The Strange
The Bell Jet Pack or Rocket Belt   The Strange

The Jet Pack

In The early sixties, perhaps 1962 or 1963, a man named Wendell F. Moore  who worked at Bell Aerosystems, was inventing a new type of aircraft.  Something that the NAZIs had been working on towards the end of the war.  This particular type of aircraft, dubbed the Rocket Belt, was something very small and light.   Something which could be worn into battle.  Something which could be carried on your back.

It seems as though no one at Bell wanted to fly the " jet pack ", or rather, very few people who had flown it once or twice did; once or twice  seemed to be enough.  But there was a brave 19 year old boy in the inventor's neighborhood who wanted to be the man to fly the rocket belt after seeing it in the inventors back yard.  His name was William P. Suitor.  Bell Aerosystems hired him in 1964 where he worked with the designers and engineers to learn to fly the new aircraft at first on tethers, then in free flight.  He then went on to fly the rocket belt at various public appearances and he also starred in some films and television.
While others have occasionally flown the Bell Jetpack and other Jetpacks such as the RB 2000 (Not made by bell), Bill Suitor is really the one and only Rocket Man.
He still fly's the rocket belt today at public appearances in America.

The Rocket Belt or Jet Pack is powered by a hydrogen peroxide reaction rocket engine which consists of a tank of compressed liquid nitrogen which pushes hydrogen peroxide out of two other tanks into a reaction chamber. The reaction chamber a box with silver screens coated with samarium nitrate that react to the hydrogen peroxide and create an extremely hot and high pressure stream that flows out of the flight nozzles and propels the craft.  The steam is a very hot steam; much, much hotter than a boiling tea kettle.  If the steam was much hotter it wouldn't be steam, it would be plasma!  This makes the Jet Pack very dangerous.  It also makes it incredibly loud, indeed, almost unbearable according to some reports.  It doesn't have a rocket sound at all.  It screams like someone stretching the blowtube of a balloon while letting the air out.

Two hand controls control the jet pack with amazing accuracy.  To the experienced pilot, this machine surprisingly fly's like a dream.

There is another rocket belt besides the original Bell.  Designed by Brad Barker and Doug Malewicki, this aircraft is known as the RB2000.  It uses the same principal and design of the Bell model but do to improvements it is able to fly 30 seconds instead of the 20 seconds that the Bell could remain in flight.

Sadly it seems that the use of a hydrogen peroxide rocket is not all that suited to the rocket belt.  If not hydrogen peroxide then what?  Scientist, engineers and general fans of the rocket belt have been pondering this question for some time.  Until more progress is made in the construction of lighter jet engines we are stuck with using rocket engines to produce the thrust.

Once we could use tiny jets, they could be used in combination with hydrogen peroxide rocket bursts for fast take off.  This would produce an aircraft with longer flight and higher altitude capabilities.  Hydrogen peroxide rocket engines, because of their low weight, are the only alternative for now.  Although..... since this article was first written I have been told of jet engines that are light and small enough to to the job, so we may soon see a true JET pack that can fly for a reasonable amount of time. 

Other famous Bell aircraft?  The Bell X-1
The famous rocket belt pilot Bill Suitor had his own website!
That link is dead, but I keep it there hoping the site will go back up again.
UPDATE:  I found a cool article about Bill Suitor at the Smithsonian website.

Jet Pack/Rocket Belt Letters
This letter was sent in by Joe Brown:

The device described in your acticle is termed a "rocket belt," but not
a "jetpack."  If there were no true jetpacks, this might not be a
problem, but the U.S. government built and flew at least one true
jetpack during the sixties.  It was powered by a small turbine built by
Williams Research.  The device could sustain flight for approximately 30
minutes.  It was abandoned with the advent of the helicopter, which was
far more cost-effective, both in fuel used and in the lack of a need for
ever passenger to know how to fly the device, as would be the case with
a personal jetpack.

Currently, several groups and individuals (such as myself) are working
on civilian jetpacks (and hybrids, although I don't know of anyone
working on the jet/peroxide hybrid you propose, mainly due to the high
cost of the peroxide and catalyst screens, which are worn away by the
intense heat).  Such devices are primarily intended for maneuvering in
areas into which a helicopter is incapable of travelling, and getting
closer to vertical surfaces than the blades of a helicopter allow.  This
is advantageous for media coverage/police surveilance of crowds where a
closer vantage point than a helicopter allows is desired.  It is also
advantageous in rescue operations, such as retrieving individuals from
windows of buildings which are above the reach of fire department
ladders, or from areas which are too uneven for a helicopter to land,
such as mountainsides.

        --Joe Brown

This letter was sent in by T33JETMAN

There are jet turbine engines for remote control jet airplanes now which produce 17lbs of thrust up to 150 lb. of thrust which two running would lift a man. The price of these engines for us is $3000 to $6000. They run on jet-a and kerosene. The running time on one gallon of fuel is twelve minutes which is better then thirty seconds.  If this sounds good to you I will send names and phone numbers of company where we buy these engines from.

