Strange Lifting Force Used in Novel Airship (Jan, 1931)

I’m not that great at physics, but this seems to violate the conservation of momentum…

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Strange Lifting Force Used in Novel Airship

How does this airship keep aloft with neither propellers nor lifting gas? It’s the strangest craft yet designed to cruise the skies and represents as far a departure from conventional types of aircraft as can be imagined. You’ll find this description of the ship fascinating.

WHAT is certainly the most unique airship in the world is now under construction in the form of an experimental model in the factory of its inventor in Denver, Colorado. As depicted on these pages, the extraordinary ship will use neither propellers nor gas to keep it in the air, but will depend on a mechanism which its inventor, Edgar R. Holmes, calls the “gyradoscope”.

Each horsepower of gyradoscope is expected to lift 1,000 pounds vertically in midair and sustain the load at any desired elevation by regulating the speed, and the inventor expects a machine weighing 2,000 pounds to lift 500 tons.

Briefly, the gyradoscope combines gyroscopic action with centrifugal force. As described in the prospectus of the company, the gyradoscope consists of two wheels rotating in opposite directions in the same plane. Each wheel has several weights, the arms of which are connected to eccentrics on each wheel, which propel the weights in opposite directions in such a way that a lifting effect is exerted when the weights are at the top point of travel.

The exact mechanism by which this effect is produced is somewhat obscure, but a model of the device already built has been bolted to the floor of a freight elevator, it is claimed, and succeeded in raising and lowering it with ease. In this test a 20-horsepower gasoline engine furnished power.

Lifting force exerted by the gyradoscope is likened to that of a ball thrown on the end of a string. The weight of the ball at the moment it draws the string taut exerts a lifting effect on a pencil or other object to which the bottom of the string may be tied. In the gyradoscope the moving weights on the wheels are analogous to the thrown ball. To a casual scrutiny the whole idea seems very much like lifting one’s self by one’s boot straps, but the success attained with models indicates that the inventor may be successful in developing an entirely new type of aircraft.

Forward motion is to be supplied by a gyradoscope in horizontal plane, and steering will be accomplished by a similar mechanism. In case of accident to the lifting gyros, which would result in the ship’s dropping like a plummet, auxiliary machines are provided which are kept running at idling speed ready to be called upon in an emergency. Four hydraulic landing feet, one on each corner of the ship, absorb the shock of landing, which is expected to be insignificant since rate of descent is controlled by speed of the gyradoscope. Mr. Holmes, inventor of the gyro-ship, also has the invention of a popular front wheel drive for autos to his credit, as well as a four wheel drive and a caloric steam engine.

This latter machine would supply the power for the airship. As developed by Mr Holmes, waste heat from oil combustion is used in the caloric engine to convert water into steam, which drives a turbine, and is then condensed to be used over again.

16 comments
  1. jayessell says: May 28, 20085:06 am

    And when it is not flying, the gyradoscopes become perpetual motion machines generating
    electricity from the Earth’s rotation.
    (Be sure to anchor the airship first.)

  2. Cleanser says: May 28, 20087:02 am

    the whole idea seems very much like lifting one’s self by one’s boot straps

    That, or an investment scam preying on people who didn’t understand basic dynamics :P

    Total baloney!

  3. Baron Waste says: May 28, 20087:17 am

    Could this possibly be the Dean Drive?

  4. Myles says: May 28, 20087:39 am

    Why go to the work of bolting this gyro machine to an elevator? Just enclose the machine in a box and let people see it hover in the air. Much more impressive.

  5. beagledad says: May 28, 200812:15 pm

    Oh, come on.

    Don’t you guys have gyradoscopes? Seriously? I’ve been using one for years. And one of these years, it will make my car fly. One of these years. Really.

  6. KHarn says: June 8, 20087:30 am

    Does it have an INTEROSITER on board too?

  7. KHarn says: June 8, 20087:32 am

    By the way, is “picturization” even a word?

  8. WhoMEO? says: June 18, 20083:54 am

    You guys have it all wrong. It’s powered by it’s inventor’s pure MANness

  9. C.Simon says: July 22, 200810:04 pm

    this is remarkable…Genius invention… does it really work? still doubtful.

  10. Cookoon says: October 7, 20081:50 pm

    JIjijijijijij..JOJOJOJOJOJOJO…jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee gyroOOOJOJOJOJOJOJojajajaja

  11. jayessell says: October 7, 20089:42 pm

    Cookoon…
    Is that the sound it makes when flying?

  12. JMyint says: October 8, 200812:55 am

    In one of Cyrano de Bergerac’s stories he described having built a flying machine that was nothing but a iron boat. To get it to fly the pilot needed to throw a powerful magnet in the air, repeatedly.

  13. chris says: July 22, 20092:33 am

    In all, more time must have been spent making the illustration than thinking about the concept. Thoose were the days….

  14. dm says: February 22, 201110:09 am

    This looks an awful lot like the basis of the flying centrifuges which formed the basis of T. B. Pawlicki’s 1981 book “How to Build a Flying Saucer.” The various designs of mechanical centrifuges were eventually all built by experimenters and all of them did nothing but oscillate violently. Some did move, but that was only because they were bouncing on the floor – in the air, with no reaction surface, no net force in any direction was ever observed! Pawlicki proposed using particle accelerators – miniature cyclotrons – instead, but did not suggest how the particle masses would be controlled in the same way that the macroscopic ones in the mechanical devices are, or why the electronic devices would fare any better.

  15. Drew Ridama says: June 19, 20117:46 am

    Reminds me of the brilliant Douglas Adams explanation of flying: You throw yourself at the ground… and miss.

  16. Don Carey says: July 7, 20111:22 pm

    A triumph of hope over practicality.

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