Video: Santa Claus will visit kids this year with a jet-propelled sleigh

Dashing through the snow in one "jet-propelled" open sleigh.
Nergis Firtina
Robert Maddox and his jet-propelled sleigh.
Robert Maddox and his jet-propelled sleigh.

Robert Maddox/Youtube 

Christmas is coming, and Santa Claus is on his way with a jet-propelled sleigh.

The Drive reports that the project belongs to Robert Maddox, a self-taught tinkerer. He is also famous for his hobby of integrating pulsejet engines into everything.

The sleigh is a development of Maddox's previous go-kart, The Beast. It has three sizable, propane-powered pulsejet engines attached to the back of the tube steel frame. However, "The Rocketman" Maddox added skis to the Beast's place of wheels to create a jet sleigh that could race across the frozen plains.

Maddox's The Beast can reach 90 mph (145 kph) top speed, and the sleigh in question is not that fast intrinsically. However, it still looks meteoric. Maddox points out that keeping the engines operating when it is below freezing outside is challenging because the propane tanks become too cold. While some pulsejets can be challenging to start, Maddox's designs don't have these problems. He uses a blend of diesel and propane to get the jets roaring almost instantly.

Do you remember Jet Coffin?

Robert Maddox also appeared on Halloween in the Jet Coffin. The four-wheeler has a coffin-like body that is 7 feet long (2.1 meters), coffin handles, a coffin lid in place of regular car doors, wide tires, a go-kart independent rear axle, and of course, a steering wheel.

The coffin is constructed from Baltic birch plywood and painted black to give it a more spooky appearance. A 100-pound thrust valved pulsejet engine that burns propane and diesel powers Maddox's coffin automobile, as per Autoevolution.

What are pulsejets?

An engine that burns in pulses is known as a pulsejet engine or pulse jet. A pulsejet engine can be built with little to no moving parts and run statically. Despite having a low specific impulse and a typically low compression ratio, pulsejet engines are a lightweight jet propulsion method.

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The simplicity, low cost of manufacture, and high noise levels of pulsejet engines are its distinguishing features. Although the thrust-to-weight ratio is quite good, the fuel consumption for thrust is relatively low.

They are typically unsuitable for use outside the military and other tightly controlled ones due to their excessive noise levels. However, because pulsejets can run on nearly anything that burns, including particle fuels like sawdust or coal powder, there has been a rebirth in research into these engines for applications such as high-output heating, biomass conversion, and alternative energy systems.