Friday, December 21, 2007

Save half on a rocket belt!

The rocket belt (or jet pack) is a small personal propulsion device that enables a man or woman to rapidly fly short distances, taking off and landing upright.

During the early 1960s the US military studied these devices as potential aids for combat soldiers who needed to cross minefields or avoid other obstructions.

The idea of a workable rocket belt is credited to Wendell Moore, an engineer at Bell Aerosystems. The Army negotiated with Bell for the fabrication of an SRLD (small rocket lifting device) and a contract was awarded to the Army's Transportation, Research and Engineering Command for feasibility studies and trials.

Moore was named Technical Director for the project. A 280-lb thrust rocket motor was made and tested. Hydrogen Peroxide was chosen as a safe fuel, as no combustion took place. There was only expulsion of highly pressurized oxygen and water vapor. The operator wore a form-fitting fiberglass corset for safety.

Many tethered flights were conducted, with Moore flying. Harold Graham was the first pilot to perform a rocket belt free flight, on April 20, 1961. After 36 tethered flights, he flew freely successfully at 7 to 10-mph, for 13 seconds, over a distance of 112 feet.

The 20+ second maximum duration of the rocket fuel required for the belt was found to be too short-lived to be practical for combat, and the idea was abandoned. However the machine proved to be spectacular crowd pleaser for promotions and advertising. It was used in the James Bond Thunderball movie, and at the opening ceremony of the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984.

Until now, there has been only one company providing rocket belt performances, and they charge at least $20,000 per flight; but in 2005 Tecnologia Aeroespacial Mexicana (TAM) ended the monopoly.

That first rocket belt cost Bell Aerosystems $250,000 in 1960. Adjusted for inflation, this would be many millions of dollars today.

The price of a TAM rocket belt had been $250,000, but just in time for Christmas, the price has been reduced to just $125,000. So, if you or a loved one has an urge to leap up on the roof to surprise Santa, or jump over the border fence between Mexico and the US, this could be a perfect solution. You can even get one in pink. CLICK for more

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