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"For the sciences, the way to change science's perception of things is to wait until all the old farts have died off."
- Larry Niven

Air Tank Flying  
  Using little blasts of compressed air to fly around inside a space station.  

And nearly buckled against the wall was that contrivance little Skeptsky liked to fool with, here in the center of the disk where even artificial gravity was negligible — little compressed-air tanks that he strapped to his shoulders, with rocket-nozzles attached. He could fly lightly all about the place, and did, explaining blandly that he was practising at being an angel.

It was horribly lonely in the vast open space that was supposed to be a recreation-center and observatory, where weight was non-existent.

From The Power Planet, by Murray Leinster.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1931
Additional resources -

Another excerpt:

It was little Skeptsky, flying lightly about the two-hundred-foot room where nothing had any weight. He had the compressed-air tanks strapped to his shoulders with those astoundingly efficient nozzles that are used — in a larger form — by space-rockets themselves. He could fly, here, with a propulsive force of a few ounces only. He landed lightly beside them.

“I am practising at being an angel,” he observed placidly. “When that war-rocket gets here, a little practice should come in handy. I have lived a highly moral life, you see...”

He reached over his shoulder, opened the pet-cocks of his compressed-air tanks, and soared lightly away in the vast room in which nothing had any weight. He looked very strange, swooping lightly here and there in the vast gravitationless room. Two hundred feet by two hundred feet by six hundred, was the size of the general observatory. The size of a twenty-story building in height, and the same width, and two or more city blocks in length. And all the walls were floors, and the chairs had thigh-grips in them to hold a man down when he sat, lest he float away from the force of an incautious gesture...

Now and then there were little thumps as Skeptsky landed lightly upon one of the walls which was also a floor, and maneuvered himself about to fly again with the quite incredible flying apparatus, which would work nowhere else save in this one monster room.

Compare to the levitators from Lost City of Mars (1934) by Harl Vincent, the Dragonfly sky-bike from Rendezvous With Rama (1972) by Arthur C. Clarke and the bat wings from Limits by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Power Planet
  More Ideas and Technology by Murray Leinster
  Tech news articles related to The Power Planet
  Tech news articles related to works by Murray Leinster

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