Flying Platforms and Backpacks
Informative one-pager on the history of VTOL flying platforms. The 50's and 60's had a renaissance of sci-fi styled flying machines until everyone realized that they looked good but weren't very practical.
One of the author's footnotes made me chuckle:
I initially wrote this document as something of a "knockoff" in 1997, on the basis that it would be a short writeup on a mildly amusing subject. As it turned out, the subject proved to be something of a annoyance, since as noted much of the information on these flying machines is sketchy or contradictory. I ended up doing many revisions and getting a lot of nitpicky criticisms from readers, as well as materials from various people with proposals for flying-platform-type machines. I got the feeling that I'd strayed into something like perpetual-motion-machine territory.Whaaaaat? Flying cars is crackpot territory? Who woulda thunk it!
The title says it all. See that hole at the bottom of the jetpack? That's not the thrust, that's the suction. Notice, also, how tightly the pilot's buttocks are clenched. I wonder if those two facts are related?
For early trials, an experimental unit was devised using nitrogen gas and two downward-facing nozzles, initially tested on a rig to evaluate stability and other technical issues. It quickly became clear that the nozzles were too close to the pilot, as one operator lost his jacket sleeves in the blast.
And yet more related links:
Old picture of a guy balancing on blast of air
The Hiller Flying Platform
The Army VZ Series Page (includes VTOL aircraft)
Piasecki Corp's page on their flying jeeps
Hiller Flying Platform at the Smithsonian
Bell Rocket Belt