Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Taking flight above the waves

CLEARWATER - It's a flight from the future you can experience right now at a Tampa Bay area beach. A new water jet allows you to soar high above the waves, and there are only about a dozen places in the world you can take the flight. 

 The JetLev debuted at Tradewinds Resort at St Pete Beach this week.

"I've never seen anything like it before," said Doug Ferguson.

The ride is making waves and turning heads.

"I was just like, what is this? And then I wanted to come over (to see it). It would be like flying," said Erin Davis.

"I think it's gotten everybody's attention," Ferguson said.

Your old beach adventure ride gets an adrenaline upgrade with the Jet Lev. You can soar in the sky, at least for half an hour, traveling up to 25 mph.

"Thirty minutes is pretty exhilarating. You're pretty tired by the end of that session," said Tradewinds President Keith Overton.

Every little move changes your trajectory, above and below the surface. Two thrusters designed at the Jet Lev headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale fuel your flight. You're water-powered from an inverse jet ski motor, rushing the Gulf water up, then back out again through a pressurized tube.

"Flying 30 feet above the water at 28 miles an hour, there's really nothing like it," Overton said.

There are several maneuvers to try, from walking on water to the submarine.

"You dive under the water," explained instructor Thomas Wheat.

It's all part of the flight as instructors control your throttle from a boat.

From up to 30 feet in the air, you can almost make out all the dreamers back on the beach, staring at you and thinking about the glory of flight.

It costs about $300 to rent the Jet Lev at Tradewinds. Resort guests receive a discount. The ride includes a training session and 30 minutes of flight.


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