EURO BEAT - The Jet Set

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Our in man in Europe, Tim Thomas takes to the air with the Jetlev-Flyer

EURO BEAT - The Jet Set
EURO BEAT — The Jet Set

It may sound sad, but my childhood was formed, in part, by watching Bond movies at Christmas when they were shown, ad nauseam, on TV. Of course, they were memorable for the outrageous array of gadgets that 007 had at his disposal — underwater cars, laser watches — but chief among them was the jet pack that made its appearance in Thunderball.

I didn’t get to watch a Bond movie this Christmas, but then I didn’t need to — because I have seen the future. It’s called the Jetlev-Flyer and it is, quite simply, bonkers.

Imagine, if you will, a Thunderball-esque jetpack, but powered by waterjets, which are fed from a carbon sled through a length of hose. Then imagine that that carbon sled delivers the water at high pressure thanks to a 260hp four-stroke engine, and that it is light enough that you can tow it behind you as you, well, "fly".

Strap yourself into the jetpack-style harness, turn on the jets, and you can hit a height of 8.5m and reach speeds of 20kts. And if you think it looks like it takes a stuntman to fly it, think again.

"Of over 100 people who have tried it," says the company’s Alexander Theiss, "seventy-five per cent of them have been able to get flying within 10 minutes."

The Jetlev-Flyer was the brainchild of a Canadian-Chinese businessman, but it has taken nine years of prototypes and refinements to get it to the point where production can start; the units are now being built in Germany and are available for purchase — for the modest sum of £GB 109,990. Bonkers it may be, but you still want one, don’t you? — Tim Thomas


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