Tesla speculated, that, perhaps the most valuable application of wireless energy, will be the propulsion of the flying machine, which will carry no fuel and be free from any limitations of the present airplanes and dirigibles. The possibility of electric flight intrigued Tesla, though he never did patent an electric aircraft. But he did patent an electric railway using his high frequency, high-potential electricity in a by-wire mode, and also patented a radical aircraft that, while not electric, did have an advanced power plant: his disk turbine. Tesla's railway and aircraft can be numbered among the lost inventions. The closest transport technology has come to putting any of Tesla into actual practice is with diesel-electric power using Tesla poly phase motors, an early and notable example of which was the ocean liner Normandy. In the field of transport, Tesla is more commonly identified with antigravity flight and UFOs. Although this identification is based upon nothing more than a few public utterances, his suggestions charge the imagination with possibilities.


Tesla's high-frequency, high-potential railway picks up its power inductively without the use of the rolling or sliding contacts used in conventional trolley or third-rail systems. A pickup bar travels near a cable carrying the oscillating energy. This cable, which Tesla specifically invented to carry such currents, is the precursor of the grounded shielded cable used today to carry TV and other high-frequency signals. But unlike today's cables, which carry energy only of signal strength and shield by means of a continuous grounded static screen of fine braided copper wire, Tesla's high voltage cable uses metal pipe or screen that is broken up into short lengths, very much shorter, says Tesla in his patent, than the wave lengths of the current used. This feature reduces loss. Since the shielding must not be interrupted, the short sections are made to overlap but are insulated from one another. To further reduce loss to ground, an inductance of high ohmic resistance or a small capacity is placed in

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the lost inventions of Nikola Tesla the ground line. Motor mystery

A conundrum raised by Tesla's railway patent is that the vehicle is powered by an electric motor, but nowhere among Tesla's inventions is to be found an electric motor that runs off of high-frequency currents. Was Tesla planning to use a lower frequency here, something under 1,000 cycles? Did he have a converter in mind that could bring the frequency down? Or did Tesla invent a high-frequency motor that never made it into patent, an invention that may be among his unpublished notes? Anyway, Tesla proceeds in many of his discussions of high-frequency power as if this problem were solved. I've seen references post-Tesla to the existence of such a motor. Free-energy inventor, Hermann Plauson, (next chapter) refers to high-frequency motors. These motors have magnetic cores made of very thin laminations insulated from each other, a design that would limit damping effects.

Turbine aircraft

Tesla's only patented aircraft is a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) plane that he intended as an improvement upon the helicopter, already invented at this time (1921): The helicopter type of flying machine, especially with large inclination angle of the propeller axis to the horizontal, at which it is generally expected to operate, is quite unsuitable for speedy aerial transport; it is incapable of proceeding horizontally along a straight line under prevailing air conditions; it is subject to dangerous plunges and oscillations ... and it is almost certainly doomed to destruction in case the motive power gives out. Advances in helicopter design may have mitigated some of these problems, but at least the last one still holds true: Tesla's craft, which has a large wing area, is powered by two disk turbines, rotating in opposite directions. The engineering problem of swinging the pilot and passengers around 90 degrees after takeoff, is solved at least to Tesla's satisfaction. There have been some experimental VTOL's but nothing in production.

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Electric flight

Tesla's dream electric aircraft would be powered by means of magnifying transmitters: Aerial machines will be propelled around the earth without a stop. Also, in 1900, he predicted a cold coal battery with such output that a practical flying machine would be possible. Such a battery also would enormously enhance the introduction of the automobile. Tesla fantasized a personal aerial taxi which could be folded into a six-foot cube, and would weigh under 250 lb.: It can be run through the streets and put in a garage, if desired, just like an automobile.

Explaining how his earth-resonant wireless-power system could energize vehicles aloft, he said, power can be readily supplied without ground connection, for, although the flow is confined to earth, an electromagnetic field is created in the atmosphere surrounding it. Tesla believed such a system to be the ultimate method of man-made flight: With an industrial plant of great capacity, sufficient power can be derived in this manner to propel any kind of aerial machine. This I have always considered the best and permanent solution to the problems of flight. No fuel of any kind will be required as the propulsion will be accomplished by light electric motors operated at great speed.


Tesla wrote in 1900 of an antigravity motor: Imagine a disk of some homogeneous material turned perfectly true and arranged to turn in friction less bearings on a horizontal shaft above the ground. Now, it is possible that we may learn how to make such a disk rotate continuously and perform work by the force of gravity. To do so, he said, we have only to invent a screen against this force. By such a screen we could prevent this force from acting on one-half of the disk, and rotation of the latter would follow.

Does it not follow then, that such a gravity screen could also be used to levitate a vehicle? Tesla held no patent on such a device or on any other antigravity device, and there are no published notes on experimentation in the area. Nevertheless, Tesla inevitably pops up in the literature of antigravity and UFOs. This may be because Tesla was a prominent exponent of a physics in which antigravity seems more feasible because gravity is better explained.

A researcher-theorist of today, Thomas Bearden, allows for gravity control in the physics he calls the new Tesla electromagnetic. Scalar (standing) waves in time itself can be produced electrically and this becomes a magic tool capable of directly affecting and altering anything that exists in time, including gravitational fields, says Bearden. In 1931 the editor of Science And Mechanics, Hugo Gernsback reported, It is believed by many scientists today that the force of gravitation is merely another manifestation of electromagnetic waves. Edward Farrow, a New York inventor, reported in 1911 an antigravity effect produced by a ring of spark gaps. When the gaps were fired, the device, called a condensing dynamo, lost one-sixth of its weight. T. Henry Moray wrote, Frequencies may be developed which will balance the force of gravity to a point of neutralization. Antigravity researcher Richard Lefors Clark places the frequency of gravity's vibrations right at Nature's neutral center in the radiant energy spectrum, above radar and below infrared, at l012 cycles per second.

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  • ferdinando
    How Tesla Solved Gravity?
    7 years ago

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