The Ultimate Sports’ Toy

Photos:  Courtesy Jetpack America

Back from the future, the Jetlev is one of the new revolutionary water sports toys to sweep the country. 

Looking like something out of a Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon comic strip, this Sci-Fi-like water-propelled apparatus can propel a rider, safely secured to an ultralight backpack, up to 30 feet above or below the water.

In level flight, it can approach 30 miles per hour.

General Description

This inventive design consists of two separate units, the jetpack and the boat unit.

The Jetpack is like a backpack with a seat, handlebars and a foot rest called a trapeze.

The boat unit is essentially a jetski body with an marine engine capable of pumping over 1,000 gallons of water per minute and generating over 420 pounds of thrust.

The two units are connected by a 4 inch diameter, 33 foot hose. 

Water is pumped from the boat unit to the jetpack through this hose .

When the water reaches the jetpack, it is directed through 2 nozzles at up to 60 psi.  It is this thrust which propels the Jetlev.

Aiming the nozzles creates smooth, stable turns and the motorcycle-style throttle allows the pilot to climb, dive or hover.

Photo:  Courtesy  Jetpack America


The Jetpack has an ultralight fiberglass composite backrest, an “Easy Ride” pilot seat for improved comfort and support, a five-point safety harness with quick release, handlebars and foot rest. 

The seat, arms and foot trapeze are adjustable to accommodate different size fliers.

The jetpack by itself weighs 30 lbs. and with its built-in positive buoyancy, will float, so there is no worry about it sinking to the bottom of the lake or river should it fall overboard.

Boat Unit

The boat unit, which provides the thrust for the jetpack, is similar in size to a personal watercraft (PWC).  It is 127 inches long, 48 inches wide, 27 inches high and weighs 649 pounds.
It has a 200 HP, 1500cc, 4-stroke Rotex marine engine capable of pumping over 1,000 gallons of water per minute and generating over 420 pounds of thrust.

It has a fuel capacity of 22 gallons which equates to 3-4 hours running time.

Books about Jetlev may be purchased through by clicking the link below. 


Side Bar

“On Saturday, September 29th, 2012, history was made when Jetlev Southwest President Dean O'Malley successfully flew the Jetlev jetpack {26 miles} from Newport Beach to Catalina, establishing a world record for longest distance traveled by jetpack.”1

For more information on this historic flight, Click Here.

AquaFlyer Jetpack System

For those who already own a personal watercraft, the Jetlev may be purchased without the boat unit.

The jetpack system, called the Aquaflyer, includes a:

• Fiberglass composite jetpack
• 50' “infinite-swivel” hose
• Throttle grip for pilot throttle control (this can also be overridden by jet ski throttle for new pilots)
• “Easy Ride” pilot seat for improved comfort and support
• Universal connector which attaches to “…virtually all jet ski models.” 1

Photo:  Courtesy  Jetpack America

Photo:  Courtesy  Jetpack America

Flying the Jetpack

First-time pilots of the jetpack must go through a two hour Certified Pilot (CP) Course which includes a full 25 minutes of flight time with an instructor on the remote throttle.

“Skills taught are elevation control and steering, walking on water, no-handed flying, donut turns and underwater submarines.” 1

 “In the hands of an experienced pilot, the Jetlev is a fantastically nimble machine, capable of high-energy snap rolls, inverted flight, Immelmanns, tail slides, the works.”2

Video - How It Works

For a great video introduction to the jetpack, Click Here.


The jetpack's 5-point quick-release harness, protective backrest and head support, safety saddle and inherent floatation are just some of the many safety features.

Photo:  Courtesy  Jetpack America


“When I was 14 years old, I watched James Bond fly a jetpack in the movie “Thunderball,” and I have dreamed of flying one ever since. However, after decades of patiently waiting, jetpack technology didn’t get any closer to mainstreaming personal flight … so, I decided to invent a machine that would.”     Raymond Li, Inventor

Sometime in the year 2000, Raymond Li, a Chinese-born Canadian from St. John’s Newfoundland, took the first step toward the achievement of this dream.

He sketched a proto-type of the Jetlev on a yellow Post-it, but for three years he didn’t do anything more with it than to keep it somewhere in the back of his mind.

Finally, in 2003, he decided to follow through with his dream and began extensive research, concept development and testing.

In 2004, with assistance from the National Research Council of Canada, Ray conducted a series of unmanned flight tests.

In 2005, Ray Li relocated to Dania Beach, FL where he and his “… crew of daredevil engineers and test pilots cautiously initiated the first in a succession of meticulously planned, manned flight tests.”

The first fully operational prototype was completed in August 2008 and for the next three years the team worked to perfect it.

In early 2012, after “…hundreds of flights, thousands of hours and countless modifications…” Li launched the R200.

Special Thanks

I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to Dean O’Malley, Jetpack America President for allowing me to use some of the images from his company’s website,

Photo:  Courtesy Jetpack America

References and Resources

1 Jetpack America

2 Wall Street Journal
Rumble Seat columnist Dan Neil.

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