Frazier and Ray start to work on the grand idea in Frazier’s garage. In 2005, John Meyers the parts manager at High Performance becomes the first hydronaut, flying a water jetpack attached to the back of a 2002 SeaDoo GTI, 130 horsepower. It flies!
Raymond Li comes to Florida. Frazier is working at High Performance Jet Ski Garage. Ray pitches initial personal propulsion device idea to the boss of the place. Boss is not interested, tells him to talk to Frazier.
In 2003, I felt like I had a good enough concept that I could solicit funding. I asked for help from the National Research Council of Canada and was given a grant. That money helped me move forward, and in 2005, I moved down to Fort Lauderdale to work with watercraft experts. It was a tough time because I wasn’t on a permanent visa and had to go back and forth a lot between the U.S. and Canada. It was a long road, but eventually, around 2008, the prototype started looking better and investors came calling.
Raymond Li, a Chinese Canadian living in St. John’s, Newfoundland, developed the Jetlev (abbreviated from the words Jet Levitation)concept in 2000. Since 2003 he—and later his Jetlev Development Corporation—have been conducting feasibility studies and concept development in Canada. In November 2004, with assistance from the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) and NRC’s Institute of Ocean Technology (NRC-IOT) in St. John’s, Newfoundland, research and development shifted into high gear. The first unmanned thrust tests of the jetpack prototype were conducted at the Ocean Energy Basin in NRC-IOT in January 2005, followed by the first tethered manned flight test in Florida in March 2005. John Myers, Raymond Li, and Frazier Grandison became the first three persons in history to take off with the Jetlev. Since then, three jetpack prototypes, four boat unit prototypes, 26 test pilots, over200 flights and hundreds of revisions later, we successfully completed our pre-production prototype and concluded shakedown tests in August 2008.