X-Jetpacks Lignos Athens Greece now on board for Greece! at the ShowMe! extreme sports exhibition April 10-13, 2014
We traveled with the team, Shaw, Frasier and Keith, to Dubai for the 2014 Dubai Boat Show. Non-stop meeting with customers and building strategic partnership across the region. The response was truly overwhelming. We sold out the show units before the show even started and by the last day of the show units that had been ordered had already arrived in Dubai via FedEx from Shanghai. Frazier met a lot of his contacts from his days in the Ghantoot Marina back in 2010 with Pearl Watercraft. We established a great set of contacts in Dubai for service and training in the GCC region. Great show, great city, can’t wait to get back.
We spent a week and a half showing our jetpacks and answering questions from interested clients, we were able to digest most questions into a few basics.
What are the biggest differences between the X-Jetpack and the “hard shell jetpack” from other jetpack companies #1. Safety, We start with front floatation, the floatation pads on the X-Jetpack are designed to direct the pilot face up in the water after a splashdown, in the hard shell jetpack from others, the floatation is in the back, floating the pilot face down in the water. #2. Safety, our quick release harness is designed from 316 stainless steel marine fittings. The competition’s construction? Borrowed from a car race safety belt the painted steel starts to rust almost immediately with the first scratch. #3. Comfort, our competition runs a single strap right straight up your crotch, has belts that cut into your neck and hard metal fittings on a hard plastic backplate. We divide the bottom strap into two thigh straps, leaving the most sensitive parts of your body untouched, our straps are padded around the neck and our backplate is padded Cordura and comfortable and friendly. #4. Control, our nozzles have double rows of bearings that keep them moving smoothly with no change under pressure. Hard shell pack, no bearings, tight when the pressure comes on. #5. Control Torsion bar, nylon smooth. related to the steadiness of the bearings in the shoulder nozzles, smooth and progressive flex. The hard shell pack, tight inflexible carbon fiber rod “arrangement” that often breaks on the first day of use. #6. Control saddle. We have anatomical padding and side wings that automatically stabilize the pendulum swing of your legs, a quieter more stable ride for beginners and pros alike. The hard shell jetpack seat? Ask anyone that has flown it, total crap. #7. Ease of use, 360 degree swivel on the hose, spins in flight, easy unwinding of the hose at start-up.
What horsepower is needed? Horsepower is related to two factors, weight of the rider and how high you want to fly out of the water. For light to average riders in a beginner flight operation, we have had success with 150 horsepower engines. Naturally, the more horsepower, the more weight that can be flown higher. 150-180 horsepower is the good zone of horsepower for rental operations. For performance, 200 horsepower and above.
How high can you fly? An experienced pilot with a high power jetski can get up to 10 meters high. A beginning pilot with a meter or two of air under his or her feet feels the exhilaration of free flight, height is secondary!
How deep can you dive? As deep as your ear equalization would allow you to go, up to a depth of about eight meters. In actual use about two to three meters is reasonable. Naturally you have to be very sure that the underwater environment is free from any obstacles. Diving is not a usual part of jetpack flight, some people just love to push the limits up and down!
Who controls the power? The X-Jetpack system is a tandem system, the rider on the jetski controls the power. The pilot on the X-Jetpack controls the angle of flight, turning and the height for any given engine setting. With any engine setting the pilot has many options on how to direct the energy and fly.
What do you think of throttle systems? We continue to work on jetpack-based throttle systems and watch the market for developments. We have had experience and heard stories of other people’s experiences with add on throttles. There have been some unpredictable occurrences with the modified systems that the other companies have manufactured. We have heard of engines going to full power when the engine is started and tales of twisted and broken throttle cables in hoses. We have elected to go with a system that maintains the jetski powerplant control system in manufacturers original condition. Simple, direct, not sketchy.
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.
Jetlev 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
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”.
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.