Jet-Powered Bike Travels 70 M.P.H. (Feb, 1949)

Jet-Powered Bike Travels 70 M.P.H.
Burning ordinary automotive gasoline, a jet engine for commercial use has been installed experimentally on a motorbike which scooted along at more than 70 miles an hour. The miniature jet develops a static thrust of 30 pounds, yet weighs only 8-3/4 pounds. It is a little over six inches in diameter and 51 inches long. No fuel pump is required as the intake air velocity performs the pumping function. The engine is started with a vibrator coil and air from a small compressed-air tank. It will be used initially for experiments in helicopter and airplane-engine laboratories
but later may be installed as a stand-by power plant for gliders and as a power source for racing cars and boats.

  1. Stannous says: September 30, 20066:18 pm

    This article sent me back to find this Pop Sci article from last Dec about a crazy guy who strapped a rocket to his bike:

    A Real Rocket Bike
    What does a propulsion engineer do when he wants to experience the power of a rocket without going to space? He simply bolts one to a bike

    By Michael Belfiore…

    Dept.: What You Built
    Cost: $750
    Time: 120 Hours
    How It Works
    1. A toggle switch on the battery pack arms the ignition system.
    2. The left-thumb button sends power from the battery pack to an igniter on a model-rocket motor inside the rocket engine, vaporizing the roofing-tar fuel so it can burn.
    3. The right-thumb button keeps the nitrous oxide flowing (and the rocket lit) as long as it’s pushed.
    4. The left brake lever regulates the flow of nitrous and throttles the rocket.

    For rocket designer Tim Pickens, a rocket on two wheels is the next best thing to a spaceship. “At heart we’re a bunch of guys wanting to go to space, and we can’t afford it,” says Pickens of himself and his rocket-scientist brethren, most of whom never get to ride their own creations. “Basically it’s my own subscale space program.”

    Pickens, president of rocket-design firm Orion Propulsion, created his first rocket bike with fellow speed enthusiast Glenn May by bolting a 35-pound-thrust rocket engine to Pickens’s bike—enough power for a gentle push down the road. That project didn’t kill anyone, so Pickens got himself another bike and stepped it up, attaching a 200-pound-thrust engine capable of blasting him from 0 to 60 miles an hour in five seconds—fast enough to beat a Porsche in a drag race. In fact, the rocket bike employs the same hybrid rocket technology as the suborbital spaceplane SpaceShipOne, whose propulsion system Pickens helped design.

    In place of synthetic rubber fuel, however, the bike uses ordinary roofing tar. To ignite it, Pickens placed a model-rocket motor inside the engine. A button on the handlebar fires the model-rocket motor, which in turn sets off Pickens’s larger motor by lighting the roofing-tar fuel. His next project is to build a company car: a pickup truck with a removable 2,000-pound-thrust rocket strapped into the bed.

  2. Andrew L. Ayers says: May 15, 20102:02 am

    This looks like the same engine that “back in the day” you could send some money to get plans to build (someone on this blog even posted a link to the plans online). Something about those plans: The engine was basically a multi-vane pulsejet engine.

    I once helped DA Therrien here in Phoenix set up for a show by Mark Pauline of SRL, for a demo of a new pulsejet engine Mark and SRL had developed. This thing wasn’t loud. IT WAS LOOOUD!!! Seriously, they ran this thing on and off, and if it hadn’t been inside a building in the industrial portion of town (Hyster/ChemLAB) – I am certain someone would have complained. Even with earplugs and thumbs in your ears, you still had a ringing left over.

    I can’t imagine riding a motorcycle with one of those strapped to it (especially without hearing protection)!

  3. JMyint says: May 15, 20108:05 am

    A Jet powered bike…

Submit comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.