Teenage inventor straps jet engine to his mountain bike

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Traffic is an inevitable part of life in Metro Manila—or any metropolitan area around the world, for that matter. However, 19-year-old Romanian teenager Raul Oaida has found a way to beat the traffic and go from Point A to Point B in a hurry despite his mode of transportation.

Oaida has developed a jet engine capable of propelling his mountain bike to speeds of up to 26 miles (42 km) per hour on a flat road, which is still slower than most cars, but relatively fast for a bicycle. Oaida spent three years building this jet engine on a combination of pocket money and sponsorships.

“The first jet engine weighed a ton and was very big. Mine is as big as a notebook and works like a Swiss watch,” Oaida said. Oaida does not directly control the engine, but rather by a computer that picks up signals, analyzes them and sends commands to the engine. “If you try to manually start a jet engine, you can destroy it. A computer does what a human operator could never do. 20 years ago, this computer was as big as a refrigerator and cost 100,000 euros. My computer is the size of a matchbox and costs 200 euros. Technology said its word.”

Oaida is the first Romanian in over 100 years to build a jet engine—the last to do so was inventor Henri Coanda in 1910, who built it for an airplane in France. Coanda’s engine was also said to be the very first jet engine. When asked what went into Oaida’s engine, he said, “Specifically: 4 parts diesel, one part gasoline (benzine) and 2 percent synthetic oil. That’s equivalent to kerosene which is difficult to find, and in case you are lucky enough, then you have to buy large quantities. At maximum speed – i.e, 93,000 rev / min (RPM), the engine consumes one liter per minute.” Although that doesn’t sound very fuel efficient, it serves its purpose—quick bursts of speed when you need to get somewhere in a hurry.