Jet Flying Belt / Jetbelt
While working on the rocketbelt for better performances and a longer flight duration, Bell was granted a $ 3 million contract by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) for making a JET flying belt
Under development since 1965, the feasibility model Jet Belt logged its first untethered flight on April 7, 1969, at a runway apron at Niagara Falls International Airport (sounds familiar Hal G ?) test Pilot Robert Courter made the first flight , which was a 100 meters elliptical course, at an altitude of 7 meters and he achieved speeds up to 45 km/ hour . Later tests were longer, higher, and more complex. Calculations made clear that speeds up to135 km/h and a flight duration up to 25 minutes were real. On May 26, 1969 Textron’s Bell Aerosystems Company released the first photographs of their experimantal Jet Flying belt.Bell first made a feasibility test of the concept, and later on several test flights .
The inventors of the Jet Flying Belt are John K. Hulbert , chief of gas turbine engineering, and the well-known Wendell F. Moore, assistant chief engineer and inventor of the Rocket Belt. Bell received a U.S. patent (3,243,144) for the invention in 1966. All first flight test objectives were achieved , at a wind speed of 45 km/ hour . Mr. Robert J. May was the Jet Belt project manager. Bell had both military and civilian capability in mind .
The operation of the Jet Belt is similar of that of its rocket-powered ( rocketbelt ) predecessors . But now you you measure its flight duration in minutes instead of seconds , and distantes in kilometers instead of meters. The right handgrip controls the RPM of the engine , from idle to full trust. Twisting the left handgrip and movement of the armgrips deflect the nozzles to make different movements . It is transmitted to the nozzles by simple pull rods and cables . The pilot has complete freedom of movement .
The turbine engine is mounted vericallly , inlet down. It exhausts through twin ducts who distribute the trust equally to gimballed nozzles located outward and pointing downward behind the operator’s shoulders . Intake air is channeled through a chamber around the core of the engine and then re-mixed with the primary flow of hot exhaust gases at the engine exit. This by-pass concept insulates the pilot and the fuel tanks from the engine heat, and it reduces engine heat. The WR-19 engine was specifically designed and developed by Williams under subcontract from Bell Aerospace . They started research in 1964, and in 1967 the Jet flying Belt powerplant was ready.
The Jet Belt uses self contained solid propellant cartridge system , operated by the pilot. It is very small , as big as a shotgun shell . Tests made out that one cartridge stand over 100 test engine starts. The first Jet Belt flights were started up by a portable compressed start cart .The pilot uses a simple two-way standard Army bettery powered field radio. There is a continue engine data warning display for the pilot, and a battry powered telemetry system for the engineers on the ground. A paratroopers standard emergency parachute deployed by a drogue gun provides the pilot some safety . This recovery system is effective from 65 feet and above.The low-fuel warning is provided by a rocketbelt-type helm vibrator.
Above: Left the Williams WR-19 powerplant. Mid: Bill Suitor and Sam Williams. Right Robert Courter
Below: Bell had many toughts on different purposes of the Jet flying belt:
Wendell Moore, the co-inventor of the Jetbelt, just saw his invention taking off, before his death on May 29, 1969. On Januari 26, 1970, Bell sold all their patents (rocketbelt to!!) to Williams Research Corporation in Walled lake, Michigan. They sold it cheap, getting tired of going nowhere with Small Rocket/jet Lifing Divices. Bell does not have any data on their Jet Flying Belt at this time.
Williams has still the one and only Jetbelt on display at their headquarters
Mr. Daniel Fry from Williams, donned in the Jetbelt (around 2012)
patent numbers : 3,443,775 / Flight belt May 13, 1969 by William: 3,023,980 / Turbo fan lifting device by Martin/Cummings : 3,381,917 / Personnel Flying device by W. Moore / Ganczak