Mild frustration.

Ah, pulse jets. Like rockets, steam engines, derigables and hot-air balloons; these ingenious devices are a lingering dream of mine.

I love the simplicity and mechanical elegance of the pulse jet, but know full well its intractable nature. In both of its forms (valveless and valved), it is plauged by low efficiency, low thrust and high noise. It is also a doomed device (like the derigable, another favourite of mine), fated to forever be just on the cusp of widespread adoption for some great endeavor but never to achieve it. I love technologies like this, that reek of soaring hopes and crushed dreams. I am drawn to them as eternal outsiders, lonely ideas that should have been great.

On a more practical level, I love participating in a sphere of knowledge where it is possible to make a difference. I could never improve the turbine engine or the transistor because so many smarter people already have. But the pulsejet is still a project partially in potentia, waiting for all its bumps to be smoothed into perfection.

Which leaves only one problem: I can’t even get a jam-jar pulse jet to work.


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