Science: Jet Jitney

In the race to build the world's smallest helicopter, the lead was claimed last week by Aeronautical Engineer Eugene Gluhareff, who put on display in Manhattan Beach, Calif, a jet-powered air jitney that straps on the back of the pilot like a parachute. Weight of the contraption: 68 lbs., and Gluhareff thinks he can eventually lower it to 45 lbs.

Tiny jet engines on the tips of the two rotor blades power the midget machine. The pilot-passenger carries twin tanks for the liquid propane fuel on his back, maneuvers by hand-held throttle and blade-pitch controls. One de luxe feature: pushbutton starting fired...

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