Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Anti-gravity High Schoolers demonstrate aircraft!

  1. Jan 20, 2004 #1
    Detroit News-Darren Jacobs

    "Dearborn High School students Ethan Rein, Jim Bergren and Luke Duncan are breaking the law -- of gravity.
    ___Rein, a senior, and juniors Bergren and Duncan, have built an anti-gravity aircraft that hovers without the aid of a motor, fan or engine. ...."

    ".... and cost about $200 to construct. The aircraft is triangular shaped and gets its power from a wire that runs along the top of the device. The wire is connected to a power source, which can be anything from a battery to a desktop computer.
    ___The secret of the craft lies in a theory on the function of ion waves. The ions bump into oxygen, causing the craft to rise up, according to the students. "

    Anti-gravity Kids
    from their website:
    * 18 Grams
    * approximatly 40,000 Volts @ 1 milliamp
    * made of balsa wood
    * aluminum foil
    * no moving parts
    (sounds like stuff from Roswell?)

    "There are a few different theories that we are researching ......
    1.Ion Wind Theory
    2.Befield Brown Effect

    1.Ions jump from the wire at the top of the craft to the foil at the bottom of the craft pushing air and moving the craft. This theory is based on Netwons third law that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

    2.Objects have a tendancy to move from a negative charge to a positive charge. When the top wire is charged positively the craft moves in the direction of the wire."

    However-I have in my notes this:"They thought an ion wind might be causing the machine to rise up into the air, but an experiment at Purdue University put a similar craft into a vacuum tube and the machine still flew. If it had been powered by ion winds, this wouldn’t have happened."; which isn't in this article......
    So what's going on?
    Leak from Fermi labs?
    Boeing,Boeing, Bong....

    afriad i've 'lost' reference links to other notes---so , you'll have to do your own research for now-
    oh, maybe from the interviews with 'em..... ((:interview : http://www.wdhsvideo.org/html/antigravity/antigravity_press.htm

    But from the report here, what i don't believe is that it cost 200 bucks!!
    come on, some balsa wood,aluminium foil, duck tape ,glue, wires,batteries;
    give me a break-i'd pay 'em 50 $ to clean out my garage and they'd get this stuff for free!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 20, 2004 #2


    User Avatar

    This has been addressed before.

    The vacuum test was not reproducible. In tests under laboratory conditions, the thrust was found to be related to the pressure of the environment, and there was no thrust in a true vacuum. Most likely their equipment was faulty. To think about it, it wouldn't make sense either, since gravity is based on mass attraction, which is irrelevant in such a drive system.

    So sadly no anti-gravity. But still very cool.

    Uh... hmm.

    This sounds rather dubious. Seems a version of "pulling yourself off the ground."
  4. Jan 20, 2004 #3
    was this from Purdue tests?
    do you happen to have link-not sure how to narrow search down to this particular 'experiment'--seems they would have posted more by now?

    i'd love to try this--not enough info as to where they got the idea?
    "they didn't think it would work"---suggests they weren't the originators of the 'idea' --Purdue first?

    thanks FZ+
  5. Jan 20, 2004 #4
    This is the "ionocraft" invented quite some time ago. Here is a link to an article in Popular Mechanics from the 1960s that gives history and a good, clear explanation of how it works. Operation in a vacuum is not possible. They had high hopes for it as you will see from the article, but I don't believe anyone ever overcame the need for the tether. Alot of hobbyists make them nowadays, calling them "lifters". They are quite simple and should not cost 200 dollars.

    Here's the link:

    Major DeSeversky: Ionocraft (Popular Mechanics, August 1964) ~ Ion wind propelled aircraft
  6. Jan 21, 2004 #5
    Below is a website that has quite alot of interesting links on the subject:

    EDIT: If you want to make one I found an article on how to make a cheap power supply: Don't blame me if you get fried!
    Lifter Power SupplyHigh Voltage power supply for the T.T.Brown Lifter
    English translation courtesy of Mike Ady )
    Greetings to you!

    Have a happy New Year, "without gravity"

    I have enclosed an explanatory document on how to use the high voltage
    from a monitor to supply power to a Lifter.

    Be cautious around high voltage!
    Share your experiences.

