Sunday, January 1, 2012

Kidder's Got His Eye on a New Summer Toy!!!

If you live in Minnesota, you become conditioned to life with two seasons, the hot one, and the cold one. Sure we average a couple of weeks of that perfect 70˚ish temp in the fall and spring but we also have to accept that we may wake up to 4 feet of snow on Halloween morning. The summers are awesome if you like hot humid days (and I do) blended with cool (sometimes crisp) nights that are perfect for a polar fleece and a bonfire. If you live here, you also either live on one of our many beautiful naturally spring-fed lakes, or know someone who lives on one of those lakes and, therefore, visit often.
water jet pack
In the early spring Minnesota lakeshore enthusiasts attend boat shows, seeking the ultimate boat lift accessory or dock-mounted, solar powered brat grill. With sweaty palms we ceaselessly page through the Overton's catalog seeking absolutely unnecessary materialism with a fervor that should be considered excessive by the standards of any midwesterner. Wetsuits designed to squeeze the last bit of waterskiing fun into late September, Jetskis capable of traveling at thrice the speed of sound, and the newest wakeboard towers that guarantee that your kids will win medals at the next X-Gravity Game Extreme-Sport something, are available to everyone with a passion for watersports ;) and enough coins in their purse to make the purchase.

While I do dedicate a fair amount of time each season to research the newest advancements in electric wakeboard boats, this year I've got my eyes fixated on something completely different. I want to fly and now I can actually buy a jetpack that will allow me to skim above the water with enough grace and agility to make Buck Rodgers look up from sodimizing Twiki long enough to become green with envy. It is called JetLev-Flyer and now that I've seen it, I'm going to need to make extra room in the boathouse.

ultralightUnlike traditional jetpacks that only allow for VERY limited flight times, this one tows it's power plant behind in the water, allowing pilots flights of fancy that exceed 30 minutes of sustained hovering. The tech is essentially a jet ski that directs the water through a hose to steerable nozzles affixed to the pilot's back. For less than $100k, anyone can fly. This price is steep especially when considering that the most expensive wakeboard boat with every bell and whistle I could imagine only tops out at about $89k. Even the Quicksilver GT-500 Ultralight that I tooled around in back in the '90s topped out at $55k after floats, ballistic parachute, and upgrading the Rotax engine. But there is a lot more to aircraft ownership than simply the cost of the lamest and least air-worthy aircraft that I've ever flown. Storage and airport fees aside, maintenance on aircraft is much like tending live animals. It is a constantly annoying and expensive undertaking that leads to traumatic and heartbreaking disaster should it be handled with half-assed efforts. The JetLev on the other hand is more like an ATV than an aircraft. I took a look at their patents and I think it is only a matter of time before another company comes in and offers the same gear for a significantly reduced rate. Hardware alone, this tech could easily be reproduced and sold for between $10k and $14k and when that happens, I'll be the first in line with money in hand.

Get ready folks! Soon you'll see Kidder flying around like a cosmonaut with a vodka enema.

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