Proposed Rotary “Aero-Zep” Uses Novel Screw Vanes (Aug, 1930)

Proposed Rotary “Aero-Zep” Uses Novel Screw Vanes

A MOST unusual type of dirigible involving wide departures from established principles has recently been patented by two South Dakota inventors. They call it the “Rotary Aero-Zep,” and aside from the fact that the entire craft is designed to be constructed of aluminum, the most novel feature of the invention is the metal gas bag which is designed to revolve around the frame trackway carrying the passenger car, screwing the airship forward in the air through the action of spiral vanes mounted on the side of the bag.

These vanes, three feet in height, are V-shaped and hollow, and are themselves filled with helium separately from the gas bag. The passenger cabin is suspended from a track running beneath the ship., being mounted on trucks which are free to move along the track to keep the weight of the ship balanced as the angle of ascent or descent varies. The track framework, curving upward at either end, supports pivots on which the bag turns freely. To call the gas container a bag is somewhat of a misnomer, since it is to be of corrugated aluminum.

A motor cabin, mounted permanently at the rear of the trackway, contains engines which will drive the revolving bag. Tail control surfaces are of conventional design, except that each of the four sections is separately controllable—that is, the right half of the elevators can be controlled independently of the left, and the top section of the rudder independently of the bottom, in contrast with usual practice in which both sections of rudder or elevator are operated together.

Seven hundred miles an hour is the rather incredible speed anticipated from the craft by its inventors, Rev. Carl H. Loeck and Lorrin L. Hansen of Rapid City, South Dakota. The bag itself, through its novel drive, will revolve comparatively slowly even when the ship is traveling at top speed, the inventors believe. A safety valve at the end of the body is provided in case gas pressures are built up to a dangerous degree. As yet this amazing new idea in aeronautics has not progressed beyond the model stage, and it is not at present known when a full size ship will be built.

  1. Neil Russell says: November 9, 20071:36 pm

    Am I just reading it wrong (that’s been known to happen!), or is the scale way off on the drawing?
    The screw vanes are three feet high? looks more like 15 feet high to me, otherwise the passenger cabin is only 2 feet tall.

    Don’t know why I’m worrying about details on it, I suspect the 700 mph airship won’t be plying the skies any time soon

  2. Firebrand38 says: November 9, 20072:52 pm

    Neil, you are mostly right; the scale is way off. I printed the picture and took the height of the vanes from 3 different locations. The walls of the passenger cabin are about 3 feet high before it meets up with the curved roof.

    Even more troubling is the idea that this pipedream is gonna fly at 700 mph. They don’t give a cruising altitude, but at sea level Mach 1 is 769 mph and it goes down the higher you go (something like 660 mph at 11000 meters or commercial jet cruising altitude).

    I’d like to hear the sonic boom when this baby busts the sound barrier!

  3. Stannous says: November 9, 20075:40 pm

    There seems to be a fascination with these sorts of screws in many articles here, aero-, geo-. and (plain ol’) nautical. I can’t see any real advantage or we’d certainly have seen them in more places than ATVs.

  4. Neil Russell says: November 10, 20075:38 am

    “I’d like to hear the sonic boom when this baby busts the sound barrier!”

    Oh the humanity! 😉

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