I am very fortunate to have interviewed Nino Amarena of Thunderbolt Aerosystems. He’s a real rocket scientist, Rocket Belt designer, and a really nice guy! Enjoy!
(Nino is really nice but he wouldn't let me fly it!)
Evan - Were you interested in rockets and flying belts when you were a kid?
Nino - Oh yes. In fact if you pay attention to some of the things we have on our rocket belt, there is always a little logo somewhere on it. You’ve probably seen it recently on one of those burger places….Wendy's. Wendy's used to carry this cartoon made in Japan, it's called Manga. It was made in the 1960’s and it was a little cartoon called Astro Boy. It was a little kid that is a robot and it could fly and it had a 100,000 horsepower. That was my first introduction when I was a kid in the early 60’s, the idea that I wanted to fly like Astro Boy. After that there was another program that came on TV from England it was called the Fireball XL5. That one they don’t even have reruns anywhere else in the United States, but Astro Boy you sometimes see on the Japanese stations here. And after that came some other programs from the same people one called Super Car and in that was also a jet pack. So these two shows, Super Car and XL5, were marionettes like muppets with little wires. Astro Boy was a real cartoon. So that’s how it all got started and that’s how I got the idea. I said to my self one day I’ll do something like that. I’m going to try to build myself a rocket belt and try to fly it. And that’s how it all started in the early 1960’s as a kid.
(Bill Suitor did both of those!)
Evan - I think you already answered this: what got you interested in flying rocket belts
Nino - Well, actually that is not the complete answer. Because I didn’t think it was possible, so I said one day I’m going to make it I didn’t know rocket belts existed. I thought it was all Hollywood stunts. Even when I saw I saw them in the movies or when I saw them in cartoons or when I saw them in TV series I still didn’t believe it was real. I thought it was some guy hanging on a wire and until I read an article on the Smithsonian Institution magazine in Washington D.C. where they actually were talking about putting the first one in the Smithsonian and then when I read that I realized that if they were putting it in the Smithsonian it wasn’t a prop from a movie it was real. And that was when I really became interested in it because that’s when I realized it could be done. And I said to myself if one man could do it before, another man could do it again.
Evan - Was that Bill Suitor?
Nino - Well the article included Bill Suitor, but it was about the rocket belt and it was written by Barry Digregorio whom I became friends with and he’s also a Mars exploration expert. He wrote the article about the Bell Rocket system. The inventor of the rocket belt and among many people he talked about Bill Suitor was included. That’s how I got to meet Bill Suitor through Barry Digregorio. I wrote him a letter and he wrote back saying if you want to meet him I’ll give the information to Bill and he said sure, and he called me back and that’s how I began to be friends with him.
(Here I am with Bill Suitor)
Evan - What was your first flight like?
Nino - Well the first flight was very recently with the version of the pack you saw flying. And that was something you cannot explain with words. When I asked Bill before I flew, I asked Bill how does it feel to fly a rocket belt and he said its like standing on a beach ball, you know those beach balls, big one, and you are trying to balance and the ball is on the water. Imagine that. Imagine you are trying to balance on the ball and the beach ball is not on the sand, it’s not on the ground, but it is floating on the water. That’s what he said. And when I flew for the first time I saw a little bit of what he was trying to say. It didn’t feel exactly like that, but it felt very uneasy. Remember when you rode your bike for the first time? It felt kind of like you didn’t know what was going to happen. You could fall and things like that. Well this was exactly like that. It was a totally new feeling. I didn’t know what was going to come next. And so that’s why before I flew we built a simulator. A simulator allows you to load up the back with water instead of real fuel so you won’t get any danger and then you pick up your cell phone on the simulator and the simulator pulls you up or down about 20 inches when you give it throttle and it simulates as if you are taking off or coming down and when it does that you actually have to balance cause if you don’t balance you fall forward or you fall back. And there’s an alarm that goes on so you have to stay within a certain range and that helps you get the feeling in the seat of your pants how to really find the sweet spot without getting scared from the noise or the heat or the blast and so that helped me a lot. In the days of Bill it didn’t work that way. They had to go do 30 - 35 flights before they could actually be proficient and do a solo flight. We’re trying to make it easy because our goal is to have the rocket belt available for other people and if it is very difficult to learn to fly, they will not buy it, so you have to make it easy.
