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copyright above: K. Lennon Clough

Wendell Moore

Wendell F. Moore was assigned to Bell’s X-plane program at Edwards AFB in the USA. In 1947 Chuck Yeager (not related with Gordon Yeager, one of the rocketbelt pilots) broke the speed of sound in Bell’s X-1 supersonic jet. He gave his first thoughts to join a rocket and a man to a manmachine back in 1953.

Bell won the US Army bid for building a rocketpack device that could lift a man and his payload in to the air and gave him free control of flight. Thiokol with their jumpbelt, Aerojet-General Corporation with their rocketpack, and even Hiller with his flying platform leaving behind. For all the details please visit the specified chapters in this website.

Wendell was the first Bell rocketbelt pilot, on tethered and indoors, but he was.

The first tests were made with a steel rig, where Wendell was strapped to a corset with a nitrogen gas test rig overhead. The rocketbelt as we know it was yet to be made.

Wendell Moore on the nitrogen rig 1/6/1958

His first flight with the rocketbelt (called it the SRLD, Small Rocket Lifting Device) as we know it was at a height of only 4 inch/10 cm. and he made a bobbed and staggered circle of about 3 meters. After about 20 flights he and his crew had detected and engineered a lot of bugs, for example the manufacturing of jetavators for yaw control.

On tether test (first model)

At his last flight (#20)one of his tanks snagged a safety rope, and Wendell flipped over, panicked, and cut the jets, but the hot gas manifolds already burned the nylon rope, and he felt down from a height of about 8 feet/3 meters and broke his knee. Harold Graham, who was already on the line for test pilot, watched it. The rest is history.

Flight log of Wendell Moore (taken from the TRECOM SRLD report #1)

flight #
trust duration/sec.specs
tether site 1
?tether site 1 was building 67 inside
21-6-61tether site 2?tether site 2 was building 67 outside
31-11-61tether site 242,6Throttle adjustments
41-16-61tether site 3?tether side 3 was building 67 outside
51-18-61tether site 342,6--
61-20--61tether site 337--
72-2-61tether site 439tehter side 4 was hangar aera.
Motorcycle handgrip thorttle placed
82-2-61tether site 434--
92-3-61tether site 430tether rope (manila) replaced for polyethylene.
New polyvinyl flight suit tested
102-6-61tether site 430,6--
112-8-61tether site 435pivot bearing for roll and pitch
122-8-61tether site 431--
132-10-61tether site 431--
142-13-61tether site 430--
152-13-61tether site 430yaw problems
162-14-61tether site 428yaw control increased
172-14-61tether site 430--
182-15-61tether site 429--
192-16-61tether site 425still problems yaw control
202-17-61tether site 4?pilot made 8 feet crash landing

Flight log of Wendell Moore (taken from the TRECOM SRLD report #1)

Later on Wendell made more inventions (rocketbelt model A + B) and had patents on other H2O2 related lifting devices like the individual flying device a kind of paragliding rocketbelt, with a totally other design, though based on H2O2. Different proposals for extended flight time rocketbelts, POGO's, flying chairs and in1968 the Bell JET flying belt was born.
Extended flight time RB                                         Jet flying belt                                                        one man POGO

Flying chair                                                           Two man POGO                                                     NASA Lunar transportation POGO

John K. Hulbert, assigned to Bell as well, designed a rocketbelt with turbo like rotor blades underneath the exhaust pipes, to make the flight duration longer, alongside with Wendell Moore. By my knowledge it never made production, only on a test rig.

Hulbert/Moore tipfan rocketbelt
Wendell Moore died in 1969 Later on Bell sold all their inventions to Williams Research.