Reported in the News Letter on December 20, 1954: Cigar-shaped aircraft can fly at 1,240mph, claims designer

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An Austrian-born count, Helmut von Zborowski, one of Hitler’s leading aircraft designers, claims to have invented a cigar-shaped jet aircraft which combines the advantages of the British “flying bedstead” with those of high-speed aircraft.

The new aircraft, called the coleopter, could take off from – and land into – a tube 30 feet wide, which could be installed on a small area inside a city.

Count Zborowski said: “I expect travelling speeds of between 310 and 435 mph in passenger flight, but for military purposes the speed could be increased to more than 1,240 mph.”

The inventor, who works at the Air Research Institute, St Antoine, south-east of Paris, was giving more details of his new aircraft first described last October.

He said that the first coleopter could fly in two years time if enough money was available.

Wind tunnels had confirmed the soundness of the drawing board designs. Coleopters could fly with or without a pilot.