Jet pack 'Rocketeer' hopes to fly from SoCal coast to Catalina Island, set world record | 89.3 KPCC

LA radio station KPCC reports that "Newport Beach adventurer Dean O'Malley will try to set a world record this weekend when he flies from Newport to Catalina Island using a new type of jet pack, powered by water." Yesterday, some very surprised beachgoers and a few tourist watched as O'Malley gave a demonstration. He revved up his jet pack and flew over Newport Harbor, landing off Bayside Beach, then wading back to shore to discuss his plan to fly 26 miles to Catalina Island using a "JetLev." More: Newport Beach jet pack 'Rocketeer' hopes to fly to Catalina, set world record (image: Ben Bergman/89.3 KPCC).



    1. I spent so much time trying to polish my pedantry that you beat me to it.

      But yeah, this is “powered by water” in much the same way that an airplane is powered by air. Reaction Mass might be the better term.

      But then I started thinking about steam power – the steam was not the source of the power – typically that would have been coal.  Yet we don’t bat an eye when someone describes something as steam powered. 

      I think my major objection to the term “water powered” has less to do with whether the term is correct and more to do with that term’s association with woo woo physics.

      1. Yes. Earlier today I read a sentence that contained “drive a car” and “ride a bicycle” and thought that it was not being kind to cyclists. They work for that ride.

        1. If I recall correctly, German uses the same verb for piloting both cars and bikes: fahren
          so they’re perhaps a little more even-handed on this particular topic.

  1. This was on the local news last summer in San Diego. Water jet pack blooper!

  2. I strongly suspect that if anyone investigates this and analyzes what is used to power that giant pump they will find that there is a lack fuel to make a 26 mile trip.

    1. I’m sure there’s more than enough fuel to make the trip… in the boat that the giant black hose in the middle of the picture connects to.  The pump’s probably in the boat too.  I suspect the “jetpack” itself is pretty simple.

  3. From reading the article, I’m not clear on:   What type of world-record would he be setting?

    Longest trip in this type of jetpack, or longest trip in any type of jetpack (Which would seem to be apples and oranges; the other type of jetpack doesn’t require a hose dangling into water).

  4. If you look closely you can see that some portion of the mechanism (and not just a tube inlet) is actually at the water’s surface. Probably some sort of turbine pump, because mere suction aka air pressure doesn’t seem like it would be sufficient to move such volumes of water to such a height fast enough to keep the guy aloft.
    Because of that I’m not sure I can really consider this true jetpack crossing. It would be sort of like parasailing across while towed by a tiny submerged boat and then claiming that you’d set a gliding record. Or somethinPr

    1. Yeah, the entire engine/pump is located in a small boat at the end of the tube that gets dragged along after the user.  The unit that’s worn is just basically the nozzles and controls.

    2. Maybe the record is for longest trip suspended on a column of water?  Technically he’s not even flying, as his vehicle is still firmly planted in the water the same way a guy in a cherry picker isn’t flying. 

      1.  But he’s not being supported by the vehicle. A Kite flies, doesn’t it, even when we’re holding the string? I’d argue tethered ion vehicles “fly” as well, even though they need to be hooked to a ground-based power sources thanks to weight restrictions.

    3. that’s basically a stripped jetski in the water – the umbilical is attached to the outlet of the engine, rerouting through the backpack. 

    1. Yep, kinda! There’s also a much much cooler one that works more like Iron Man’s suit. Significantly more agile and enjoyable to watch.

  5. Yeah so I saw this guy in the bay a couple of months ago when having lunch with my father at Billy’s. I would say the record would be “world’s longest douche-powered flight.” 

    1. I have a friend who, seeing a broken fire hydrant a few blocks away, said, “Somebody needs to get their bidet recalibrated.”

  6. The perfect toy for people who don’t find ordinary jetskis to be quite annoyingly “look at me spending money” enough, taking repulsive egocentric conspicuous consumption to a whole new level.

    1.  Well to be fair, that *is* Newport Beach’s official city motto –it’s on the municipal seal. This is a town where you are considered poor if you only drive a BMW.

        1. The best part about Newport Beach is that if you actually go to the beaches there, it’s almost all lower-income people from inland Orange County cities. And they park on the side streets, absolutely packing the neighborhoods next to the beach, where the cheapest houses are in the millions, with their shitty cars (for the record that describes me too, but I avoid Newport Beach… I live a couple miles inland from Sunset Beach, which is easily the best in Orange County). For a stereotypical privileged rich person it must be a nightmare! 

          The city itself and its residents are quite ritzy, but while the beaches are gorgeous, they’re so crowded it defeats the whole purpose. And the traffic is awful even by SoCal standards. There are dealerships along PCH in Newport Beach where you can buy any supercar you can imagine, but you won’t be going more than 30 mph (if you’re lucky) without going way out of town. I did once see a Ferrari in Newport Beach, stuck in traffic right alongside me, that appeared to have its engine on fire, which was satisfying to see ;)

  7. Should be easy to set a world record given I don’t think there is any current record for “furthest travelled with a water-jet pack”

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