FIGURE 15 (Sheet 6) is a schematic diagram of a control circuit for causing the lonocraft to lock-on and follow a radiation source at a ground station;

FIGURE 16 (Sheet 5) is a plan view, partly diagram-matic illustrating a control system for the craft of the 5 present invention;

FIGURES I? and 18 are side elevation views in section of a novel control stick box and assembly to permit steering and guiding of the craft by the system illustrated in FIGURE 16; 10

FIGURE 19 (Sheet 2) is a view in elevation of a craft having two vertical grid structure assemblies for control-line horizontal movement;

FIGURES 20 (Sheet 5) and 21 (Sheet 2) are side views in elevation of different embodiments each having 15 several horizontal grid structures stacked one on top of the other: and

FIGURE 22 is a diagrammatic view of a gas turbine engine and mounting which are adapted for use with craft of the present invention. 20

Referring now to the drawings, FIGURES 1 and 2 (Sheet M are plan and elevation views of a typical basic embodiment of my improved lonocraft 10. The lonocraft proper comprises a plurality of emitting electrode wires 12 mounted above and in a plane substantially 25 parallel to the collecting electrode grid 14 which may be composed of a meshed screen, bars, strips or any other structure that provides maximum effecting collecting electrode area with perforations, slots or other types of opening to allow the air to pass through with a minimum of 30 drag. A plurality of hollow, lightweight rods or bars of conductive material or crossed wires forming a mesh which is open to pass air downwardly, but with the wires sufficiently closely spaced to effectively neutralize the charged ions which pass from emitting electrode wires 12 35 are preferred structures. A high D.C. voltage is applied between emitting electrode 12 and collecting electrode 14; one pole or terminal of the high voltage generator is connected to the emitu'ng electrode 12 and the opposite pole or terminal of the same generator is connected to the col- 40 lecting grid electrode 14, thus creating a high potential field between the electrodes.

In this form of improved lonocraft, a basic structure sufficiently rigid to cope with the dynamic and static loads and to maintain a desired uniform distance between dis* 45 charge emitting wires 12 and the collecting grid 14 is utilized comprising an outer square or rectangular frame composed of members 22, 24, 26 and 28. Diagonal frame members 30 and 32 extend between opposite corners of the rectangular frame and a circular frame mem- 50 ber 34 is fixed tangentially to the midportions of the frame members. Said frame members are coplanar and collecting electrode wires 14 are interwoven, as with a loom, to form a closely meshed wire screen and supported from frame members 22, 24, 26 and 28. The ends of 55 each wire are wrapped over and glued to the lower half 26^7 of the frame member and then cut off as shown in FIGURE 2A. The upper half 26b of the frame member is then secured in position as with glue. A considerable improvement in lifting force was achieved when the frame qq members and cut ends of the grid wires were covered with an aluminum foil.

Four lightweight rigid structural members, 36 and 38, of which two show in FIGURE 2, are mounted beneath the plane of collecting grid 14 in the vertical planes to 05 diagonal members 30 and 32. Members 36 and 38 meet in a common junction 40 at the center of the lonocraft. Four perforate lightweight rigid metal sheets or foils 42 and 44 of aluminum or the like, of which only two show in FIGURE 2, are mounted between diagonal members 70 30, 32, 36 and 38. These foils provide additional stabilization against tilting by guiding the air flow vertically along the surfaces of the foils and have been found to provide an increase in lift which more than compensates for their weight. Beneath junction 40, a pair of crossed 73

support members 45 and 46 are provided to servo as a landing support to hold the craft with the collecting gr;d 14 above the ground-supporting surface 47 when landed.

The outer ends of emitting wires 12 are supported from masts 48, 49, 50 and 51 of insulating material mounted on opposite sides of the craft. In this embodiment, emitting electrode wires 12 pass diagonally across the craft and cross each other near the center. One terminal of a high voltage D.C. potential is connected to leads 52 which are connected to masts 48 and 49.

The lower edges of masts 48 and 50 and of masts 49 and 51 are connected together by tension member 53 (FIGURE 2) such as a lightweight cable to hold the masts in their vertical position by providing a force to balance against the tension force of emitting wires 12.

Suitable lead-in wires 54 are provided for connection between collecting grid 14 and the other terminal of the power supply, and are preferably at ground potential. Variable impedances, such as variable width spark gaps which serve to reduce the applied voltage, are provided in lead-in wires 54 for control of voltage between emitting wires 12 and collecting grid 14 to thereby control the vertical movement of the craft.

An actual embodiment built in accordance with the foregoing description which lifted itself into a self-sustaining flight had a collecting grid surface area of approximately 150 square inches and the space between the collecting grid and the emitting wires 12 was approximately 2 inches. With a craft having the foregoing dimensions, a voltage of 20 kv. and a current of approximately 0.5 milliampere was sufficient to make the craft more than self-sustaining. The total weight of the structure was approximately 5 grams. Other craft having the space between the collecting grid and emitting wires of 5 inches have been successfully flown. Such craft require voltages of the order of 50 to 60 kv. Where the grid area is about 7 or 8 square feet, currents of the order of 2 milliamperes exist. Variations in humidity and air pressure cause variations in the current drawn and in the lifting efficiency.

The lifting capability of the craft was found to increase as the diameter of the grid wires is increased. Crafts were tested with wire diameters of 2, 5, 8 and 12 mils for the collecting grid. With wire diameters of 8 mils or more, the current requirement to provide the same total lifting force shows a detectable decrease thereby indicating a higher-efficiency. Hollow tubular conductors having an outer diameter of one-quarter inch also give substantially the same lift force and efficiency as the 8 and 12 mil wire diameters.

A modification of the foregoing structure is shown in FIGURE 3 (Sheet 2) wherein a central compartment section 60 is provided in the center of a surrounding large area collecting grid 14. A plurality of rigid support sections 62, each comprising an upper member 64, a lower member 66, and an intermediate foil 68 extend from the corners of the central section 60 to the periphery of the framework surrounding the collecting grid 14.

Near each of the corners of the outer periphery of collecting grid 14 a mast 70 made of insulating material is provided which supports the outer end of emitting wires 12. A second group of inner support masts 72 mounted on central section 60 provide support for the inner ends of emitting wires 12.

In this embodiment, the central compartment 60 is adapted to house electronic equipment and the power plant and crew where used.

In practicc, it has been found desirable to increase the lengths of emitting electrode wires by adding a series of wires 74 which are supported on the main"emitting wires 12 and which are parallel to each other and at a distance approximately equal to the distance of the emitting wire> from the collecting electrode. The outermost wire is positioned inwardly about one-half the distance between the parallel wires (i.e., from 1 to 3 inches) from the outer

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