Evan - Having the dream from Astro Boy to seeing it can be done and then designing your own rocket belt, that’s a big jump
Nino - It didn’t happen like that. The idea first was one day I’m gonna build that but that wasn’t possible. When I saw it was possible that was the catalyzing moment. That was the moment when I realized I could do it. I started by first contacting the guy who wrote the article. First the editor of the magazine then the editor of the magazine got me in contact with the guy who wrote the article. Then the guy, who wrote the article, Barry, got me in contact with Bill. Then Bill got me in contact with some of the ex-engineers. Then the ex-engineers talked to me about what the data was stored in some library and I went and got that. A little bit at a time I did a big research and that’s how I was able to gather all the information that I needed. Once I got the information and I realized that I could build the same rocket belt as like they did back in the 1960’s, I said I’ve got to do something different. I don’t just want to copy it, I want to do something different. And what can I do different? And there wasn’t much I could do different cause they already polished the design to where you couldn’t do anything better in terms of the design. The way it was designed it was the bare bones the most basic way they could build it so I realized the only way I could improve on it was the flying time. That’s when I started working on the goal of making it lighter trying to use different fuels, that’s when I came up with the idea of using two fuels instead of one. Then I came up with the idea of using a promoter. That’s like an additive that you put in the peroxide which is the normal fuel for more energy so that’s how it all transitioned from I can do it to now getting all the tools and the information so you can go and designing and drawing something.
Evan - You’ve improved it
Nino - The improving is based on the efforts that we put in along with some of the help that I received from all of the old people that worked on it back in the 60’s. Because all the old people had their ideas of how to improve it too. Because they were working for a company sometimes you can’t do what you want, you have to do what the company wants you to do. That’s why when they heard that I was doing this new improved version they all gave me ideas on how to make it a little bit different and that’s how I implemented and used some other ideas and that’s why when you went to my website, you see the technical team, the ex-people from Bell Aerosystems, all those people gave me a little bit of information here and there that made it possible for me to come up with the best design that I have now.
Evan - What kind of fuel do you use?
Nino - This is a very good question because a lot of people are confused, they don’t understand hydrogen peroxide. They think it is the stuff you buy at the drugstore which it is, it is just that it is more concentrated. And also people don’t understand why we use this fuel instead of something more powerful like hydrogen or liquid oxygen like they use in the space shuttle for example. The fuel that we use is hydrogen peroxide. Why do we use hydrogen peroxide? Well, of all the rocket fuels that you could research to make a regular rocket, like going to the moon, for a rocket pack, like the ones we are talking about. Of all the rocket fuels that you could possibly invent you’re not going to find another fuel that is the easiest on people. What I mean is all other fuels aside from peroxide are either explosive, very sensitive, carcinogenic, toxic, dangerous for the environment, dangerous for people. For example the space shuttle has on the front of the nose little tiny nozzles that look like a little cross. Those are called Reaction Control System, RCS, and on the bottom they have other nozzles that allow them to change rotation and the attitude. That’s called ACS, Altitude Control System, so there’s two systems the reaction control system and the attitude control system used by the space shuttle when they are in space when there’s is no atmosphere. To position the shuttle any way you want it to. They blow a bit of puff. What they use for fuel is hydrazine. Hydrazine has been used for many years as rocket fuel but it has a problem. It is extremely toxic. And if you touch it, it goes right through your skin and it stores in your liver and few years after that you get cancer in your liver. All the scientists that worked with hydrazine in the 1960’s they are all dead. Most of the scientists who worked with hydrogen peroxide, if it weren’t for any other reason, they are all still alive. What this tells you is that hydrogen peroxide, of all the rocket fuels, is the more benign. Because when hydrogen peroxide fuel decomposes, all it makes is oxygen gas and water and heat. That’s it. It is not all the byproducts and left over’s. That’s it, pure oxygen and pure water. In fact, Bell Aerosystems which was the company that built the first rocket belt and that built the plane that Chuck Yeager used to go the speed of sound the X1, X1A, the X15? The same guy who helped Chuck Yeager break the speed of sound is the same guy that invented the rocket belt. It is the same person. Wendell Moore. And they actually also built a suit for the North Pole soldiers that ran on hydrogen peroxide. When the peroxide was decomposing, when it was turning into oxygen and heat and water, it warmed up the soldier. There were little tubes going all around. But then it turned into water, so the water went into a little canister and they used the water for drinking. So they had water, and climate control and extra energy from the heat. That’s how good it was. You could actually decompose the hydrogen peroxide and drink it.
Evan - If you could put health and safety aside, would there be fuels that would allow you to fly longer?
