Gas turbine jetpack – test pilots wanted

Feeling brave and ready to strap on this jet pack? Well, that’s not all of it. What you see above is just the manifold with two nozzles that can be aimed for control. The gas turbine engine that is being designed for the project will attach to the large circular coupling on top. The finished suit, called a Monocopter, should weigh in at about 265 pounds. That kind of weight makes us think they should include a robotic exoskeleton to help support it during takeoff, landing, and just when standing around. This thing already looks like it belongs to a villain from the Megaman series. Here’s hoping it’s used for good and not to help produce an army of mean robots.

[Thanks Rob]

Comments

  1. patman2700 says:

    Look closely; there are actually three nozzles stemming from the manifold.

    #corrections

  2. Steve says:

    This looks HIGHLY dangerous. I should think that just the shear weight alone, lets not even include the noise this thing would make, is going to kill someone. If you are going to test this at all i suggest a volunteer of a convict, someone who is already slated for the death sentence.
    A complete waste of time and money in my opinion.

  3. The Cageybee says:

    I’ve been feeling a little suicidal recently.
    Where do I sign up to be a crash test dummy?

  4. Techrat says:

    Yeah, that’s really where you want to place yourself: Between two incredibly hot exhaust tubes. Unless the pilot has an asbestos suit as well, it’s gonna be fly and fry. And the fly part is still a maybe.

    I see there’s a third tube in the rear which is good, otherwise the CG would be way off. Looks to me like the pilot’s feet are going to get too much blast.

  5. patman2700 says:

    Whoops, wrong again!

    There are four nozzles on the manifold.
    *rimshot*

    #corrections

  6. webmoocher says:

    I’m game, but have they figured in fuel weight?

  7. paul says:

    holy s**t! I mean how will this be safe to use?

    “This looks like a job for… Legless Man!!”

  8. Fluxon says:

    Take a look at his page and you will see that the large shroud at the backside is kind of an impeller. This impeller simply moves air through the four manifolds. The impeller itself is powered by a outer ring of turbine blades which are driven by the jet engine.

    The design and build quality of this thing is pretty slick. I follow the monocopter for years now, but sadly there is no update for a long time now.

    Check out this side also (only german):
    http://www.mewatec.de/monocopter.html

  9. Iv says:

    Where is the fuel tank ?

  10. blarghmaster says:

    judging by the info on the page, it seems that nice big duct is mostly for cold air… so no… you dont need to be legless to fly it…

  11. DruidicDunderhead says:

    The fuel tank (to respond to the many queries) is a blivet hanging on a tether and contacts last upon take off. > Like a testicle, it is similarly adjoined to the operator/pilot’s groin. Why not? This mound is not leaving the ground anyway.

  12. PocketBrain says:

    I’m thinking no… thanks, I’ll fly coach. Ain’t going to get very far anyway, with its power plant attached to a wall! :-D And how old is this link? They have a .avi file for video, not a YouTube link. What’s up with that?

  13. Pilotgeek says:

    As some have mentioned, this isn’t shooting fire or even hot air. It’s a turbine that propels cool air downward. I doubt this will be able to fly very high (more than about 50ft max), as it would mostly be ground effect.

  14. Youtube links:

    Monocopter engine test:

    And here’s a flying tiny manned heli:

    And a rocketcopter:

    And a strap-on jet wing in flight:

  15. i’ll do it!!

  16. --j says:

    > Looks to me like the pilot’s feet are going to get too much blast.

    There will be a cook-off… [heh]

    No, actually, if you _read_ the article, you will see that the three nozzles in the picture only conduct cold air. There is a fourth hot — very hot — nozzle coming off the gas turbine mounted on top (not in this picture) pointing more or less backwards with a steerable diffuser.

    The danger to the operator, other than just falling from altitude due to engine failure, appears to be the usual turbine failure modes — in which case you will probably be ripped to shreds before you hit the ground — or control failure.

    The control failures are (at least) failures of the nozzle controls, and failure of the dynamic flight controls. The flight control software to keep this thing stable has to be #1 on my list of worries. (See LLRV crash http://bit.ly/gTtNrt caused by mechanical, and JAS Gripen crash http://bit.ly/g8dPIq caused by flight dynamics software failure.)

  17. --j says:

    [Correction] There are _four_ cold and and one hot nozzle making a total of five.

  18. Techrat says:

    Sorry, but if they are just using the FAN to blast air through the tubes it will never make enough thrust to lift off. I understand they are going to use a turbine to power the fan, but even 50k RPM doesn’t sound like enough to do it, given the small size of the fan.

    That’s like asking that new multi-purpose fighter we’re building to lift off with just the fan. (F-35?) — That requires a fan up front and jet thrust in the rear.

    They’d have been better off with a dual-ducted-fan approach, using two small gas turbines.

