The FREAK of the Month ~ No. 3 – The Rotor Airship (Feb, 1931)

The FREAK of the Month ~ No. 3 – The Rotor Airship
The oddest contraption which has been brought to our attention this month is the rotor airplane designed by Ernst Zeuzem, of Frankfort-on-Main, Germany. The inventor’s model is shown in the inset, while above is an artist’s conception of how the full-size plane would appear in the air. Each of the four rotors will be driven by separate motors which need not be of exceptional power. The passengers will be carried in the wing section. In spite of its odd design, the principles of this plane are sound.

  1. Steve says: September 10, 20085:59 am

    I don’t get it… how do giant spinning toilet paper rolls provide lift?

  2. Al Bear says: September 10, 20087:16 am

    It was a freak in 1931, but today it’s a stupid thing. Seriously, they used to publish whatever without any scientific principle back then. If it looks modern and streamlined, it goes on. Little things like does it have a chance to work or how are not important.

    LOL’s at this thing.

  3. Myles says: September 10, 20087:29 am

    Funny, at least they call it a freak. If the rotors have some sort of paddles or slots, maybe they could provide forward propulsion. Wouldn’t be efficient though. Also there does not seem to be any controls like ailerons 🙂

  4. Erica says: September 10, 20088:23 am

    Principles are sound?!? I wonder if they also said that about the guy who rode over a cliff on a bicycle with plywood “wings” strapped to his arms… “The principles are sound, we wish him luck!”


  5. Geek says: September 10, 200811:19 am

    Time to study Bernoulli. Spinning a round object, in this case a tube shape, can give you lift as well as thrust. Ask any baseball pitcher with a good curve.

  6. LightningRose says: September 10, 200811:54 am

    It’s called the “Magnus Effect”, but I’m not sure it could generate both lift and/or propulsion efficiently enough to be practical in an aircraft.…

    Even NASA knows about it:…

    In the 1920’s it was tried as a method of ship propulsion:…

  7. LightningRose says: September 10, 200811:59 am

    Apparently, rotating cylinders have been used in place of wings on powered aircraft.


  8. Jeff says: September 10, 20082:06 pm

    Actually, the *theoretical* principles are sound, based on the Kutta-Joukowski theorem:


  9. Rick says: September 10, 20082:13 pm

    Sure it’s efficient. The lower rollers take the place of landing gear and all the weight of the gear and the retracting mechanism. I call that efficient. 🙂

  10. rsterling78 says: September 10, 20085:34 pm

    The above link — http://www.airbornegraf… — includes the following:

    “Built in 1930 (USA), the 921-V is reported to have been flown at least once – ending it’s short carreer with a crash landing. It’s probably the only aircraft equipped with cylinder wings which made it into the air.”

  11. Charlene says: September 10, 200810:30 pm

    Hey, didn’t they just draw windows on a pasta roller?

  12. beagledad says: September 11, 20082:05 pm

    It looks a bit like those old badly-designed cigarette rolling machines.

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