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
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.
This letter was sent in by Joe Brown:
described in your acticle is termed a "rocket
belt," but not
several groups and individuals (such as myself)
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
micro-jet.freeserve.co.uk, tel. number
+44(0)1223 416161. Advanced Micro
This was sent in by Lori
from what I
remember from some articles in POPULAR SCIENCE
The same get
engine that goes into the cruise missle was the
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
It had a
parachute in the front section and it would
allow you to land
one magazine use
to sell the army report for about 30
Then the military
did some move so that NO ONE could get any of
Everyone who ever
saw any of these devices fly was impressed
yeah its weird
too..or strange...yet THIS ONE people with the
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
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
Matt sent this in.
I saw your write
up on the jet packs. I was just wondering
if you had seen
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 http://spin.com.mx/~jmlozano/rockets/
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.
If you have information regarding Jet Packs or Rocket Belts.....