09Aug 2013

The issue of patents and whether or not to patent is a question in all sports. We at X-Jetpacks have worked in sports design (snowboard, skate, bike, “thrill sports”) for decades and have experience with both protective patent approaches and open development. Some sports are open and progress quickly, other sports quickly tie themselves in knots with patents and lawsuits. Windsurfing is the great example here, great sport, never able to progress past the formative stage due to in fighting.

The problem with patenting in hydro jetpacks is two fold.  Jetlev Technologies was able to secure a patent in the US and Australia for a water jetpack.  Problem one because, as outlined below, the technology is demonstrably not original.  The second problem is what happens with an IP monopoly, it stifles innovation and competition.  Because of the issued US and Australian patents, the market are restricted to Jetlev only products for jetpacks.  Jetlev chooses to sell expensive models only, develop the equipment at a snails pace, and offer no choice for the consumer, no chance for competition.  As a result the Flyboard came into the market and ate their lunch, making huge strides into a market that should have been theirs.

Our grandfathers working at NASA and Western New York aeronautical companies did massive research in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s in the fields of individual flight systems. Even a flyboard shows up powered by compressed air. The old saying, “There is nothing is new under the sun” holds true.  The pilot checking his watch at 1:08 is the height of casual.

nasa-flyboard-twoJetlev took the same patent application and submitted it to the European Patent office.  The European Patent office was quickly able to see that the major components of this system were based on Wendell Moore’s work in the 1960’s and the patents that were issued at that time. Simply powering a jetpack by using water (Jetlev) instead of steam (BELL Aerospace) is not a significant step of invention. The European Patent office rejected most all of the claims on this ground. Continue reading

02Aug 2013

The ocean is an unforgiving environment.  It will beat up and corrode the strongest equipment. Maintenance is required for any equipment that is used in the ocean, from scuba equipment to yachts, hydro jetpacks are no exception. The X-Jetpack’s compact design was based off our experience with the Jetlev-Flyer jetpack and boats delicate hardware. We wanted to build a design that would function without complications, that could be user serviced without having to contact the manufacturer to express ship replacement parts.  All of our design solutions were geared to the user being able to have a functioning hydro jetpack to fly.  The other guys use the sales strategy that they are building a finely tuned machine, a luxury device, anyone that can afford a 70,000 dollar water sports toy can afford an engineer to maintain it. As they refer to it, “a Ferrari for the ocean”.

Jetlev-Flyer-Boat-one-year-old-1

Here are the effects on a Jetlev-Flyer, costing 100,000 Euros after one year of moderate use.

Jetlev-Flyer-Boat-one-year-old-3

Here are the effects on a Jetlev-Flyer, costing 100,000 Euros after one year of moderate use.

Jetlev-Flyer-Boat-one-year-old-4

Here are the effects on a Jetlev-Flyer, costing 100,000 Euros after one year of moderate use.

 

Dubious logic soaking a “Ferrari” in salt water.

We decided early in the innovation process to build the toughest water gear we could.  Function and durability.  Carbon fiber looks cool when it is new, not so nice after the sun shines on it for a month or two. We chose to build our frames out of 6061 aluminum alloys, hard anodized, and the powder coated. Car racing safety belts look cool, we liked them too, but they did not last, they corrode, they jam up with sand, they won’t open up anymore. Replace one after it freezes up? Hundreds of dollars. We developed a system based on existing marine sailing hardware, ocean proven design, full marine stainless construction, simple to use, safe clean exit every time.

We tested our system, we tested with the best pilots in the world, we took the feedback and built a better set of hardware, better performance. The real deal, built for the real world harsh conditions. Built to last, perfect for the rebellion.

30Mar 2013
10Mar 2013
10Feb 2013

Testing at the end of February in our Ko Samui testing center.  Final series frames and floatation, Arms and nozzles are production series, high temp powdercoated over hard anodized. The angles are good now, arms relaxed in the correct position.  New harness system works like a charm.

19Oct 2012
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23Sep 2012

Late September testing of the 0.7 version jetpack. Flight reveals some areas for improvement.  The arm angle was way off, as well as the arm length. Axle housing mounted too high, seat a little far back.  Day two modifications better, for some elements such as the vest, it was back to the drawing board.  Good in concept for floatation and positioning, but ultimately to secure for the body and preventing the necessary freedom of movement when still in the water.  The modified aircraft buckle four point system was good for salt water exposure and ease of use, but the opening flaps caught the force of the water and defeated the purpose!   We took all of the input as well as tester interviews and went back to the workshop for version 0.8..

