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The Rocketbelt Convention

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August 12, 2006

Image Gallery (3 images)

August 13, 2006 Vaporware is software or hardware which is announced but fails to materialise. The term implies unwarranted optimism … that development is too early to support responsible statements about its completion date or even feasibility. The rocket belt is perhaps then, the world’s longest gestation vapourware, first entering the public consciousness in the 1920s through the newspaper-syndicated Buck Rogers scifi comic strip, and first attempted by the German Army during WWII as the "Himmelstürmer" (Skystormer).

The first working rocket belt was built by Bell for the U.S. Army in the 1950s. It created mainstream awareness in the 1965 James Bond film Thunderball and raised expectations of consumer versions when it was used in the opening ceremony of the 1984 Olympics. But 50 years after the Bell Rocket Belt was built, only a handful of people have flown a rocketbelt, only one commercial version is available (at US$250,000) and only two companies (here and here) have successfully commercialised demonstrations.

All that might change soon as a number of people have rocket belts under development and next month (September 23-24), there’s to be a Rocketbelt Convention at Niagara Aerospace Museum in New York which is to be attended by all the major players in the fledgling industry. Organised by Peter Gijsberts, the head of the Airwalker Society and curator of the most comprehensive and up-to-date rocketbelt information website, the RocketBelt Convention is compulsory attendance for all would-be Buck Rogers.

We're preparing a full rundown on rocketbelt development for the near future so if you have such a device under development, pleas make sure you drop us a line.

Photo courtesy of the world's most advanced commercial rocketbelt demonstration company, Rocketman.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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