Reaching for the skies, unusually

This is a Cri Cri, a tinier than tiny single seat plane designed in France in the 1970s. It’s so small you basically wear it.

It’s got, as we see, a brace of little engines mounted each side of the nose. But they’re not all quite like that. Here’s one that’s different.


It’s different because no props. Instead it has a pair of PBS TJ-20 turbojet engines. They’re about the size of a malnourished pineapple and weigh just under 2 kilos. That has consequences because with just four kilos of engine the balance of the plane is changed and you need to add the sticky out bit on the nose which despite its appearance is weighted.

Engines this size are somewhat unusual by the standards of the one in your car. Just for a start, maximum power comes in at around 120,000 rpm. That’s a lot of revs. You can only maintain this for five minutes after which you need to slow down to cruising speed of just 90,000 rpm. If you’re on the skinny side and don’t wear heavy clothes (weight is the enemy when you’re wearing your plane) you can stay in the air for an hour or so.


Ear protection is advised.

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