Nino - Absolutely. Peroxide is at the bottom of the scale of energy content. It is called impulse density or specific impulse. It is a jargon used by rocket engineers which means the figure of merit. How good a fuel is in terms of its energy. The higher the value of the ISP, like a 200 is twice as much energy as a 100. What that means is per pound, because in rocket propulsion you always have to look at the weight of things, because everything is weight. So if you have a little pea size thing that has the same amount of energy as a 55 gallon drum of gasoline, which one is more favorable? The pea size thing. So that’s called the ISP. So if you look at the ISP of all the rocket fuels man has made, peroxide is just about second from the bottom. So then you say why are we using peroxide? Because in rocket propulsion it is the best man rated fuel. Man rated fuel means that is rated to be close to people. Now it is not totally safe, mind you. Things could go bad with peroxide, really bad. They could catch things on fire. If you touch something that is organic, if you put it on a rag, and you leave the rag over here, you turn around and within 15 seconds the rag goes WHOOSH. And it goes on fire. It is safer than any other though and it won’t give you cancer. Your body is making peroxide right now. The bombardier beetle is a little beetle that protects himself by shooting hydrogen peroxide. I have a link on my website. So you see that shows you that if our body is making it and a beetle is making it, it cannot be that toxic. There is no living organism on earth that makes hydrazine. All living tissues of mammals make hydrogen peroxide. All things can be dangerous. Even drinking too much water can kill you. In small amounts it is not very dangerous, not very toxic. So that’s why we chose, that’s what the original designers chose, and that’s why we continue to use hydrogen peroxide because it is one of the safest things to put next to the pilot.
Hydrogen peroxide is safe, but it is not thoroughly safe. For example if you get rocket grade hydrogen peroxide on your hands, they will turn white like you have paint. In fact people will think you are painting because your entire skin will turn whiter than this sheet of paper. Actually whiter that your dad’s T-shirt, almost a blue white. That white is oxygen gas that gets underneath your skin. If you are allergic you will get a little rash, a little burn. If you have a cut it is really gonna hurt, it is gonna burn. If you drink it, it can do something to your stomach. If it goes into your eye, that is the worst thing with hydrogen peroxide rocket fuel because if it goes into your cornea, there is nothing that can be done. You could put water but it could actually damage your cornea permanently. So that is the most dangerous thing that could be done. So there are risks. It is safe, but not a 100% safe.
Evan - Is it an easier to use and dependable fuel?
Nino - Yes. In fact it is even better because peroxide is a monopropellant. You don’t have to mix it and you don’t have to make it.
When it touches the silver screens inside the gas generator on the back, it immediately, it instantly turns into gas. So there are very few moving parts and systems and controls you have to use, which makes the system very reliable. Less moving parts means less things that can go wrong!
Evan - So how long can you fly?
Nino - The length of flight depends on several things. How heavy is the pack when it is empty. It depends on how heavy is the pilot, and it depends on how much fuel you can put in. And then it depends on what kind of ISP (energy content) every pound of that peroxide has by itself.
Evan - And it depends on which way the wind is blowing
Nino - Absolutely. If you are going against the wind. Those are fixed variables. If you have more weight, you are going to fly shorter. If you have less fuel you are going to fly shorter. Then you have other variables like the wind or how hard you are on the throttle. Just like when you drive a car. If you drive pedal to the metal, you empty the gas tank faster. It is the same thing. If you want to go full throttle, you will use the fuel faster than if you go slow and just a few feet off the floor. It is very hard to give a flight time, because you always have different conditions, like if the pilot weighs two hundred pounds…you never have the same conditions twice.
Evan - You can fly longer than your test pilot, Rob Schneider
Nino - Yes. He weighs 210 pounds. And how much do you weigh Evan? (70#) So imagine that weight difference you make it up in fuel and you use less power on the throttle. You could fly for a couple of minutes! With my weight, I’m 162, I could fly 45 - 50 seconds with the model I have right now. Rob would definitely fly less than that because the amount weight with the same amount of fuel would require more thrust. The extra thrust would burn more fuel faster.
Evan - What happens if you run out of fuel and you are still in the air?
Nino - You fall! On the original rocket belt it had an alarm system with a timer. They knew how long you could fly because they knew how much fuel you were using. When the timer reached 15 seconds it began to send a little signal to a vibrator that was mounted on the back of the skull in the helmet. That vibrator gave the signal to the pilot. Because it was so noisy, you couldn’t hear any bells or anything. It tells the pilot that he has 10 seconds from when he feels that. When there is 10 seconds left it goes burr…..burr…..burr. But when there is only 5 seconds left it goes brrrrrrrrrr. So that means come down NOW.
