Nino Carmelo Carmelo S. Amarena is the founder of Thunderbolt Aerosystems, Inc., a division of ETS Technologies, Inc., a company formed exclusively to design, manufacture and sell Personal Flying Devices and Support Systems and have them available to the masses at affordable price points and using commonly available fuels.

In 1979 “Nino” Amarena finished his training and education at the Buenos Aires University of Engineering, in his native Argentina where he obtained a masters degree in electro-mechanical engineering. The economical and political turmoil of the country forced him to immigrate to America where he made his home in California’s Silicon Valley. 

There he was able to interact with talents in cybernetics, aerospace and the electronics industry, allowing him to acquire a set of skills, which forged his “technical generalist” expertise working for several robotics, electronics and radio communication multinational companies.

He also became technical advisor for local motor racing teams in the areas of data acquisition, active suspension and traction control, telemetry, combustion oxygenators, aerodynamics and many other racing high-performance designs for Formula Atlantic, INDY, Formula-1.

The GeorgiaTech “Entomopter” team (Amarena is second from left, front row) and summary of its innovations (right)

His broad engineering background eventually landed him the development of a peroxide-based reciprocating engine for GeorgiaTech Research Institute’s Entomopter” a biomimetic robot that flies like a “dragon fly” insect, a joint project between NASA and GeorgiaTech planned to be sent to with a landing Mars probe mission by the end of the first decade of the 21st century.

Belt Team
The ThunderPack-R1G2 during the prototype phase test
(left) and on its pre-flight stand

In order to develop this new generation rocketbelt, Amarena formed Thunderbolt Aerosystems, Inc. in 1997 with the financial help of two partners.  The company’s mission is to design and manufacture personal flight machines for entertainment, commercial and rescue purposes.  Its first model was dubbed ThunderPack®-R1G2 (Revision-1; Generation-2) was sold in 2003 to a large corporation in the far east, with intentions to use the R1G2 for rescue purposes.