Portable Air Transport I



Object, 24 x 50 x 96 cm.
Materials: metal, plastic, wood, fishing-net

Collection: Collection Galerie Jamar, Antwerp (Inv. no. WV28).

The Portable Air Transport, abbreviated as P.A.T., is a small, easily transportable flying device for making one's way in the air.

'In the beginning, I had a problem with airplanes and wings, because you then always needed a runway for take-offs and landings.  In the city, you need something with a vertical take-off.  Then I just thought: if I make something helicopter-like, then I just need a rotor and a powerful motor, nothing else, and have it all fit in a small suitcase...' - Panamarenko

For his first P.A.T., Panamarenko drew inspiration from a design by the American Bell Telephone Company.  The design is an attempt to develop a device that could be worn on the back, driven by a water-peroxide fueled rocket and with a flight duration of three minutes.  Panamarenko considered the principle to be too farfetched, and believed that a small, fast-rotating motor with the correct rotor could develop sufficient horsepower for the task. 

An initial prototype, generally known as the Portable Air Transport I, was born from the model that Panamarenko designed at the end of 1968-beginning 1969. 

'That first P.A.T was not to be worn on the back.  You could sit on it.' - Panamarenko

The device has a metal frame, carrying a square net in the middle.  A motor is mounted on each side to drive the propellers.  The propellers each consist of two, oppositely-rotating rotors. 

'The motors came from chainsaws and go-carts.  All of them two-stroke.  You could slide the components together and they'd fold into a kind of valise.  That's why I called it 'portable air transport'.' - Panamarenko

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