On our system we have a redundant system. That means there are several ways to tell them to come down now. First you have a true gas gauge heads up display that is mounted on the visor of the helmet. It has eight LEDs. It has a flow sensor that makes the LED turn from green to gray. When it gets to 3 LED’s left, it begins to blink and a vibrator starts to go on the back of your helmet. When you have only one third of the flight left, it begins to do that. We also have a little laser light that is pointed at the face of the pilot. So if the display doesn’t work, you will still see a bright red light that begins to blink and it is telling you the same thing. That’s what happens when you know you are beginning to run out of fuel. If you do run out of fuel, you know the answer already right?
With a rocket belt, there are no wings. You can’t glide. You fall down like a sack of potatoes.
Evan - How high can you go?
Nino - It all depends. If you only go up and down, with the load of fuel that we have now, which is 92 pounds and a pilot like me who weighs 162 pounds we could go to about 1500 feet if you go straight up and down, with reserve and with thrust. It is easy to let yourself go up and then fall, but then you get to the point where you have to use power again. And believe it or not, you don’t save anything because the speed that you pick up falling then you have to compensate by thrust. The other way is safer because you bring yourself down. If you happen to run out of fuel with a very few feet, you fall slowly a few feet to the ground. But if you don’t have enough fuel to get down from up high, and if you come down with all the acceleration, you land hard. Like Wiley Coyote!
Evan - What is the difference between a rocket pack and jet pack?
Nino - Excellent question Evan! Everybody always makes a mistake when they call anything that you wear on your back and you fly “jet pack” “rocket belt”. The most terrible mistake about that is the new guy who’s from New Zealand at Oshkosh who called his flying device a “jet pack” and everybody is asking why he is calling it a jet pack when there is no jet engine. (He had a lawn mower engine right?)
So what is the difference between a rocket belt and a jet pack? OK, a rocket belt, the word tells you everything. If you don’t have a rocket as an engine, you cannot call it a rocket. A jet pack is the same way. You have to have a jet engine. Because that is where the word came from. The word “Jet Pack” did not exist until Bell Aerosystems, in 1968, made a jet pack. And that had a Williams Research jet engine. In fact when you get to the Hiller Aviation Museum, they have a Williams Research WR19 - WR25 it’s mounted at the tip of a helicopter blade. That is the same engine, with slight modification, that was used on a Bell Aerosystems jet pack. The one and only jet pack that flew in 1968. And so because of that every time you called it a jet pack, they coined the term. Because before that, they called it rocket belt. The original name came from the Germans. After WW1, the Germans realized that having an air force was a very important thing for a country, for defense and for offense. That’s why they had the Red Baron and all the famous aces of WW1. So that’s when the idea started in what was called the RS. The RS stands for “Rocketaman Soldaten” - Rocketman Soldiers. So they actually wanted to have a troop of rocket man soldiers and there are pictures that I have of little guys with guns and helmets…and so that’s where the whole idea of the name rocket pack came in. Then when Wendell Moore in 1968 built a jet pack that is the first time they used the name “jet pack” because people didn’t know what jet engines were until the 1950’s. They never had jet engines. So the main difference between the two is if it has a jet engine it is a jet pack. If it has a rocket engine, it is a rocket pack.
Now here is another point. One makes a rocket or a jet pack and one makes something else, not a rocket pack or a jet pack. For example, the Hiller platform, or Mr. Hiller’s helicopter, the rescue thing, or the Solar Trek that’s over here or this guy Martin jet pack or so called jet pack. Why is that not a jet pack or a rocket pack? Here is how you decide what is what. If the pilot can carry on his back whatever contraption you built, to make him fly, if you can carry it and walk with it, it is whatever you want to call it “pack”. Rocket pack, jet pack, proto pack, heli pack… whatever you want to call it and whatever power engine you want to put, then you can call it pack because you can wear it on your back like a backpack. If the flying contraption carries the pilot, you cannot carry it on your back. It has to be brought with a trailer, and you get on it…and that flies you, then that is not a rocket pack. That is an ultralight, it’s a sonic copter, some experimental whatever you want to call it. (Flying lawnmower) Yeah, right. That’s why we call it a flying platform. Because it was a flying platform and it flew, but you could never say it was a flying backpack platform.
