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VIDEO: Heanor daredevil’s DIY jet plan set to blast off

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A former soldier is calling for donations to fund a unique project - the world’s first homemade jet bike.

Andrew Morris of Derby Road, Heanor, has launched an appeal on the website Kickstarter to fund the ambitious scheme at a secret location near Heanor Gate Industrial Estate, because he wants to exhibit what he calls ‘the ultimate boy’s toy’.

The engineering hobbyist needs £2,000 to complete the DIY bike, which could reach speeds of up to 200mph he believes.

Andy was first inspired to build the contraption after seeing teams make a jet-powered go kart on the TV show Scrapheap Challenge.

Having already replicated that feet in his workshop last year - he is now setting his sites on the turbine powered jet bike, which he believes will be one of the first in the world.

“I suppose it’s partly because of my upbringing,” he said. “My dad’s an engineer, my grandad’s an engineer.

“I guess jet engines are to most people the ultimate boy’s toy.”

The Kickstarter website is a form of ‘crowd sourcing’ that allows people to donate to a project they would like to see completed.

So far folk are showing real interest in the scheme with Andy’s page already raising more than £1,000.

The 48-year-old plans to print all the names of those that donate to the project on its tank and admits he had never heard of ‘crowd sourcing’ until he saw a feature on the unique funding method on BBC News 24 show Click.

He said: “There really has been some nice support - not everyone has pledged money, but several people have offered to give me a discount on the parts I need.

“I would love it if 2,000 people donated a pound, rather than one person coming along and funding the whole thing - that way it involves more people.”

But Andy, a hydraulics engineer by trade, who left the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in 1989, is working to a tight deadline.

He hopes to have the bike ready to feature in an exhibition at Santa Pod Raceway in Northamptonshire on March 22.

The jet-mobile, featuring a turbine engine made in Australia by one of Andy’s pals, is due to complete the quarter mile drag strip at the raceway and Andy is inviting all those that pledged support to the scheme to come along and watch.

Although it could potentially reach 200 mph and complete the course in just eight seconds, it is unlikely to make that on its first run he said.

“I think it will do around 30 mph the first time we use it,” he joked.

“It will need evolving and there will be refinements made along the way.

“The main goal at the moment is simply to get it working.”

Andy’s previous contraption, the jet go kart, has already proved popular at Santa Pod’s ‘Run What ya Brung’ race meets, which attract crowds of up to 2,000.

Featuring a deafening turbine on the back of a regular kart - the device will travel up to 87mph and is driven by Andy himself at the events.

He is hoping to have the kart registered as the fastest of its kind by Guinness World Record and also plans to test run the bike himself when it’s ready but insists - it’s not a ‘terrifying’ prospect.

“I’ve ridden bikes since I was 18, so I have a bit of experience,” he said.

“I will go to the point, the speed, where I’m comfortable. But I think I might consider getting in an actual drag racer for this one.”

However the project is more than just a hobby for Andy, having suffered numerous health problems in his years after the army.

He had worked as a HGV driver but is currently out of employment due to suffering from a painful degenerative joint condition , which leaves him often feeling very fatigued.

He doubts he will make a living from exhibiting his labour of love, but it will bring him a certain amount of joy.

“To me it’s about seeing other people’s reaction to what I do.” He said.

“There would be no point in going fast on my own unless people are going to look at it and enjoy what you are doing.”

There are currently 38 people backing Andy’s scheme. To give yourself head to www.kickstarter.com and search for Drag Jet Bike.

Alternatively follow this link, or copy and paste it into your browser.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/628786295/drag-jet-bike?ref=live

You can also head to: www.kickstarter.com and search for Drag Jet Bike

The page is due to close on Sunday, January 19.

 

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