Vapour and Vortex Engines

The Repulsine "A" model
The the first model aircraft
to harness the power of the cyclone


A Hurricane PLUS a Tornado

The steam cycle of vaporisation and condensation is the same cycle that nature uses to drive our weather. It requires no containment except that provided by natural phenomena and yet natures generates power on a scale that we can as yet only marvel at.

In the modern era, six proven machines (including 5 proof-of-principle aircraft) demonstrated the principles required in effectively harnessing the mightiest forces of nature. They were:

1800's The double acting steam engine.

The locomotive steam engine, used for over a century, drew power equally from both the vaporisation and the condensation of steam. The mighty double-acting steam locomotives of the 20th century were the closest thing yet that man has come to truly harnessing the power of steam in any significant way. However, if we learn a few of natures tricks maybe we can yet learn how to harness these forces as nature does, without need for tonnes of steel and massive boilers. If so then maybe we can replace fossil fuels entirely, even for aircraft. To top

Logically, if nature can manage with no engineering assistance at all it seems only rational that there is still something we have yet to learn. And if we truly understand the phenomena, we might yet properly harness nature's mightiest forces and save our climate as well. It seems about time we at least tried.

In point of fact of course many have tried and failed but others have indeed had some considerable success. It will be of some surprise to many that a number of aircraft have indeed made significant advances in this area, mostly just before WWll when massive power was the top priority rather than the more subtle control of nature's power. To top

Now, with lasers and microwaves coming to the fore, it is long past time we reviewed what has gone before.

1935 The Aerodina Lenticulara (Henri Coanda)

The first and most significant step in getting airborne with steam was taken in 1935. The brilliant aviation pioneer, Henri Coanda, (developer of the first jet powered aircraft in 1910) developed a small demonstrator model that flew using the Coanda Effect, the effect now named in his honour. Over the years, a number of machines have been built to explore the use of the Coanda Effect to power helicopter-style aircraft. Various researcher teams, like Canadian Avro and Texas company, Astro Kinetics had quite reasonable success but none seriously investigated using steam. Because the use of steam required the carriage of what was essentially a second form of fuel (ie the water) it was apparently assumed to be a retrograde step. As I hope to show, there are now good reasons to reconsider Coanda's claim (made at his valedictory dinner as late as 1967), that his steam powered machine "was the future of aviation."

By the end of WWll steam had gone out of fashion and no one it seems has since bothered to truly investigate whether the expansion of steam, as claimed by Coanda, might in fact confer special benefits to this type of craft. After a lifetime of distinguished research in this specific area, Coanda certainly saw it and continued to enthusiastically promote his novel craft, using steam, until his death in 1972. To top

Although it is only a part of the solution and not the only one at that, the Coanda Effect is already proven technology and will certainly be a major player in our new aviation industry. However, with the advent of beamed energy technology, I believe the steam-powered Aerodina Lenticulara* may also be due for a major makeover.
* I saw a photo of this machine ~40 years ago but didn't keep it. I'd appreciate a copy if any one can help.

1940 The Repulsine Model 'A' (Viktor Schaubeger)

These next two machines have almost entered the realm of myth but the Repulsine, models "A" and "B", were certainly built and, by all reports, flew remarkably effectively. The designer and builder, Viktor Schauberger, has also become somewhat enigmatic. Widely known as "The Water Wizard" for his uncanny ability to make water do things that others believed impossible, he was not a trained scientist and was in constant conflict with establishment figures about his explanations of how his machines worked.

That they worked was never disputed but, even now, it seems that no one is absolutely sure of how or why and even the patent documents taken out around 1940 are of little help. For much of the time, Schauberger was working under duress and the supervision of the infamous Waffen "SS" of the German Third Reich and it seems he was not too keen to give them all his secrets. When one of his machines destroyed itself by smashing into the lab ceiling in an unauthorised test, there were claims it was deliberate sabotage. To top

It is generally accepted that the Repulsine captured the energy of a major storm, in some way amplifying both the steam and the electromagnetic effects to the point the machines at times became highly ionised.