Addresses sent in by T33JETMAN

Here are the jet engine companies, Revolution Models, e-mail at, tel. number +44(0)1223 416161.  Advanced Micro 
Turbines, e-mail at , website -

This was sent in by Lori

from what I remember from some articles in POPULAR SCIENCE magazine and
....I think it was mainly popular science tho..

The same get engine that goes into the cruise missle was the worlds
smallest turbine fan jet engine and they were able to get one for use in
the bell jet used regular jet fuel and it flew for 10 minutes.

and did 80 mph as compared to the 60 mph the claim for the rocket belt.

when the jet version was working good...the Army did a study with it and
they changed it up. It was called the JET-X

It had a parachute in the front section and it would allow you to land
safely if you had a engine failure..I use to see video of it on TV a
long time was a platform that looked kind of what a preacher
stands behind on a sunday morning to had that kind of look
to it...Bob Coutier (sp?) flew the Bell Rocket Belt and then the Jet
Belt version and then worked on the Jet-x project...the army said
no..and that was it...

one magazine use to sell the army report for about 30 bucks...(some one
trying to make a buck anyway they can, you know)...I didnt order
it...wish I did now..ha ha...It was a defense journal type of magazine
thats on the newstands sometimes...I dont recall it...tho..sorry!

Then the military did some move so that NO ONE could get any of the
engines..and well..that pretty much killed it.

Everyone who ever saw any of these devices fly was impressed enough to
dream of waiting to fly like that themself...
Hiller helicopters build a flying was cool also...the
problem was it was too stable (whatever that means..anyway that was what
kill wanted stay still, from what I gathered)
Now someone is gonna come out with a kit for about $30,000 so you can
build one your flies for 30 min
its too costly for I will still dream like everyone else..
here is the link to has some great pictures of it flying and its
easy to fly also.

yeah its weird too..or strange...yet THIS ONE people with the bucks can
get it and have some fun themself.
you might want to put up something on it on your cant get
a rocket belt..but you can get this pretty soon!

Bradbury Research?

I would like to find out how to build or buy a jet belt.  I have tried to contact Bradbury Research, but by letter was returned.  They are the ones who advertised it in Popular Science Magazine back in the early '90s. How can you help me?  Do you have their address, telephone, e-mail, or other?

This was sent in by Davian Delise:

Hello my name is Davian Delise,
         I am an inventor and special effects artist and designer.
I have already created a working prototype hover board, and now I am working 
on the flying pack.  I call it the flying pack because it will be a combination of different 
technologies.  I will keep you posted,  if you want any more information  e-mail to  or you can visit my web site to see some wild designs at:
Your web site is great and keep up the good work!

This was sent in to The Strange by jetjanitor.

Hello each and everyone interested in the jet pack, rocketbelt, iller platform and the Solotrek exoskeletor.  All my life I have been interested in these machines. People think I was sick because they thought I had a strange hobby. I would welcome anyone who is interested to e-mail me and lets talk about it,please. I thank the rocketbelt for gettin me into computors. It was for that reason I started searchin on the net.  Havent stopped since.  Theres gotta be something out there for me to fly.

This was sent in to The Strange by Chris.

American Rocket Belt Corp. A Houston based company last had the rights to the rocket belt. However of the three partners one has been murdered and the others were found in Los Angeles.  Apparently one had kidnapped the other.  Additional information can be found in the local/staten section of the Houston Chronicle.  In the April 5, edition.

This from Conrad.

See the following web pages for more info on  the bell jetpack:

This was sent in to The Strange by Sam.

The SWB turbine company is about to release their new 160lbf micro turbine engine. Two could do the job.

Gino talks of model airplane engines.

I believe if setup properly and had a awsome type of afterburner
the Remote control aircraft community has real turbines powering r.c
aircraft as I am sure you well know. Now if a few turbines could be
connected in unison with full afterburner capabilites then the thrust
could be managed through a different mechanism than the ordinary type
rocketbelt . These turbines could be totally refined through high tech
composite materials maybe incorporating thrust vectoring through a
control mechanism like the old style jetpack,. capable of operating at
higher temp ranges and a throttable afterburner connected directly to
the control thrust points.

Matt sent this in.

I saw your write up on the jet packs.  I was just wondering if you had seen 
the jet pack being built and offered for sale at  Its 
a rotary engine thing with fans that supposedly can stay aloft for an hour. 
just thought you would be interested,


This was sent in to The Strange by Fred Checker.

A man in Mexico is building a new generation of rocket belt, you can see all the information in his amazing web site at
I found it by the referral of other rocket belt page.

This was sent in to The Strange by Jim.

I remember a jet-belt shown on an old T.V show called "That's incredible"  If it wasn't that show, it was one like it.  It was on in the late 70's early 80's.  It showed 2 young inventors, flying thier "back pack".  It was only good for close to ground flight.   I don't know about anyone else, but this would be fine for me.  I have not been able to find any info on the old show. 

If someone could scan   rerun of the old show, there could be some very good info there!!!

please E-mail me with any info.

Too many jetpack letters for one page!
Go to page # 2 CLICK HERE!

If you have information regarding Jet Packs or Rocket Belts.....

John McMahon,

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