Romanian inventor of Jetpack, Justin Capra dies at age 81

January 29, 2015 8:01 am

Justin Capra was an inventor who claimed to have beaten the Americans
to make the world’s first jetpack and who went on to design and build
dozens of vehicles.
The modern-day car, he said, was “a disgrace”.

 Romanian inventor Justin Capra, who claims to have invented the world’s
first jetpack, sits in a fuel-efficient car of his own design in 2009.
Photo / AP

Of
his more than 100 inventions, 72 were prototypes of cars with low fuel
consumption, seven were aircraft and 15 unconventional engines.
Justin
Virgilius Capra was born in Magureni, , on February 22, 1933. He
died aged 81 in Ploiesti in Prahova, Romania, on January 19.
Propelled
by poverty and curiosity, Capra began inventing gadgets in childhood.
He joined the army, and in 1955 invented the Virgilius RocketCar, which
was fitted with a jet engine and reached 290km/h.
The following year he unveiled the “flying rucksack”, a personal flying machine. A paratrooper tried it out but crashed.
Capra was advised by the aviation pioneer Henri Coanda to change the fuel; he did so and came up with an improved version.

The same paratrooper tried it again and this time it stayed in
the air. But, under communism, citizens were not allowed to own flying
machines and Capra was unable to patent his invention.
Undaunted,
he sought help from the US Embassy in Bucharest, but as he left the
building he was arrested by Securitate agents, who accused him of
attempting to build a flying machine in order to flee Romania.
During
two weeks of interrogation he was beaten, and threatened with worse,
and when he was released he was forbidden from working as engineer,
forced instead to work as a sweeper and cleaner.
In 1962 an identical machine was produced in the US by Bell Aircraft and patented.
“All that was different was the colour,” Capra insisted.
In 2002 the US officially recognised Capra as the inventor of the jetpack.
In 2011 he built a single-seater car that did 756km to the gallon (3.8 litres), running on a mixture of petrol and water.
He blamed “social, political, and economic reasons” for his belief that it would never be built on a mass scale.
Of
cars, he said: “They are a disgrace. They weigh 1000kg and carry people
who weigh 60kg … Of one litre of fuel, 980ml shifts the car and 20ml
is for us.”
He warned that because the number of cars exceeds
roads being built, “instead of becoming a means of transporting people,
cars will become a reason for blocking the traffic”.

Tags:
shared on wplocker.com