  19. Necromant says:

    Hm… Maybe those retards drinking beer in the yard would do?

    (Note for russians: гопники для тестов, самое то.)

  20. Charlie says:

    At first glance I thought this was a picture of industrial rocket pants.

  21. lwatcdr says:

    impressive but wow the cost is huge and the risks even higher.
    I am more worried about the large fan holding together.

  22. walt says:

    am I the only one who, at first site of the photo, thought this article was going to be about big metal robot pants?

  23. Bill Doorley says:

    Bell Aerosystems built a turbine-powered jet pack in the early 1970s. (it was in Popular Science, but I haven’t time to find the link just now.) Unlike the Rocket Belt, which used corrosive hydrogen peroxide propellant and could only fly for twenty seconds, the Jet Belt could fly at 60 miles per hour for half an hour. The exhaust nozzles extended well away from the operator on either side, which not only mitigated some of the heat but made the controls more effective than if they’d been closer to the centerline.

    This design looks interesting, but I don’t know if they’ve thought the matter through.

  24. strider_mt2k says:

    “Flying chick magnet…”

    “DUDE MY SHOES ARE ON FIRE!!”

    “My SHOES are on FIRE!”

    (Go Team Venture)

  25. Ellie says:

    At nearly 300 pounds, any significant negative acceleration at landing will remove and/or render useless the wearer’s legs by a variety of painful failure modes.

    That said, the chap building it obviously has the money and engineering cred to give it a proper go. Best of luck to him.

  26. Tom says:

    I used to read this site yearrs ago, it’s been a long while since I’ve heard anything new from the guy.

    For those interested, have a look at his nano-turbine,

    http://www.technologie-entwicklung.de/Gasturbines/mu-Turbine__KP31_/mu-turbine__kp31_.html

    Some slick engineering, shame it doesn’t look like it was ever finished…

  27. Hirudinea says:

    Monocopter, eh? Should be called the Kamikaze!

  28. vonskippy says:

    Get a Unoobtu fanboy to test fly it. The world won’t miss one less of those fops.

  29. Brennan says:

    LOOK CLOSER. There are actually 19.5666 nozzles and counting stemming from the manifold.

    #Corrections

    (when will it end!)

  30. zool says:

    looks completely safe

  31. Chuckt says:

    Where is the test dummy going to put his head? ROFL

  32. draeath says:

    @Techrat

    I’m fairly certain this thing weighs orders-of-magnitude less than your exemplary F-35.

  33. chad says:

    i’m game. you only live once, right?

  34. Frogz says:

    correction, there is ONE nozzle, the rest are open ended ducts
    also, the game
    but whatever happened to http://www.popsci.com/military-aviation-%2526-space/article/2008-07/flight-jetpack and that other ducted fan backpack(i cant think of the name, it was more of a thing you stand in) popsci did?

  35. rickroll says:

    you’ll need some kind of exoskeleton/ultralight(aircraft) frame.
    500+ lb is impossible for the average flyboy.
    Also isn’t there considerable reaction torque as with a helicopters.

  36. turbochris says:

    I too have followed this project. as for the negative comments- not that long ago all your grandma’s were talking about these crazy ass bicycle shop owners who think they can defy God and fly like a bird.

    Andreas’s work is impressive. Richard Brown is doing pretty well also-
    http://www.jet-pack.co.uk
    I run a few turbine user groups and most of these guys are members.

    turbines are fun! pistons and cranks are so yesterday….

  37. Spork says:

    @turbochris
    Turbines are great and should be used!… but not necessarily strapped to my back.

    I’d be quite afraid of crushing myself wearing that. Give me an emergency poweroff and a quick disconnect and I’d consider it.

  38. turbochris says:

    Is it really any more dangerous than a helicopter?

    loose power, fall from sky! Sure, you can auto-rotate with a heli, but a ballistic parachute would make this just as safe.

  39. Frogz says:

    ballistic parachute? sounds like what i found when looking for the pop science fansuit
    http://www.easyflight.com/

  40. Verdi R-D says:

    So where do you sign up?

  41. Mr. Name Required says:

    Whilst the engineering and manufacture looks respectable, I had to shake my head in disbelief at the use of vectored thrust nozzles… what a crap-load of complexity and extra weight for something that the Bell rocket belt dealt with by simply shifting the pilot’s body. That idea is proven, so this guy could have made a pivoting harness… but didn’t.
    More moving parts = more things to go wrong. It seems the designer is more interested in using hi-tech materials like Inconel, titanium, cf etc. than thinking about a safe way of getting down in an engine failure.

    No-one would want to fly in this, at best it would only ever be tethered hops with a safety line.

  42. Tyler Santos says:

    hey. im willing to test it if your serious. what state do you live in? i am currently located in MA please contact me if your serious at fireball9919@gmail.com

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