According to James L. B. Bailey, a researcher for many years in the nuclear energy field, the Repulsine has many close similarities to a Phillips Betatron Particle Accelerator and, unless care is taken, the Repulsine model "A" in particular, will emit high energy electrons and hard x-rays. It does not seem reason enough to cease research but I would be remiss if I failed to pass on this warning of taking due care. To top


The Repulsine model "B"
"According to reports this second machine
acccelerated at great speed, powered
up by a cold water hose

1944 The Repulsine model 'B' (Viktor Schaubeger)

It remains to be seen if the Repulsine machines can be revived but the effects claimed, though initially somewhat startling, should not be entirely unexpected given the electrical effects we all know occur within a thunderstorm.

The amplification effect is almost certainly brought about by the high rotation speed for which these machines are noted. It may be that this is a part of the reason why the more powerful Repulsine model "B" used water. Apart from its energetic expansion to add energy to the cycle, water would possibly dampen any electrical discharge.

Obviously no one will establish just what the limits of safety might be without making the experiment but since few people drop dead within a thunderstorm unless directly struck by lightning, then there may well be a safe path to be followed. There will always be an element of danger when such forces are being used or investigated. To top

According to reports, Viktor Schauberger gave a demonstration of his second machine, the Repulsine model "B". He simply connected a cold water hose to an inlet on the base of the machine and, after a few seconds spinning up to speed, it suddenly tore from his hands and acccelerated vertically at great speed. It seems the only source of energy was water at high pressure from a normal garden tap.

The early stories about these machines are filled with such extraordinary (and initially surprising) detail and have a definite ring of truth about them. On the other hand, later tales about occurrences at the end of the war do not have nearly the same credibility.

There can be no question that Schauberger had special talents and a special understanding of water power. There are examples still in existence of hydro-generators and water sluices designed by him that still exceed all expectations under conventional engineering theory. It is well past time to revisit his work. To top

The Astro-V-Dynafan

The unnamed Astro-Kinetics machine




1964 The Astro Kinetics mystery machine

In the mid-1960's Astro Kinetics of Houston, Texas, apparently produced two Coanda-type machines. The better known, 'Astro V Dynafan' was launched with some publicity and fanfare as, essentially, a large cowled lift fan. However, it is the second machine (shown below) that is possibly of more interest.

The picture of the 'saucer-shaped helicopter' comes from a popular science magazine but apart from the attached article, little more is known about it. However, even from this meagre information a reasonable assessment can be made of wing loading, weight and power ratios and they compare extremely favourably with conventional helicopters and even with other conventional light aircraft. To top

The aircraft is certainly no more than 4m (13ft) in diameter and, with a pilot, must weigh an absolute minimum of 300kg (660lb) with an AUW probably a significant 30%-50% more. Such figures suggest a respectable wing loading of better than 24kg/m2 (5lb/ft2) and a power/weight ratio of 4kg/kw or almost 5lb/hp, easily comparable to many conventional light aircraft.

In fact, the figures seem so remarkable for a VTOL aircraft I'm amazed the design has not been developed. It would seem there must be applications for such a physically small aircraft with VTOL performance, no exposed rotor blades and no complex rotorhead mechanism.

The report clearly indicates that this Coanda-style machine performed very credibly on minimal power and, because the design is so clean, it would seem, at the very least, to be a suitable testbed for experiments with other Coanda-style technology like the Schauberger and the original Coanda design. To top

The Astro Kinetics mystery machine may even be suitable as a testbed for the final candidate aircraft that is also based on a round hull design.

1997 The Lightcraft (Leik Myrabo)

In many ways the final aircraft, Leik Myrabo's Lightcraft, may seem the odd man out. First flown in November 1997. it is certainly the most recent and it is certainly unique in a number of ways but it does have its problems. It is claimed as the first aircraft powered remotely, the first powered by a laser and also the first powered directly by ionisation of the air beneath the craft. However, these facts are not as defining as they first appear and the Lightcraft may well provide the key that could make any of these other craft truly viable in ways that could be of great significance.

It is also highly probable that the older machines coul supply answers that might turn the Lightcraft into a viable proposition. The fact that it may now be possible to use beamed energy from the ground (or from space) to power a craft remotely makes all these aircraf prime candidates for the future of a clean, sustainable and viable aviation industry.

Even if the Lightcraft only serves to open all the other craft up for reassessment it may well have served it's purpose. To top

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