Evan - That guy that flew at Oshkosh this year
Nino - It’s a 4 cylinder Rotax with two ducted fans. It’s the same engine that is on the Solar Trek. He’s done nothing different. The only difference is the SolarTrek had a prop guard. This guy really did a duct. He applied the aerodynamics and he created a real ducted fan, just like Hiller did. The Hiller platform is not a true ducted fan either. It’s a prop guard. In order to have a duct and give you the increase in thrust you have to have a certain length on the duct. And those were too short.
Evan – So Bell Aerosystems built the jet pack too?
Nino - Yes they did. Bell was the first to make it. It was built because the rocket pack was built before 1961. The army turned it down. It was a project for the army. For the TRECOM, the Transportation Research Command based in Fort Eustace Virginia. And they turned it down because it was too noisy. That was reason number one. Reason number two, it flew too short of a time. 22 seconds was too short. So they came back to the drawing board and got a second round of monies from the army to build something that flew a little bit longer. Now they proved themselves that they could do it now they said lets make it go longer. So they tried all kind of things. They tried to use a rocket pack with a nozzle with, instead of like on my pack or the original one, they put this jet turbine that used the gases to rotate like a turbo prop inside a ducted fan cylinder and tried to use that to increase the thrust. They came up with other variations for the wing. You could fly with the wing and have the wing give a little bit of a lift. But that requires some horizontal speed, you couldn’t hover anymore. (And extra weight) Of course, but this was an inflatable wing. I have pictures you should see it. It was really a delta wing too! Then it became the delta wings that you see (hang gliders?) Yes, the delta wings on hang gliders aren’t inflatable.
So what happens when it was demonstrated, there is a film of the jet pack flying at the Pentagon, the brass says, ok but we don’t want it. So they cut the funding and then Bell system closed the doors and got sold to Aerojet General. They sold back to the company that made the engine, William Research, the whole thing. Then Williams Research built something called a WASP. You’ve probably seen it if you go on the web. It looks like a preacher’s podium that is flying. And that has the same engine that was in the jet pack.
Evan - What is the next step in rocket belt design? A jet engine?
Nino - The best way to build a pack is with a jet engine. We do have the technology. We do have a company that builds small jet engines now. In 1968 was the last time we had a real jet pack fly. Nobody ever flew before and nobody ever flew after that. Even today. We had a few guys that have put like 10 or 15 of those model plane jet engines, those real tiny ones. And they put 10 or 8 on each side. And they have been able to go off the ground and come down. Everybody does the same thing, just get off the ground and come down. Because they go off, the air cushion of the ground effect. Nobody has built something that flew like the original jet pack. So the next step is putting a jet engine in. We already have a design that uses a jet engine. It is two jet engines, small ones. They are made by a company in the Midwest for drones for the army for target practice. They make models of planes and they put this engine on it and they fly it for antiaircraft artillery or air to air combat training. They use these remote control planes to shoot at for target practice. And that company has a jet engine, but right now we have run out of money for further development and that is why we are not doing that. But that is the next step. The next step is definitely a jet engine. It is just a matter of money. It would give you between 10 and 20 minutes of flight time. And you can use any fuel. You can use diesel. You can stop at a gas station and fill it up. You can even put paint thinner. You could stop at home depot and fill it up. You could fly to school! Yes that is another reason why I was looking into this. It used to take me almost 50 minutes go 12 miles from San Carlos to Mountain View back in the 90’s. So I said there has got to be a better way. And that’s how I also got started on the rocket belt when I was reading that article, you could just fly to work instead of drive.
Evan - What advice can you give me so I can do cool stuff like you someday?
