Because of our extensive experience building pressure vessels for a wide range of commercial applications, we're often the first choice when someone needs tanks built for specialist purposes.
So when Sussex pilot Stuart Ross approached us to build some small, lightweight fuel tanks we were happy to oblige but were intrigued. Stuart explained that he had invented his own Jetpack, called the RocketBelt that would allow him to fly without wings, rotors or a canopy.
The James Bond-like device was small and light and straps on like a rucksack, but this was no Hollywood dream. More people have walked on the moon than have flown an un-tethered Jet pack, so this was truly ground-breaking engineering.
Stuart is an airline pilot by day so approached the build methodically and practically and he knew exactly what he needed to contain the pressurised fuel. The tanks needed to be rated to 600psi, and the ignition gas tank to 3000psi to cope with the 90% proof prolusion grade Hydrogen Peroxide – the same potent stuff that powered the German V2 rockets.
Building the tanks was straight-forward and David Hobbs made the two foot stainless steel pressure vessels by welding seam-welded tubes to spun hemispheres. To maintain structural integrity and form, all the welds were back purged.
Stuart’s RocketBelt has garnered a lot of media attention and former Top Gear presenter James May even flew it in a training frame in Stuart’s Garden. His video below is well worth a watch and we’re hoping that the RocketBelt flying school, that launches soon, will see many more people enjoying this amazing way to fly.