It is the stuff of science fiction and comic books. Yet at Sylvan Lake, jetpack flying is taking off in a real way. Outside the city of Red Deer, in central Alberta, Canadian superhero impressions are on the rise.
Last summer you may recall my squeals of delight while flyboarding at Sylvan Lake.
I zoomed up, down, forward and backward. Much like having an unruly garden hose on steroids trying to flip about under my feet. Lean forward slightly but too far forward and it’s head first you go.
Although we did not demonstrate great skill levels and fell many times, we had so much fun flyboarding. Giggling and splashing almost as if we were teenagers again.
“You’ll have to come back next year when we get our jetpack.”
I turned to the words of our young flyboard instructor and did my best not to scream in his ear.
“You’re getting a jetpack? Like a SUPER HERO jetpack?”
He may have shifted slightly behind Hubby for protection from my enthusiasm. Consequently Dave grabbed my hand before I hugged the wide eyed young man and promised we would return.
What is the difference between a jetpack and a flyboard?
A flyboard attaches to the feet of the flyer with boots. From the bottom of the board a hose runs to a jet ski. The jet ski propels water through the hose to the flyboard. The water shoots out the bottom of the flyboard which causes the flyer to rise above the lake.
A jetpack harnesses on the back of a flyer. Much as the flyboard, a hose runs to the jet ski to propel water through the outlets at shoulder level.
Is using a jetpack dangerous?
We were told to arrive at Alberta Flyboard thirty minutes prior to our lesson. While that seemed early, once there it became clear the extra time is all about proper training and safety.
An instruction video is followed by donning the equipment required, including wet suit, helmet and life jacket. Dry land instruction is followed by teaching in the water.
Finally one of the instructors remains in the water with the flyer to provide coaching in take off and flying. Another instructor runs the jet ski which provides water power to the jetpack.
What do you need to do to fly a real jetpack?
First of all you need to be a comfortable swimmer. The start position of a water jetpack is face down in the water.
Relax and keep a loose grip on the handles. Subtle movements are all that are required to move the jetpack up and down.
Keep your hands parallel as the handles are the steering wheel. Pulling one of the levers up or down will result in your superhero self diving back to the water.
How can you be a Sylvan Lake jetpack superhero?
To take a jetpack lesson at Sylvan Lake you will need to take a flyboard lesson first. Because you don’t need to know how to swim to use a flyboard, it eases the flyer into the technique.
You must wear a helmet and life jacket at all times, be 12 years old or older and a minimum of 100 pounds. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. The jetpack, which floats in the water, weighs thirty pounds. Hands must be on the jetpack control handles at all times.
The Alberta Flyboard staff will decide if weather conditions are safe enough for flying.
On the morning of our lesson I begged Dave to go first since I had developed a case of nervousness. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate. High winds and waves developed. Consequently my super hero impression will take place later this summer.
I’ll have to keep my Wonder Woman outfit for another day.
Want to know what it feels like to fly with a jetpack? Dave is taking you on a short flight below.
With many thanks to Jordan, Ben and Jason for making our Sylvan Lake jetpack experience amazing! Information on booking with Alberta Flyboard can be found here.
Would you rather try a jetpack or a flyboard?