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Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Andreas’ Personal Flying Suit (“Monocopter”) Project

This must be about the most ambitious engineering project a single person conducts privately. To be honest, I feel very humble besides this effort of Andreas Petzoldt who did most of the claculation, construction and design work of the device described in the following, on his own. It took him about ten years and lots of funds to get so far. I’m very grateful that Andreas permitted me to share the pictures that I took during a visit to him, with all people interested in this kind of stuff. Eventually this part of my page will be moved to Andreas’ own page once he has set-up one.

Now, what’s this all about? Andreas is designing and building a turbine-powered personal flying suit. In principle this is going to be similar to the well-known “Bell Rocket Belt”, the difference is the power plant and controlling of the unit. While the “Rocket Belt”, originating form the late fifties / early sixties, used two monopropellant liquid fuelled rocket engines (peroxide motors), Andreas decided to go for a gas turbine, driving a huge fan to achieve a high mass flow of air. This air will be directed to four variable thrust nozzles that will produce the thrust necessary to lift and control the device. The endurance of this flying machine would be much longer than the approximately 30 seconds possible with the “Rocket Belt”. Preliminary calculations suggested a figure of about 20 minutes or so for one tankfull of fuel. Andreas decided to build everything himself, even the gas generator engine since at the time he started work on this unit, small commercially built gas turbine engines weren’t available to the public as surplus easily. So he chose to use a rotor of a large KKK brand turbocharger. And now for some pictures:

Here’s a view of the complete device so far, less the turbine engine that is still on the test bed. More information on the engine follows later. The pilot fastenes himself between the big front lift nozzles with leg belts and a cross-belt at the chest.He has got arm rests with the control “joysticks” to manouvre the unit. The current control stick will be replaced by professional ones later. Of course there would need to be another control panel added to operate the engine and view the conditon of the unit (N1 and N2 RPM, EGT, oil pressure, oil temperature, fuel capacity, possibly fan pressure ratio...). The whole cold air ducting is made from carbon fibre laminate. All mounting points and flanges are entrapped within this laminate to allow maximum strength. The fan of 60cm diameter is located behind the pilot’s head , tilted 45° backwards.







Here’s a front view of the unit. The large metal ring around the fan air casing shrouds the fan perimeter turbine. The whole device, once assembled completely, will be relatively heavy, about 120kg. This requires the use of some kind of light-weight stand, possibly with wheels at the base to allow the pilot to move it while earthbound. The current stand is used only for assembly.

Read More, See Pics and Video further down in the Article...

Andreas’ Personal Flying Suit (“Monocopter”) Project
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I read the whole article and looked through his other Page with more Pics. This is a very complicated and wonderful built Machine! I hope he gets it flying one day and sooner rather than later!;)


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