22Jun 2012

We decided to pursue a more specific solution to the modification or ReCap of the jet ski system, something with a more distinctive personality. The nature of a riderless powerplant evoked drones and drone aircraft.  Galactica Cylon or Predator type with a forward radar bulge that actually fit in well with the water channeling requirements and air intake protection in rough water.  Shape of the front more rounded in case of contact with the beginner pilot while waiting in the water.

Jetpack Power Plant,"ReCap" Project, Sketches Nxakt, June 2012

Water jet pack power unit, drone sketch concepts.

Jetpack Power Plant,"ReCap" Project, Sketches Nxakt, June 2012

Diagram showing Scorpion style water power channels for water jet pack

 

Jetpack Power Plant,"ReCap" Project, Sketches Nxakt, June 2012

Final stage concept rendering of water jet pack powerplant.

Jetpack Power Plant,"ReCap" Project, 3D Concepts, Nxakt, June 20

3D Concept rendering of Seadoo GTR ReCap Project

Jetpack Power Plant,"ReCap" Project, 3D Concepts, Nxakt, June 20

3D Concept rendering of Seadoo GTR ReCap Project

Jetpack Power Plant,"ReCap" Project, 3D Concepts, Nxakt, June 20

3D Concept rendering of Seadoo GTR ReCap Project

10Jun 2012

 After spending considerable energy in the planning of a full production setup for powerplants We realized that the 100K power unit was not going to fly. In addition to the huge impracticalities of shipping such large untis around the world, the complexities of the units were simply duplicating all of the efforts that had gone into the original donor jet skis.  Better to use Bombardier or Yamaha’s hundreds of millions of R&D and piggyback off it.  Thus was born the ReCap project.  Recapping involves taking the top off a high output jet ski and modifying the electronics and converting the hull into a strictly high powered, towable, water pump. With the ability to build it locally and service it world-wide.  This would be the thing that could really grow the sport.

Jetpack Power Plant,"ReCap" Project, Sketches Nxakt, June 2012

Initial sketches for SeaDoo GTR ReCap.

Jetpack Power Plant,"ReCap" Project, Sketches Nxakt, June 2012

Jetpack Power Plant,"ReCap" Project, Sketches Nxakt, June 2012

Jetpack Power Plant,"ReCap" Project, Sketches Nxakt, June 2012

Jetpack Power Plant,"ReCap" Project, Sketches Nxakt, June 2012

 

 

Jetpack Power Plant,"ReCap" Project, Sketches Nxakt, June 2012

 

Jetpack Power Plant,"ReCap" Project, Sketches Nxakt, June 2012

Jetpack Power Plant,"ReCap" Project, Sketches Nxakt, June 2012

 

Jetpack Power Plant,"ReCap" Project, Sketches Nxakt, June 2012

08Jun 2012

We took Jetlev-Flyer number three to the island of Mallorca and offered rentals and flight training during the summer of 2012.  Mallorca is right in the middle of the action, crystal clear blue waters and some of the best food on the planet.  It wasn’t all fun in the sun though.  Our purpose in being there was to work out the new technology and build a new jetpack system. The experience was invaluable in seeing both the users responses and the reaction of super yachts owners to super expensive water sports toys.  It turned out that not even the super rich are parting with 100K for a Jetlev-Flyer.

The second aspect of our trip was equally valuable.  Building a training system and user experience. We worked with the trainers to build a manual and a step by step process for managing the learning process.

We took the hard lessons of users on the jetpacks and built new ways to make the experience a better one for training.  Although Mallorca was far away from out production in Shanghai, we were able to start the tooling and test the concepts.

Big thanks to Russel, Christian and Matthias, see you again in the Balearic Islands!

02Feb 2012

We travel to Dusseldorf for the Boot (Boat) show. One of the biggest in the world. The MS Watersports Jetlev-Flyer booth is big, the units are shiny, the price tags are 100,000 Euros. The audience watches the videos, but no one comes in to buy one. We start to question how big the market for 100,000 person flying devices. Flying the jetpack in the photo on the back wall is Philip, one of the early investors in MS Watersports.

02Aug 2011

Seems obvious right?  Water, sport, try to float the user face up?  Not so obvious to our competition!  We saw the first Jetlev machine and thought that the biggest flaw was that it floated you face down in the water.  The first lessons in fact, were teaching you how to roll on your back to get your face out of the water. We recognized immediately the obvious, design a system that direct the user face up!  All of our designs and research models were built and engineered to float our friends face up. We have friends that are going to do crazy stuff, we wanted to give them the best system for floating in the water between flights.

