Talk:JATO

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Story[edit]

There is a story (perhaps urban legend) of a person who attempted to attach one of these to his automobile. He was apparently awarded a posthumous IgNobel for his efforts. Eclecticology

The story is indeed an urban legend. And that fictive person was awarded with the Darwin Award Ben-Zin


Reversed JATO[edit]

I have seen a video on youtube.com, where a C-130 had JATO's strapped behind the cockpit in reversed direction (thrusting forward). Now in this video the airplane blew up, but is this a used technique or was it just a test ?

The video was probably of one of the tests carried out for Operation Credible Sport, a scheme to rescue the hostages in the Iran hostage crisis. As far as I can tell, the operation was always intended to be a one-off, and no-one is using 'reverse JATO' operationally. That said, a fairly standard - albeit often unofficial - short field landing technique involves putting the propellors into reverse pitch just before touch down. --Scott Wilson 17:28, 16 January 2007 (UTC)a

Types (RATO/JATO)[edit]

These are actually two different types of assisted take-offs. RATO uses rocket motors (often jettisonable after use) - hence Rocket Assisted Take-Off, whilst the other - JATO - uses small auxiliary jet engines - hence Jet Assisted Take-Off.

RATO is usually used as an add-on supplement to an aircraft's own engines, whereas JATO is usually built-in to the aircraft, as a form of permanent auxiliary take-off booster.

Examples I can think of include the de Havilland Sprite rocket motor intended as a RATO supplement on the de Havilland Comet and Vickers Valiant to help them get-off in 'hot and high' conditions, and for JATO the auxiliary underwing turbojets later added to the Lockheed Neptune and the Convair B-36, although in the case of the B-36 they were intended more for increasing the altitude achievable over the target.

We could certainly use expansion of this distinction in the article, and a note on how rare JATO was (and why). I can only think of those two and the Shackleton that used it. Even then, I think that was as much about "hot and high" as it was for takeoff. The problem is that most pure turbojets are at their worst when asked to instantly deliver peak thrust, at ground level, at zero airspeed. Andy Dingley (talk) 19:03, 26 September 2009 (UTC)


Why ever is the page named JATO? JATO and RATO are most totally not interchangeably used! Its two very different systems that happens to be used for similar effect. But usually not for the same reasons. And while RATO is used quite alot, JATO is pretty much nonexistent and almost completely irrelevant.
JATO "the most popular version"? Not bloody likely! With the massive use of RATO packs by USSR, everyone who needs to, knows what you mean if you talk about a RATO pack. If i started talking about JATO instead i would be making a big fool of myself.

DW75 217.208.225.55 (talk) 05:14, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

For whatever reason, JATO seems to be more popular as a name. The article content seems clear enough on the mechanisms and relative popularity. If you don't think that's sufficient, make it clearer. Andy Dingley (talk) 10:41, 2 January 2010 (UTC)


Based upon 50-plus years career experience (at Aerojet & White Sands) designing, building, and testing liquid- and solid-propellant JATO/RATO motors, I'll declare that the term 'JATO' was originally created (by Frank Malina & Jack Parsons, at GALCIT, in 1938) as an acronym for Jet-Assisted Take-Off. Further, the term RATO (signifying 'Rocket', versus 'Jet') came later, and was created by others outside of Aerojet.

The original selection of J for 'Jet' came about because a prevailing popular notion existed that rockets were entirely impractical and dangerous devices that were best described as items of science fiction. (This was in the era circa 1938, in the setting of Cal Tech, Pasadena CA.) It was for this same reason that the GALCIT [Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory, California Institute of Technology] team chose to reform as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, rather than the Rocket Propulsion Lab.

Further, the GALCIT/JPL/Aerojet terminology with 'Jet-Assisted' was not intended to infer or imply the more narrow definition of air-breathing reaction motors (ram, pulse & turbo jets). Remember that in this time, those air-breathing reaction motors ('jets') were NOT yet in wide use.

I've found the term JATO to be by far the most widely used and understood of the two acronyms: JATO & RATO. RATO, while it may be explained, rationalized, just nearly as commonly used by the people who design, build, test, and use rocket-propelled flight assistance.

In the real, hands-on world, RATO is a term best assigned a footnote reference, keeping popular, lay confusion minimal.

The statement "whilst the other - JATO - uses small auxiliary jet engines - hence Jet Assisted Take-Off" is in fact absolutely incorrect.

Likewise, the statement "RATO is usually used as an add-on supplement to an aircraft's own engines, whereas JATO is usually built-in to the aircraft, as a form of permanent auxiliary take-off booster" is not correct. Aerojet and Thiokol, among others, for instance, built and sold thousands of both liquid and solid propellant rocket engines for aircraft takeoff assist, and none were regarded or used as "permanent auxiliary take-off boosters." All were intended and used as removable-replaceable units, if not dropped from the plane after use.

As for the four turbojet engines used on some B-36 aircraft ["... and for JATO the auxiliary underwing turbojets later added to the ... Convair B-36 ..."], I have never seen them referred to as 'JATO', nor were they primarily used for 'Assisted Take-Off.'

Your mileage may vary.

RocketPioneer (talk) 17:44, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

For a sample picture you have the Blue Angels C-130, with bottles used for their famous Quick altitude gain. - This technically is RATO. I suspect most US Military used one particular RATO bottle, that received a military designation. Can we find its designation? - Add that, I do not recommend a new article for it. I think that particular bottel has not been built/manufactured in 25 years, and possible is now all stocks are expended. Wfoj2 (talk) 22:15, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

JATO not "still used"[edit]

As far as I know, JATO is not "still used," as this article claims. The last JATO bottles were manufactured during the Vietnam War, and by the very early 2000s, the last of them had deteriorated badly enough to make them dangerous. As I remember, they were stored at Pensacola and had also suffered water damage. The last operational use of JATO was by the Blue Angels' support C-130 in 2009.173.62.11.221 (talk) 14:58, 5 May 2012 (UTC)