High Flying Jetpacks Soar Over Delmarva Beaches - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

High Flying Jetpacks Soar Over Delmarva Beaches

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FENWICK ISLAND, Del. - If you've ever dreamt of flying, that reality may finally be here.

Soaring with a Jetlev jetpack is the newest extreme water sport on Delmarva.

"People are like holy crap what is that?  Like, it's someone flying through the air," says Ricky Amend, co-owner of Relentless Watersports.

Relentless is the first jetpack rental company to hit Delmarva.  Out of only about one hundred of the flying backpacks manufactured the Delmarva based company owns two. 

Relentless was started by a group of Carroll County friends in their twenties, who discovered this high flying sport the same way many people in their twenties find out about things, "we saw a YouTube video of it," says Amend.

The company got a late start, launching its first flight about four weeks ago, due to a backup with getting the necessary equipment.

Speaking of equipment, how does it work? 

A 200+ horsepower motor pumps water up through a 35 foot long tube, connected to the backpack, which then shoots out 68 psi of water (about the same as a garden hose), at 100 gallons per minute, propelling the user.

With a maximum speed of 35 miles an hour, soaring a possible three stories above the water, like any extreme sport, safety is a top priority.  So, instructors coach users, who are called "pilots," through their flight with a one way radio in the helmet they wear.

That instructor also controls the throttle, not letting the pilot fly out of control.

Mike Traster, a master instructor from Jetlev, the company which manufactures Relentless Watersports' equipment, says "the backpack itself actually provides safety in the sense that it actually creates head, neck, spine, back, and butt support.  So, for a high water entry, you're not going to get whiplash, you're not going to have a spinal injury."

We went out with the Relentless crew on a sunny August Saturday. 

As pilots flew around, some with more finesse, dexterity, and flat out skill than others, a pretty big crowd of boaters and jet skis began to draw around the show.  So much so, that at points it became dangerous to fly, but employees paused the session to ask spectators to watch from a safer location (but not before handing out a waterproof business card).

Relentless typically charges $199 for a 20-minute ride, or $299 for 40 minutes.

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