A beginner trying Jet Pack Adventures — Photo courtesy of Amber Nolan
If your “travel to-do list” is full of extreme adventures, then South Florida’s newest thrill ride will get your heart pumping. Jet Lev R200 is a state-of-the-art jet propulsion pack that uses water pressure to let daredevils live out their dream of flying. After strapping the pack on, riders can soar upwards of 30 feet into the air while controlling the height and direction. Jet Pack Adventures in Key West is the first commercial flight center in the world, and it now offers introductory (30 minute) flights, priced at $268 (plus gratuity).
So what does it feel like to fly? After attaching a safety switch (similar to the key on a treadmill), the Jet Lev R200 will power up like a rocket slowly lifting off–except it doesn’t head straight into the sky. For the first few minutes, it propels you forward, allowing time to get used to steering and for you to trust the pack.
The author gearing up — Photo courtesy of Amber Nolan
For me, this took a few tries to get comfortable. When the jet pack started moving forward, I kicked my feet frantically to try and steady myself–which was not the best idea. I went in the opposite direction: face first into the water (see video below). With some pointers from the staff, I finally figured it out. Steering is easy; just look to the left or right to cause your body to turn–almost naturally–in the desired direction.
Once you get the hang of it and allow the controls on the jet pack to do the work, your instructor will slowly help lift you into the air so that your feet are above the surface. This is where it really gets interesting. The moment your feet come out of the water you’ll want to go higher. Relax your legs (you don’t use them in the air), stare out at the horizon, and soak in the moment. Then lift those controls up to the sky and soar, because you’re doing what many thought was impossible and what few will ever do: you’re flying.
Expert Tip: This is one activity that you would have a very difficult time with if it weren't for the instructors giving you guidance along the way. Helmets are equipped with a speaker system, allowing you receive advice as you are in the air from the team on board the boat. Gratuities are not included, and $100 is suggested.
Take a look at the Jet Lev promotional video (they make it look easy!):