I have always wanted to fly a rocket pack. I think just about everyone would love to put on a backpack that shoots out fire and lets you fly. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve dreamt of that. In fact, remember Disney’s The Rocketeer? That’s how long I’ve wanted to fly a jetpack, since 1991--the vhs release of the Rocketeer.
But since you can’t fly actual rocket back packs (and since at the end of that movie, the backpack blew up and killed people) the next best thing is one of these hydrorockets, water rockets that enable you to fly with powerful water canons. There are two major types: the jetpack which goes on your back and the jetboard/jetblade which goes under your feet, like a snowboard.
Both jetpack and jetboard utilize the same system—the rockets have a long, thick hose connected to a jet ski. An instructor sits on the jet ski and controls the throttles on your rocket while you, the pilot, focus on flight direction and balance. Both let you fly, one flies by shooting water off your back, the other flies shooting water under your feet.
Both look awesome, but it’s hard to know which one is more fun. So I took a trip to Jetpack America in San Diego to answer this burning question, Jetpack or Jetboard, which is more fun and better value for the money? We even made a video about it:
As soon as I got to Jetpack America, I met my instructor, Jesse Orlando- a world champion jetpack pilot and a world champion jetboard pilot. The first thing he had me do was sign a release certifying that “I understand…inherent risk…serious injury, death…blah blah blah.”
Then payment—clocking in at a whopping $120 each for 20 minutes, both jetpack and jetboard started out tied for not very good, but with payment and liability forms out of the way, it was time to fly.
After trying both, it was obvious that jetboard was way easier to fly. The owner of the shop told me he had an 80 year old woman fly jetboard flying the week prior. It’s easier to maneuver, easier to stay up on. I was even confident enough to try a couple pathetic backflips in my first session. But by the end of my 20 minutes, I was bordering on bored. It felt like standing on a snowboard. Once I figured out how to stay up, I didn’t feel much sensation of floating. It felt more like standing on a stationary object that was 15 feet in the air than it did like flying.
I'm sure with more practice and confidence on the jetboard, this would be a lot of fun, but I was definitely excited to move onto the next rocket.
The jetpack on the other hand, felt to me like I was a flying super hero. Since I had controls of the pitch and direction of the rockets on my back, I could either put those rockets towards lift which takes you straight up or thrust which flies you out. Straight up was fun, I'd give it a C+ but thrust was a solid A.
I didn’t need to do any tricks or anything, I was plenty content with stretching my arms out like Superman. I was singing my own theme song and screaming like a gitty school girl the entire session. When you put your stomach down to the water and glide over it, you actually feel like you’re flying. So for me Jetpack took the cake by a long shot.
Both were a lot of fun, but Jetpack or Jetboard? Easy--Jetpack. More fun and better value for the money.
Before You Panic About the Cost
The hardest thing for me to wrap my head around was the money. In both cases, 20 minutes went by like a flash (along with 120 big ones). 120 bucks feels like a lot for 20 minutes of anything, but when I placed it in the same category as skydiving or bungee jumping, (which are the same price for seconds instead of minutes) it all seemed much more reasonable.
Hope this helps you make your decision for which to choose. Tried this before? What'd you think? Let us know in the comments! Thanks for reading (And liking, and sharing, and telling everyone you know!)