Sunday, May 07, 2006

Bell Rocket Belt!

When I was a kid this was the future of personal transportation and I can remember dreaming about having one! Well here it is the last of it's kind. Sadly it's not for sale!!
In about 1962 or 1963, Wendell F. Moore, an employee of Bell Aerosystems, in the US, worked on a personal flight system which became know as the Rocket Belt. According to some accounts, it was intended to be portable, and light enough for battlefield use. Moore undertook a series of test flights on a tether (safety) line, his final flight resulting in injury.
The Bell Rocket Belt 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. There a chemical reaction creates an extremely hot high pressure stream that escapes from the flight nozzles and propels the unit and pilot.
The sound of the rocket is said to be incredibly loud, almost unbearable, and more a scream than something more identifiably a rocket noise. Two hand controls control the pack with considerable accuracy which leads experienced pilots to insist that it flies like a dream.Although the U.S. military displayed some early interest in the rocket belt concept during the 1960s, the short flight durations and exposure to enemy fire made the belts unappealing as combat tools.

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