Front floatation from X-Jetpacks.  We predict that the days of jetpack companies in the US and Germany designing jetpacks that direct a user’s face down in the water are drawing to a close.

It is our first contribution to the advancement of the sport.  Enjoy.

11Sep 2009

The alloy frame was welded and anodized in September. the first floatation system was fabricated and attached directly to the frame as per the working plan. Felt like too much forward visual mass.

JetPack Frame 0.1 with front floatation 2010, Nxakt JetPack Frame 0.1 with front floatation 2010, Nxakt JetPack Frame 0.1 with front floatation 2010, Nxakt JetPack Frame 0.1 with front floatation 2010, Nxakt JetPack Frame 0.1 with front floatation 2010, Nxakt JetPack Frame 0.1 with front floatation 2010, Nxakt JetPack Frame 0.1 with front floatation 2010, Nxakt JetPack Frame 0.1 with front floatation 2010, Nxakt JetPack Frame 0.1 with front floatation 2010, Nxakt

09Sep 2009

Working out the system for keeping the pilots face out of the water when waiting or falling in,  while allowing arm movement and control when in the air.

 

Industrial Design Sketches for Water Jetpack Floatation safety

Various methods of construction for jetpack floatation and safety vest

Industrial Design Sketches for Water Jetpack Floatation safety

Various methods of construction for jetpack floatation and safety vest

Industrial Design Sketches for Water Jetpack Floatation safety

Various methods of construction for jetpack floatation and safety vest

11Jun 2009

 

When we first saw Ray Li’s Jetlev on YouTube in 2009, it hit like a lightning bolt. We wanted to try this so bad. Finally we could fly without the constant presence of crashing into hard ground, without rocket fuel, without the noise.  But the cost was 135,000 dollars, the cost of a small plane. And it looked like it was far away from coming to the market. We had to try, there it was, working right in front of us, shaky but functioning. We had to try to build one. We started sketching and researching all the history of rocket belts, patents, theories, old movies.  Slowly we built up a plan for what our “newer, better” jetpack had to be. Here is where it all started in 2009. The early concept sketches.

 

Water Jetpack sketches 2009, Nxakt

From the beginning we wanted to have the floatation in the front for safety. Motorcycle frames and bike frames were strong enough for racing, they are strong enough for holding a pilot in his seat and mounting the power ducts. The double swivel was to isolate the visible effects of the hose pulling on the arms.

Water Jetpack sketches 2009, Nxakt

Early on we knew that in the future electronics were going to play a big part in stabilization and tricks. This plans lays out the differentiation of flow through the symmetric water power channels. We visualized a set of incline sensors that would regulate the water flow to balance the pilot.

Water Jetpack sketches 2009, Nxakt

Aluminum welded frame configuration

Water Jetpack sketches 2009, Nxakt

Diagram of the basics of the structure, at this point we knew from watching the first videos, how important it was to isolate the jerkiness of the arms from the main power tube to prevent oversteer.

Water Jetpack sketches 2009, Nxakt

Powerplant concept, a pivoting rear hull section that would lock the water channels into place directing the thrust of the engine into the main hose and allowing for a hull shape that would allow the water craft (jetski) to be pulled backwards. We were not sure what the water flow would be like into the intake, but interesting concept.

Water Jetpack sketches 2009, Nxakt

Top view of Main Y tube and Nozzles with detachable floatation

Water Jetpack sketches 2009, Nxakt

Perforated backplane sheet for light weight

Water Jetpack sketches 2009, Nxakt

Method of connection the floatation to the backplane, non-quick release.

Water Jetpack sketches 2009, Nxakt

This concept method involved the floatation attached to the backplane, and the entire backplane being able to mount or quickly disconnect from the jetpack frame.

Water Jetpack sketches 2009, Nxakt

Rollercoaster inspired, combination floatation in the front and method of locking in the rider while allowing freedom of arm movement. Requires all of the tension to be maintained in the pivot joint, which in turn requires more material and weight. Concept put on the shelf.

Water Jetpack sketches 2009, Nxakt

More methods of frame structure and arm structure, noted all the sizes of standard bike alloy tubing. The concept of seat height adjustment into the two main frame bars explored here.

Water Jetpack sketches 2009, Nxakt

Methods of attaching seats and adjustablity for height into the jetpack frame.

Water Jetpack sketches 2009, Nxakt

We started to gravitate toward bike hardware and tubing, titanium being possible due to the availability in China, near Beijing mostly, advanced concepts at this stage included adjustable nozzle friction, nozzle brakes, ergonomic grips and palm rests for under mounted arms.