    Cordial greetings,
    Claude Dupré

    Some advices for providing power to a Lifter :

    It is very simple to obtain high voltage from a monitor, but it is
    necessary to take certain precautions. The total power delivered by the HV
    circuit of a monitor is not fatal, but the human heart does not appreciate
    such a shock. Therefore it is safer to place two holes in the monitor and
    close the cover before using... It is also a good idea to affix a label

    1) Make sure that the monitor delivers at least 25KV at 20W (see plate)
    2) Remove the rear cover of the monitor
    3) The - : this is the braid or mount that surrounds the picture tube
    4) The + : this is the rubber nipple that attaches to the picture tube. [
    Squeeze the rubber nipple with your fingers or a pair of pliers to remove
    it from the picture tube. Make sure the monitor has been turned off for
    at least a day before attempting this.]
    5) Make 2 notches on opposite sides of the cover... one on the left and
    the other on the right, (10 mm x 5 mm) about 10 cm from the bottom, at the
    junction of the cover in back and screen in front.
    6) Solder two 2 m [7'] pieces of well insulated wire to the braid (-)
    surrounding the picture tube, and run them out one of the notches. [These
    will be the ground wires.] Here the wire diameter is not critical... 0.1
    or 0.2 mm [38 or 32 AWG] is fine.
    7) Run the wire with the rubber nipple (+) out the other side.
    8) Close the cover, making sure the wires run through the notches on
    either side
    9) The wire can simply rest on the work surface.
    10) Cut and strip the wire (+), 5 cm from the rubber nipple and put a 250
    K Ohm 3W power resistor (or equivalent) in line, (to avoid frying the HV
    circuitry in case of a short circuit).
    11) Insulate the wires and resistor(s) with 4 or 5 layers of orange Scotch
    tape of the type used to install fibreglas insulation.
    12) Attach the rubber nipple to a very stable support, raising it to a
    height of 50 cm. (I used a bottle filled with sand and a length of 16 mm
    PVC electric insulation tube [plastic electrical conduit])
    13) Make a 80x80 cm work surface for flying the Lifter, using white
    [surfaced] chipboard, 15 to 22 mm [1/2" to 3/4"] thick (make sure the wood
    is dry, not damp)
    14) Strip (3 mm) of insulation from the end of one of the ground wires (-)
    and tin it [with solder]. Tape it to one of the sides of the work surface.

    15) The end of the other ground wire (-) is to be connected to a well
    isolated discharge probe, which is to be kept away from all other
    conductors, objects or humans (it will serve to discharge the high voltage
    after each use).
    16) Strip the end of this wire (-) and solder it to the end of 70 cm
    length of 0.1 mm [38 AWG] insulated copper magnet wire. Remove 2 cm of
    insulation from the other end of the wire. This end is to be taped to the
    aluminum plate of the Lifter using ordinary Scotch tape.
    17) The elevated rubber nipple is to be placed on the opposite side of the
    work surface (30 cm)
    18) Solder a 70 cm length of 0.1 mm [38 AWG] enameled copper magnet wire
    to the electrode inside the rubber nipple. The other end is to be
    soldered to the Lifter corona wire.
    19) Before testing, remove everything from the table and the work surface.
    21) Provide switched (mains) power to the monitor. It is important to be
    able to turn off the power while remaining at least 1 m [3'] from the high
    22) The test location must not be humid
    23) Make sure casual observers are kept back a minimum of 3 m [10'].
    24) Launch!
    25) After switching off the power to the monitor, always discharge the
    high voltage with discharge probe (-) by placing it in contact with the
    electrode inside the rubber nipple (+). Never touch the Lifter before
    discharging the high voltage.
    26) Enjoy, but Keep safe.
    BE CAREFUL, USE EXTREME CAUTION !!!, this device use High Voltage,
    ALWAYS switch off the input and discharge the output to the ground
    through 10k/2W resistor before touch it. These plans are not
    intended for the inexperienced. User of this document should be very
    carefull and experienced in High-Voltage electronics to try anything
    out ! If you do it the risk of any results is just yours. I take no
    responsibility of anything that might happen.

    Go to the J.Naudin Lifters experiments page
    Go to the AdeOne-KonAde Lifter Build page
    Go to the AdeOne-KonAde Lifter page
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2004
  7. Jan 21, 2004 #6
    zoobyshoe and username


    loved the PMec article-and great site! awesome-
    i have a PMec from '70 with 'Back Pack Helicopter' cover

    The FUTURE is NOW!! why am i still stuck in traffic????

    might be interesting to start a thread of '10 favorite websites '
    that's a great one!

    funny- kids didn't mention the 'monitor' and high voltage,
    or the reporter-i was wondering why this wasn't a 'popular toy'

    over the holidaze saw Letterman playing with a remote controlled
    "Flying Saucer"--rreally cool-only 39 $--it was basicly a 'horizontal'
    propeller inside an open 'cage'.....hovered and flew around, very quick,
    don't remember the 'exact' name-haven't 'found one' yet....

    thanks again folks
    happy flying!
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Anti-gravity High Schoolers demonstrate aircraft!
  1. Anti-gravity (Replies: 46)