Johnny Jetpack Propulsion Labs


Launch Log


25th Launch

Silver anniversary (25th) Johnny attempted a trip to hale-bop comet. Green and red water color. Partial detachment (pilot). Good pictures of launch, poor parachute deployment. No head separation.


26th Launch

Head detached at apex of flight. Part spectacular and part gory because the instant mass was red and stringy.


27th Launch

Splat bam pizza launch. Instant mess released just before impact with ground. Green and blue water. Partial pilot detachment.Head detached. Left Johnny sprinkled with mess like pizza topping.

Johnny Jetpack Launch #27 story at LarrySwanson.com


28th Launch

Johnny graduates! Huge breakthrough with parachute system. Enormous pilot separation. Total head detachment at apex with instant mess. Both arms convulsed.


29th Launch

Johnny hits launch rod. Excellent parachute deployment. Very windy weather. Instant mess worked but only on impact. Blue and green water.


30th Launch

This was supposed to be a "Johnny Angel" anniversary launch. Fold out angel wings were stashed up Johnny's sleeves and he wore a halo about his head.

Not only was a new 8 foot canopy parachute (for Jetpack only) about to be used for the first time, but also pneumatic shoulder muscles had just been installed with hopes of an escape flight from the disaster.

Enormous water and air leaks kept pressures below 100 psi, and propellant loss was more than 1 pint.

Unfortunately, none of the new developments worked because nothing except the jetpack worked. Neither the flailing arms, instant mess, nor parachute system worked. It sucked.


31st   Launch

This launch was done at a large festival known as Jerfest, a tribute to Jerry Garcia. Johnny had his largest crowd ever, close to 400. Johnny was facing downwind toward the stage for this launch. New engines (water containers) with O-rings were used which worked to stop propellant leaks.

Unfortunately, none of the effects such as flailing arms, pilot detachment or parachute system worked. The instant mess did work, but did not eject the pilot's head as it was supposed to.


32nd Launch, September 3 1998

On the playa of the Black Rock desert at the event known as Burning Man, Johnny made his thirty-second launch. Things went awry quickly when pressurizing the Jetpack. A hose on the Jetpack blew off. The re-attachment of this hose was extremely difficult, and there was much swearing. Then, the pilot began to fall off the jetpack since the release pin cords had been tied too tightly. After solving these problems, the area was cleared and pressurization resumed. It was at this point that the head blew off, both prematurely and without warning. A large cloud of red cattails settled on to the playa with a headless Johnny still prepared for flight. The audience loved this and thought it was intentional. Johnny flew after that, ripping into the sky with red and blue water trails and no head. Once again, none of the other effects functioned correctly, including the parachute system.


33rd Launch, September 4 1998

Johnny made a second try at Burning Man, at nearly the same location as the 32nd launch. This time Johnny and his head both stayed on the jetpack, but the launch was very disappointing. The pilot chute ejected but, for reasons not understood, did not open. A new pilot chute ejection system must be devised.


1st Launch Johnny BurnMan

Johnny BurnMan was a performance designed for the Burning Man event. Johnny's old jetpack was used and filled with three gallons of Coleman fuel (instead of water.) This jetpack was pressurized with propane gas from 100 feet away. The release mechanism was also to be operated at this distance, but was not fully released because of operator error. The result was a large fireball that made a huge cloud of black smoke and incinerated Johnny. All that was left was a black skeleton on the launch rod. There is talk of re-attempting this performance at Burning Man '99.


39th Launch, March 16 2002

Larry took the shots in this photo album of Launch #39.


40th Launch, April 28 2003

John Cornicello took the shots in this photo album of Launch #40.


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