Justin Capra and the flying backpack later used by NASA

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Who was Justin Capra?

The Romanian inventor, professor and engineer Virgilius Justin Capra was born in February 22 1933, in Magureni, Prahova county, Romania.

He is known for his many inventions, including: the jetpack, the Oblio and Troty electric tricycle, the smallest car in the world - Soleta (with a consumption of 0.5l / 100km), the first rocket launcher, the VIRGILIUS car and more.

The invention of the flying backpack in Romania

At the age of 17 he made a bob, which brought news in terms of suspension and steering. andIn 1956, when he was only 23, he made his first flying backpack, an individual aircraft that is exposed to "Dimitrie Leonida" Technical Museum from Bucharest. Although his invention was a very important one, Justin Capra did not patent it because of the Bucharest regime, which forbade citizens to own flying machines at that time.

Two years later, in 1958 submit with Ion Munteanu application for the patenting of an individual aircraft powered by two mini-rockets placed symmetrically around the shoulders: the famous "flying backpack"; patent number 41711 is issued by OSIM in 1962, after 6 years from the invention.

He later claimed that the invention had been transmitted to the United States, where it would be patented seven years later by the Americans Wendell Moore, Cecil Martin and Robert Cumings. It was not until 2002 that the Americans officially acknowledged that the idea belonged to the Romanian Justin Capra. The backpack was used by cosmonauts for intercapsular travel.

Inventing the flying backpack in other countries

However, such devices had been proposed long before the Russian inventor Aleksandr Fyodorovich Andreyev obtaining a patent since 1919.

During the war, Germany experienced an individual reactive propulsion system called Himmelstürmer. It may have inspired later American efforts such as the project Grasshopper held in the 50s.

The US military has developed the project "Small Rocket Lift Device" which led to the first independent flight with an aircraft developed by Wendell Moore's team on April 20, 1961.

Cecil Martin and Robert Cummings

Cecil Martin and Robert Cummings filed a patent application in 1958 for a different individual flight device. Turbo-fan lift device. The two weren't just part of the Bell team Wendell Moore appears on the patent obtained by it.

In the fall of the year 1962, at the Transport Exhibition near Herastrau (Bucharest), Wendell Moore presented his individual aircraft that had a completely different construction than Capra's proposal, although he claims that they were different only in color and name.

In a 2008 interview, he claims to have made a small leap with the 1958 version of the flying backpack.

In 1968 he made another version of the flying backpack, now powered by perhydrol as the Bell-built device. The device was exhibited at the Technical Museum in Bucharest.

Justin Capra's portfolio

Justin Capra has a portfolio that includes 114 inventions, of which 72 are prototypes of very low consumption cars, 7 aircraft and 15 unconventional engines.

He has received various distinctions and important awards such as: Arca Award, Ifia Eco Award for the best ecological invention - Electric or hybrid tricycle, together with Marian Velcea; Eureca Gold Medal Diploma - Electric or hybrid tricycle, together with Marian Velcea; Diploma from the Geneva International Invention Show and more.

In 2008 it was decorated with National Order "For Merit" in the rank of Knight.

Justin Capra died on January 19 2015, at the age of 82, at the County Emergency Hospital in Ploiesti. Justin Capra, a proficient and visionary inventor, the creator of the flying backpack, an idea taken over by NASA for the intercapsular movements of cosmonauts, and of the car that consumes 0,5 liters per hundred kilometers, tried to break down barriers and mentalities.




  1. Specific to this stupid people (former and current communist countries) Henri Coanda, has over 600 patents of inventions and innovations, kept safe in Vienna! These include: the 600km \ h magnetic freight and passenger train, the military laser later patented by them and illegally patented by them in 2009, the clone of a UFO, with one passenger and 12 engines…

  2. I followed Iustin Capră's achievements which were presented in the magazine "Science and Technology".
    Too bad he was hardly supported in making his inventions.
    I had the honor to meet him when I worked at the Bucharest Aeronautical Equipment Repair Company.
    A self-taught genius teacher invaluable to his peers!

  3. Only nonsense in this topic. I lived when this backpack was designed, which then came to the Technical Museum in the 70s. It was presented in the pages of the magazine Sport şi Tehnică. It was not patented because it did not meet one of the essential qualities of an invention, to be useful. Simply with the kerosene that could be taken back, a few kg, with jet engines, could not fly for more than a few seconds, that is, to make only one jump. The patented engine was still reactive, but it used hydrogen peroxide, operating on another principle, the decomposition of peroxide on a palladium catalyst, a strongly exothermic reaction with a huge release of energy, a technology unknown in Romania at the time. It is exactly the same situation with Coanda's "turbojet", proof that later none of the expected solutions was followed.

  4. The inventor who did not invent anything. I also tried to see what this man invented. He invented the car that goes with 500g of gasoline 100 km. Well, why aren't the streets full of such cars? Because in fact he did not invent anything. He actually put a chainsaw motor on a pram. What did he invent? The chainsaw motor? Baby car? Those were already, he didn't invent anything but just made some bad taste improvisations that we don't meet on the street because they don't pass the RAR tests and nobody wants to be tormented in a mini car with a chainsaw in their ear. And that flying backpack was invented 4 years before an American.

  5. Viorel Iordache The error of many stems from a misunderstanding of the concept of invention. From this perspective, an invention is not limited to an innovative idea with immediate practical utility, which either by its principle of operation or by construction to constitute absolute novelty, but also involves a functional prototype. I add that currently + 99% of patented inventions are in the technology field, so none of the "inventions" listed by you could have been patented. It was only the result of the Communist Party's policy of patenting anything per kilogram in order to have our "bankruptcies" as well. The American aircraft, not only flew, but you can consult the patent on google, does not look like what is found in the technical museum, neither in principle nor constructive. What absolute novelty did Soleta bring in the automotive field, apart from the installation of a 1CP chainsaw engine or close to it, which did not allow him to overtake any cyclist? As with the backpack, look on the net for the specific consumption of a fighter jet with vertical take-off, lifting from the ground, to see that with 2-3 Kg of Krerosen you can not lift 100kg from the ground - man plus aircraft . Even if they were patented, I don't consider them inventions. Here is the US patent: https://patents.google.com/patent/US3149798A/en

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