Nino - Wow! That is one of the best questions I have been asked by anybody. First of all, the first thing you have to do is never think anything is impossible. If you write the word “impossible” and you take the “i” and the “m” what do you have left?? Possible. You always kick the “im” out and anything you think could be done, you can do it. So that’s the first thing. And I know it sounds very altruistic and very high and very important to say that but that’s really very important and it’s true. If you don’t believe that something can be done, you don’t apply yourself. You don’t research, you don’t look, you don’t read. You don’t put in that extra hour at night when something doesn’t work. You don’t put that extra minute of thought at night when you are in bed. Because you don’t believe that it could be done. But if you believe, sometimes you come up with ideas that nobody has ever come up with and you make inventions. So that is the first thing. Then, of course if you want to do something involved with technology like this, then you have to get involved with technological things like reading about things that fly, which you already do. You like planes, right? Reading about how each part of a plane works cause when you understand how the plane works you can imagine how that can be applied into a rocket belt. For example I have a friend in Mexico. He built himself a rocket belt, but he is kind of heavy so he couldn’t fly too high or too long. So he thought maybe I will make something different. So he kept the tanks and he mounted a propeller on top that he controls with a hand. Kind of similar to Mr. Hiller’s propeller. And because it looks like a helicopter and with a helicopter you always need a tail, a prop to keep you straight, you don’t need that if you have an autogyro or if you have the power of the props mounted on the wingtips of the prop. So he put two little peroxide rockets out on the wingtips of the props. And that’s what acts as the autogyro and that’s what he’s working on. And you see, he never let himself down by first thinking I could never build a rocket belt. Anyway, that didn’t work, he didn’t let himself down and say OK that doesn’t work. He went to the next step. So the best advice I could give you is believe you can do it, especially if someone did it before you! And second, you have to study or read and study in school or at least become self taught. And sometimes you have to learn formulas and math to be able to do real hard calculations. Otherwise you are going to do a lot of trial and error and that is kind of expensive. If you have a lot of money to spend, you have to do what’s called a “non-smoke test”. The smoke test is what people say when you do a test and something burns up. You have to learn how to do the test so that it doesn’t burn up. That takes a lot of patience, a lot of preparation. What if you have a one of a kind part and you can’t burn it? How do you test it? It is very important. It is theoretical thinking. The frame of mind when you have 5 spares and when you only have one precious part is very different. You don’t rush things you reread the test procedures twice. You make sure you have your fuses and breakers and fire extinguishers ready. And so it teaches you a lot more when you do a non-smoke test. Those are the kind of things that you need to learn. Otherwise it will take you a long time before you get anything.
Evan - Is there something you’ve never been asked, that you want to say?
Nino - You asked very good questions Evan. Your last one was the best. Everybody wants to fly but nobody asks “how do you do it”. Pretty much I’ve been asked every form of question from “why don’t your pants burn up” ‘why don’t the grass burn.”
Evan - Why not?
Nino - Well the tubes on the rocket belt don’t come up perfectly straight. They have about a 4 degree angle. So the jet stream of gas doesn’t come out straight. It comes out away from you. So when you move the controls, the controls have some mechanical stuff that will never allow any of the heat streams to hit the pilot. Number two is when the gas comes out of the nozzle, right at the edge of the nozzle it is about 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. So it’s like the internal combustion engine of your car. As the gases move into the cold air, they begin to go very fast. At about 4 feet from the nozzle they drop from 1200 to 400 degrees. So they drop three times down. By the time you get to the grass, and the grass has a big mass, it is a big area, right? It absorbs a lot of heat. And it is only hot air. There are no flames. You need to really sit there for a long time and really blast and blast to first get the grass dry and after it is dry then you can get it on fire. Dried grass is a different story. But usually it won’t light. You are usually moving around anyway, so you don’t have the time to set even dry grass on fire.
That is one of the typical questions that I get. Of course the other one is “why don’t you fly horizontal like the Rocketeer?” And that’s another issue to do with physics.
Well you can’t fly horizontal because in order to fly horizontal you have to be stiff. And the human body is not stiff. We are too flexible. In order to fly like that, the human body has to act like a fuselage. You have to be stiff like a stick, like a rocket, and then you can fly. But because our bodies are not made like that, it is very hard.
(And the only way you get like that is if you sit on the couch watching dumb TV shows for two or three days, like you do dad!)
Yeah, it sounds like something your mom says to your dad once in a while. My wife says that to me too!
Those are the most typical questions. Why don’t you burn your feet, why don’t you burn the grass, why can’t you fly horizontal, and can anybody fly?
And the answer of course is yes. If you can talk to me and you can walk to me you can learn to fly. There is no reason why you can’t learn to fly. And sometimes people ask silly questions like “why can’t I just put it on and fly?” And I always say the same thing. Just think of it this way. Today if you got delivered your first MIG 25 from Russia. Would you just get into it and fly it from the nearest airport? The answer is no. You need to learn to fly a MIG 25. And it’s the same if you’ve never ridden a motorcycle. Do you just get on a motorcycle and ride? So this is the same thing. People think that it is just like in the movies. You put it on and turn it on… and even in the Rocketeer, he doesn’t do a lot of practice. In the real world, it isn’t like that. So those are the most covered questions.
It was really great to just sit down and talk with Nino. I really learned a lot! I can’t wait for his jet-powered pack to “take-off”. I’ll be first in line to be his test pilot!
I hope you enjoyed it and learned a lot too!
Special thanks to my mom who did the transcribing for this interview!