I’ve seen one of these things in the Australian War Memorial up in Canberra. They didn’t use a rocket, but a curious and very simple jet motor. Fuel would be sprayed into the jet pipe and ignited. The resulting explosion would be contained by the circular pipe, and would blow a set of shutters at the front opening closed, meaning all of the pressure would be directed towards the rear opening, thus propelling the thing forward.

The buzzing sound was the noise of the shutters being blown closed and then opening again under the pressure of the airstream. Apparently they sounded like a badly-tuned motorcycle. The end of the flight came when the fuel ran out, and the thing would tip and drop to the earth, so range was determined by how full the tank was.

A brilliantly simple weapon, and I like that sort of elegance.

While detesting the purpose to which this invention was put.

Luckily modern aircraft don’t use such jets. Can you imagine the awful noise?


Britni Pepper has always enjoyed telling stories. About people, places and pleasures.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store