Katapult Max [Catapult Max]



Object, 200 x 300 cm.
Materials: wood, metal, elastic rubber, nylon, felt

Collection: Private Collection, Antwerp.

'Because it is in fact an enormous catapult, and 'max' comes from maximal!  That device is made in a V-form with two propellers on top, left and right, and underneath are two spaghetti strands made from a hundred meters of rubber that's one centimeter thick, coming together at a point.  If you twist them and let go, then you shoot-off a few meters in the distance.'  - Panamarenko 

In 1997, Panamarenko extended his Pepto Bismo portable air transport series with a new helicopter he called Catapult Max. The machine’s rotors are not driven by a traditional jet or electric engine but, surprisingly, by the seemingly everyday principle of elasticity. The pilot, who wears the device on his back, manually winds up the elastic bands using two handles, which Panamarenko calls ‘rack-a-jacks’. Once the elastic bands have been wound up, the pilot pulls the pin out of the handles, so that the tension in the bands is transferred to the rotors via two bevel gears. This allows the pilot to leap safely into the air and to clear obstacles.

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