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Air Force Museum Foundation

American Helicopter Co. XH-26 Jet Jeep


In 1951 at the request of the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force developed the XH-26, a one-man, pulsejet-driven helicopter. Rather than having an internal engine like other helicopters, the Jet Jeep was powered by two pulsejets on the end of each rotor blade tip. American Helicopter chose the name "Jet Jeep" because the XH-26 would be used like an aerial Jeep.

When collapsed, its storage container fit on a trailer towed by the one-quarter ton Jeep. If stripped for air drop, the Jet Jeep weighed less than 300 pounds, and it could be assembled by two men in just 20 minutes. It could also burn the same fuel as a Jeep.

The Army and USAF evaluated five prototype Jet Jeeps, and they performed well. Unfortunately, the pulsejets were so loud that the Army found the aircraft unsuitable, and cost considerations forced the cancellation of the program.

TECHNICAL NOTES:
Engines:
Two American Helicopter AJ-7.5-1 pulsejets
Fuel capacity: 50 gallons
Maximum speed: 80 mph
Ceiling: 7,000 feet
Range: 135 miles
Endurance: About 2 hours

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