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The Great American Jet Pack: The Quest for the Ultimate Individual Lift Deviceby Steve Lehto
Synopses & Reviews
For a few decades, jet packs seemed to be everywhere: on Gilligans Island, Lost in Space, Thunderball, and even the opening ceremony of the 1984 Olympics. Inventors promised wed all be flying with them now, enabling us to zoom around effortlessly in the sky and getting us to work without traffic jams and trains. What happened to the jet pack?
In The Great American Jet Pack, Steve Lehto gives us the definitive history of this and related devices, explaining how the technology arose, how it works, and why we dont have them in our garages today.
These individual lift devices, as they were blandly labeled by the government men who financed much of their development, answered mans desire to simply step outside and take flight. No runways, no wings, no pilots license were required. Soaring through the air with the wind in your face and landing anyplace there was room to stand—could this be done? Yes, it could be, and it was.
But the jet pack was perhaps the most overpromised technology of all time. From the rocket belt to the jet belt to the flying platform and all the way to Yves Rossys 21st-century free flights using a jet-powered wing, this book profiles the inventors and pilots, the hucksters and cheats, the businessmen and soldiers who were involved with these machines. And it finally tells a great American story of a technology whose promise may, one day, yet come to fruition.
A dramatic story of automotive innovation and government persecution
In the wake of World War II, the U.S. automobile industry was fully unprepared to meet the growing demands of the public, for whom they had not made any cars for years. In stepped Preston Tucker, a salesman extraordinaire who announced the building of a revolutionary new car: the Tucker ‘48, the first car in almost a decade to be built fresh from the ground up. Tucker’s car, which would include ingenious advances in design and engineering that other car companies could not match, captured the interest of the public, and automakers in Detroit took notice. Soon, the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission, headed by a former Detroit man, began investigating Tucker, and when a leaked report indicated that Tucker was going to be indicted for a scheme of massive fraud, his stock crashed and America came to believe that he was nothing but a huckster. After a lengthy trial, Tucker was eventually exonerated, but not before he and his company were left with nothing. Here, author Steve Lehto tackles Tucker’s amazing story, relying on a huge trove of documents that has been used by no other writer to date. It is the first comprehensive, authoritative account of Tucker’s magnificent car and his battles with the government. And in this book, Lehto finally answers the question automobile aficionados have wondered about for decades: exactly how and why the production of such an innovative car was killed.
Tracing the remarkable history of a certain kind of flying machine—from the rocket belt to the jet belt to the flying platform and all the way to Yves Rossy's 21st-century free flights using a jet-powered wing—this historical account delves into the technology that made these devices possible and the reasons why they never became commercial successes on a mass scale. These individual lift devices, as they were blandly labeled by the government men who financed much of their development, answered man's desire to simply step outside and take flight. No runways, no wings, no pilot's license were required. But the history of the jet pack did not follow its expected trajectory and the devices that were thought to become as commonplace as cars have instead become one of the most overpromised technologies of all time. This fascinating account profiles the inventors and pilots, the hucksters and cheats, and the businessmen and soldiers who were involved with the machines, and it tells a great American story of a technology whose promise may yet, one day, come to fruition.
About the Author
Steve Lehto is the author of Deaths Door: The Truth Behind Michigans Largest Mass Murder, a 2007 Michigan Notable Book; Chrysler's Turbine Car; and Michigans Columbus: The Life of Douglass Houghton.
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Engineering » Engineering » History