An American inventor has gained belated media recognition for a truly stunning achievement - building and operating a jet-propelled portaloo.
Paul Stender, a 43-year-old former pit mechanic, had been drifting along in the way that one does: designing jet-propelled motorcycles, pickup trucks, a school bus - basically not fulfilling his life's potential. But then one day, according to an article in Popular Science, "he saw a windstorm blow portable toilets across the tarmac, and it was Newton’s apple all over again."
Except that instead of developing the theory of gravitation, Stender dashed out and spent $5,000 on a US Navy-surplus Boeing 502 gas turbine, which he sawed in half and adapted so that it could produce "what he guesses is a few hundred pounds of thrust."
He then attached the unit to the portaloo of champions, a "Country Classic portable toilet from the Hampel Corporation of Germantown, Wisconsin," according to Popular Science.
“It’s heavy and looks like fake wood,” Stender says, “like an outhouse should.”
Naturally, the machine is piloted from the "original throne". The operator looks out through a hole in the door, and steers using handlebars.
JP-4 jet fuel is reportedly "funneled in through the original urinal," allowing a skilled and fearless crapper-jockey to achieve speeds in excess of 70mph. Of course, the potential of turbo-dumper propulsion can't be fully developed without afterburner capability (that's "reheat" for older UK readers - sounds just as good in this context, we submit) and this too is provided, with a CO2-pressurized JP-8 injector. This latter equipment gives the speeding crapper the essential ability to belch 30-foot-long trails of fire from its "rear pipe."
"If the engine is running at low rpm’s, hitting the switch sends out a long, loose, yellow fireball," notes Popular Science.
The turbopowered lavvy, dubbed "Port-O-Jet," has apparently had a successful career at US racetracks, vanquishing a jet barstool two times out of four. It appears to have been in operation at least since 2002, but only in recent days has Stender achieved the worldwide fame his achievement so clearly merits.
Tragically perhaps, given the obvious hazards implicit in dunny-jet operation, Stender has apparently been unable to maintain ready-use in-cab loo roll capability. "It kept getting sucked into the engine," he says. "You suck in a piece of garbage, it’s going to explode—and you’re going to go with it.”
Thanks to Reg reader Mike Richards for the tipoff.