Grandad's Jet-Pack


I think its in the bylaws of Popular Science, somewhere, that the magazine has to feature a flying car or a jet-pack every couple of issues. This time, however, PopSci has a particularly fun take on an old stand-by -- one I wish I had thought to write, frankly. Check of this lovingly silly portrait of one of the guys who actually flies a jet-pack in his back yard.jetpack_485.jpg

Despite the great optimism of the early 60s, in the rocket belts brief history, only 12 souls have flown one. More people have walked on the moon. But Juan Manuel Lozano didnt want to go to the moon...Lozano is not a rocket scientist. He is not a stuntman. He is an animated, often goofy granddad who is afraid of the sight of blood. When hes all dressed up in his rocket suit, Lozano looks more like Andy Kaufman pulling one of his famous stunts than he does James Bond. His highest diploma is a high school degree, although he did attend pilot school in Mexico City and took courses at an aerobatic-flight shop in Houston so he could fly the plane he was designing at the time.For the past 40 years, Lozano has been a constant tinkerer and rocket hobbyist, and evidence of his obsession is all around his home. He shows me an in-progress rocket-propelled motorcycle that he predicts will go from 0 to 250 in five seconds. Around the back of the house is a rocket engine for a car that Lozano says will have 22,000 horse-power and a shot at breaking the land speed record. His daughter recounts stories of the go-karts dad made for her and her sister. And the high school science fairs? Guess whose kids always won.
(Big ups: Aliray)
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