage and propulsion system into a device, which could be worn by a person, a jetpack remains the closest way for a person to experience true free flight.
However, the constraints imposed by modern technology have restricted this, primarily due to our inability to procure a high-density type of fuel, which would ensure consistent propulsion for more than a few minutes at best while making sure the propulsion mechanismâ€™s weight does not exceed its thrust. This also highlights the risk associated with developing such technology, since running out of fuel during flight would be something no one would want. Therefore, it seemed we were stuck just as if flightless birds, until the introduction of a remarkable new technology, called the Jetlev.
Eschewing the traditional methods of human levitation, in the year 2009, the first water propelled jetpack was announced. The JetLev, as it is called, used water to propel the wearer and to keep them airborne. A major safety concern with regard to the traditional jetpack was that combustion of fuel in a device, which was meant to be worn by the user, could render it unusable. The JetLev instead bifurcated the propulsion system, by shifting the fuel propulsion mechanism onto a small autonomous boat, while the user operated the device worn like a traditional jetpack. Since there is no combustion, the device can be worn safely.
The only caveat to this was that the JetLev is for use only on water bodies like lakes, since it requires the boat to propel the water up to the device. This is a major restriction vis-Ã -vis the attempts at true free flight, but it must be noted that this is the closest approximate, free from the pitfalls associated with traditional jetpack design. Since there is no combustible fuel and the device can be operated on large bodies of water, allowing limited levels of tethered flight, the JetLev allows people to have an experience closest to that of true flight, without undue concerns for safety, fuel consumption and the like.
The Future Is Here With Water – Propelled Jetpacks