喷气式飞行背包的鼻祖:贝尔德事隆火箭腰带

从詹姆斯·邦德在《007:霹雳弹》中的惊艳亮相到1984年在洛杉矶举行的夏季奥运开幕式,飞行背包总能聚集人群的目光。2018年诞生了诸多充满未来主义的交通出行工具,如今,空中出租车、喷气式飞行背包和其他新形式的飞行出行方式已经成为每个科技公司关注的焦点。值此之际,我们不妨回顾一下世界上首个飞行背包的诞生——贝尔德事隆火箭腰带(Bell Textron Rocket Belt)。

 

贝尔德事隆火箭腰带之父是贝尔宇航的工程师Wendell Moore。1947年飞行员Chuck Yeager驾驶贝尔X-1创造了当时的飞行速度记录,使用火箭发动机作为动力的贝尔X-1是人类历史上首个飞行速度突破音速的飞行器,而将火箭发动机搭载在贝尔X-1上则正是Wendell Moore的主意。贝尔X-1的成功萌生了Wendell Moore一个大胆的想法,为什么不把火箭发动机绑在人身上从而制造一个“飞人”?

 

贝尔德事隆火箭腰带诞生了。虽然名字叫做“火箭腰带”,但是Wendell Moore设计在外观上则更像是背包。它携带两个重达120磅的气罐,分别充满了过氧化氢和氮气。根据科学记者Brian Malow的描述:“氮气推动过氧化氢燃料进入一个燃烧室,在这里它们和催化剂发生剧烈反应,从而产生高压蒸汽,气体随后从两个喷嘴中喷薄而出产生推力。” Wendell Moore的飞行背包平均可使携带者在空中“漂浮”21秒。

 

Wendell Moore找来曾经帮他修剪草坪的年轻人Bill Suitor作为飞行背包的首位“试飞员”,他们在一个60英尺高的机库里练习飞行技巧,最终,19岁的Bill Suitor成为了首位“飞人”。随后,Bill Suitor在美国各地进行飞行表演,甚至他还出演了大热的詹姆斯·邦德电影《007:霹雳弹》。电影中由肖恩·康纳利扮演的角色在两名坏人前使用喷气背包从容脱身,但事实上,电影中使用喷气背包的镜头均由Bill Suitor和特技演员Gordon Yeager出演拍摄。35年间,Bill Suitor共使用飞行背包飞行1200次,累计飞行时间则达到了6.5小时。

 

从贝尔宇航公司到贝尔直升机,创新始终是公司的核心。贝尔德事隆火箭腰带一度让人惊叹——因为它字面意义的帮助人类飞翔。飞行背包记载着贝尔曾经的辉煌,如今,贝尔直升机依然保持着同样的目标:研发最新、最伟大的技术,重塑航空的含义。对此我们充满信心,因为,我们在历史上早有先例。

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Innovation Throwback: The Bell Textron Rocket Belt

The history of the world's first jet pack.

02 January 2018

 

 

From starring in James Bond’s Thunderball to flying in the 1984 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in Los Angeles, jet packs have always enamored audiences. A flying human attached to a backpack-like machine would even stun crowds in 2018 - the year of futuristic flying transportation. As air taxis, jet packs and other new forms of flying start to become the center of every technology company’s focus, we look back on the world’s first jet pack: the Bell Textron Rocket Belt.

 

The man behind the flying machine was Wendell Moore, a Bell Aerospace engineer who came up with the idea to place rocket thrusters on the nose and wings of the Bell X-1 airplane, which Chuck Yeager flew to break the sound barrier. His work on the Bell X-1 gave him the idea to develop a machine that would place rocket thrusters on a man’s body.

 

 

The belt Moore designed resembled a backpack, carrying two tanks of hydrogen peroxide and nitrogen and weighing 120 pounds. According to science reporter Brian Malow, “The nitrogen pushes the hydrogen peroxide propellant into a chamber where it mixes violently with a catalyst, producing a high-pressure steam that flows out the twin nozzles to provide thrust.” The average flight of the jet pack allows passengers to float in the air for 21 seconds.

 

Moore enlisted Bill Suitor, a young kid who used to cut Moore’s lawn, to become the first trainee to fly the jet pack. Practicing in a hangar 60 feet tall, the 19-year old learned how to become the first flying man. Afterwards, Suitor performed the flight as a demonstration to pilots across the country and even in the hit James Bond movie, "Thunderball." Yes, Sean Connery does look great flying away from two bad guys but it was actually Suitor and stuntman Gordon Yeager who flew the rocket belt in those movie shots. Overall, Suitor amassed 1,200 flights in 35 years, adding up to six and a half hours of flight.

 

From Bell Aerospace Co. to Bell Helicopter, innovation remains a core focus of the business.

At one time, the Bell Textron Rocket Belt stunned the audiences with its ability to literally make a man fly. Even though the jet pack remains a past success, Bell Helicopter maintains the same goal: to produce the latest and greatest technology that changes the way we think about aviation. After all, we have done it before.

About Bell

About Textron

Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell, Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Arctic Cat, Textron Systems, and TRU Simulation + Training. For more information, visit: www.textron.com.

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements which may project revenues or describe strategies, goals, outlook or other non-historical matters; these statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, changes in aircraft delivery schedules or cancellations or deferrals of orders; our ability to keep pace with our competitors in the introduction of new products and upgrades with features and technologies desired by our customers; changes in government regulations or policies on the export and import of our products; volatility in the global economy or changes in worldwide political conditions that adversely impact demand for our products; volatility in interest rates or foreign exchange rates; and risks related to our international business, including establishing and maintaining facilities in locations around the world and relying on joint venture partners, subcontractors, suppliers, representatives, consultants and other business partners in connection with international business, including in emerging market countries.