Heads were turning when a man wearing a jetpack was flying over Lake Hopatcong near Great Cove on July 15 powered by what appeared to be lake water. So, who was this man, and what was this contraption anyway? Lake Hopatcong News & Reviews tracked down the mystery man – Matt Rosenblatt, co-owner of Jetlev (click here for video) and a Manhattan resident -- by phone and got the lowdown. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Question: You were recently on Lake Hopatcong with a Jetlev, right?
Question: Do you have any specific connections to Lake Hopatcong. Why were you here?
Rosenblatt: It’s a large lake, and it’s a friendly lake, and it is just easy to run off of. There’s a lot of access, there’s a lot of people on there. We’re trying to raise awareness, and it’s just super-duper-duper easy. So, that’s why we chose Lake Hopatcong.
Question: So, tell me a little bit about the Jetlev. What exactly is it?
Rosenblatt: I’m going to give you my tech guy (Sean Phillips, lead instructor), and he’s going to tell you all about it. .
Phillips: First off, basically, it’s a water-powered jetpack. It works similar to a jet ski. It sets up the water underneath the boat. Instead of shooting it out the back, it’s diverted 180 (degrees) to the front, and that’s where we connect the hose, and the hose is ran to the jetpack. We can fly hands-free. The water that’s coming out the hose is stronger than your garden hose right outside the house. It’s 800 to 1,000 gallons a minute that are being pumped into the system. Everything has been in design for about 13 years. If you look at the actual jetpack, you have head, neck, shoulder, back protection, you’re even sitting on a seat, so that’s protected as well. You really have to attack something to get hurt.
As far as first-time pilots who have never tried it out, what we do is offer a program called IFE, the Introductory Flight Experience, or they can touch base with any of our rental centers, and what they do is sit down an go through about a 10-minute instructional displaying maneuverability and stability, how to increase and decrease height, and then from there we show them a couple more routines in the water. From there, they are wearing a helmet, through which I can talk to them as an instructor, explaining to them commands that they will need, and I control them using a remote control. Their control just strictly controls the throttle, so they are still going the direction they choose, but they still have to acknowledge the commands. Any time that I feel they are getting unsafe or not responding, all I have to do is throttle them down, and they follow what we call a turtle position, and from there we see what’s going on and get them flying again.
Question: When you were on Lake Hopatcong recently, what was the reaction?
Rosenblatt: When we pulled by the bridge, people pulled over by the side of the road, they wave you over. In front of the marina, one of the Sundays that we flew, people all ran for the front of the dock when they were having lunch. They wanted to see what it was, take pictures, record video. All the boats kind of make a circle around you. They want to see what you can do. People come out on their decks, they’re all about it.
Question: Have you been on Lake Hopatcong before?
Rosenblatt: No, when I went to Lake Hopatcong on the Jetlev, that was actually my first time.
Question: What did you think of the experience on Lake Hopatcong?
Rosenblatt: It was awesome. It was simple, it was easy, it was great, it’s easy access, it’s not too far from the city. Just the whole experience. It’s just a nice place.
Question: Is there just one model, or are the Jetlevs custom built?
Rosenblatt: Right now there is one model, and you can customize it to your liking -- color, decals, whatever you like.
Question: What is the price for a Jetlev?
Rosenblatt: It’s $100,000 (and $250 for a rental).
Question: Will you be coming back to Lake Hopatcong?
Author’s Note: Lake Hopatcong Marine will begin offering instruction and rental of Jetlevs in Woodport at the cost of $275 for 45 minutes. Call (973) 663-3977 if interested.