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Water Chopper Developed by Maryland Man

August 19, 2007 - 1:57pm

CORRIGANVILLE, Md. (AP) - Years of puttering around the workshop finally have paid off for a local inventor, who was featured in the July edition of Popular Mechanic.

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 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 noted 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 similar to what the Wright brothers must have felt. The waterbike, he said, worked "almost flawlessly," reaching a maximum speed of 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 a more than 40-year fascination with motorcycles.

"This was the first prototype I ever put together," he said, showing pictures 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 in 2004.

Garlitz is seeking an investor to start selling the choppers.

Garlitz said invention is in his blood. He has six other inventions he's looking to get patented, including a safety lock for handguns. "(The waterbike) lends credibility to my ideas," he said. "My ideas are kind of far-fetched in a way."

"I really enjoy this kind of thing, building stuff and seeing if it will work," he continued. "To me, if you can build something that will work, then you can put together the details later."


Information from: Cumberland (Md.) Times-News, http://www.times-news.com/timesnew.html

(Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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AP material Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.