Money no object

Tiffany Ap

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 April, 2013, 11:22pm

The Jetlev R200x should not disappoint anyone harbouring fantasies of zipping around like Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man. The water-propelled jetpack allows the user to rise to a height of just over nine metres. It's meant to be used over water, so riders can blast into the air and then dive back into the ocean or lake with dolphin-like fluidity.

The concept is ingenious, yet simple. The jet pack draws water - or power - via a high-pressure hose tethered to a jet ski that runs in reverse. The jet ski sucks up water, pushing it at 1,000 gallons per minute (3,785 litres) along the 33-foot (10.1 metre) hose, where it then exits through twin nozzles fixed to jetpack, generating thrust.

Each unit starts at US$68,500 which includes a mandatory one-day training course. Certification for friends and family is an extra US$999.

The contraption is the brainchild of Raymond Li, a Chinese-born Canadian from St. John's, Newfoundland. In 2000 he first sketched out his Jetlev concept on a yellow Post-it note, but it wasn't until early 2012, after extensive research and some help from the National Research Council of Canada, that a commercial model was ready to go.

The manufacturer, Florida-based Jetlev, recently unveiled an upgraded 255 horse-power model for 2013.

The basic gear comes in white but for an extra US$5,000 buyers can have their pick of black, red, green, yellow or blue, and metallic silver. A sleek carbon fibre finish is an additional US$10,000.