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August 21, 2007

Jim Garlitz's Water Chopper — 'Born to be wild' is the understatement of the year


Long story short: Garlitz, who runs a pizza shop in the little town of Corriganville, Maryland, one day got to wondering what would happen if he combined a 1985 red Yamaha Virago motorcycle frame, a 1990 9.9 horsepower Nissan outboard motor, and other "readily available materials."

After two months of work and $1,000, he hit the water with his creation (above).

Here's a link to a video of Garlitz demonstrating his superb creation.

Read the Associated Press story, which appears in today's Washington Post, below, but know this: I want one in the worst way.

    An Invention Born to Be Wild — on the Water

    Years of puttering around the workshop finally have paid off for a local inventor, whose work appeared in the July edition of Popular Mechanics.

    Jim Garlitz, who operates a pizza shop in this small unincorporated town in the Western Maryland mountains, was featured for a watercraft he assembled using a 1985 red Yamaha Virago motorcycle frame, a 1990 9.9-horsepower Nissan outboard motor and other "readily available materials."

    He calls it a water chopper.

    The chopper's hydrofoils, like the wings on a plane, can propel the rider off the surface of the water for a noiseless, smooth ride. The magazine said the water chopper would make an excellent platform for fly-fishing.

    "You can sustain that flight on the foils for as long as you want to," Garlitz said. "That's the beauty of it. You're virtually flying."

    Heading out for the first test run, Garlitz said he felt something akin to what the Wright Brothers must have experienced. The chopper worked "almost flawlessly," he said, reaching 37 mph.

    "It's stable. It doesn't tilt, tip or anything," he said. "It can ride backwards. It doesn't matter who you are, you can get on it and ride it."

    For Garlitz, creating the water chopper caps 40-plus years of fascination with motorcycles.

    "This was the first prototype I ever put together," he said, showing photographs of the craft in action on Jennings Randolph Lake. "I didn't draw up plans. I just had it in my head this would work."

    It took about two months of work and $1,000 before the bike was ready to hit the water.


More here.

Note to file: Make sure to forward this post to crafty Phillip Torrone and his krew over at MAKE magazine.

August 21, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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This is my uncle and he is pretty cool.

Posted by: Michelle Alcorn | Jul 29, 2009 6:58:02 PM

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