Of all the dreams of man, none was and has been as fascinating as flying. It was in the quest for this dream that countless hours and days were spent imagining and dreaming up ways to take to the air. The dream was finally realized back in 1908 when the Wright brothers made the first successful flight in France. Was this truly the first powered and manned flight? Or did someone actually achieve this feat before?
On September 4, 1906, in the letter to the ‘New York Sun’, Dr. Nikola Tesla wrote, “In a carefully prepared statement, which appeared in the ‘Century’ magazine of June, 1900, I have announced this in advance and my patents and technical articles have fully exposed my methods and appliances and have given an account of my experiments about flying air crafts using transmitted power”. This means that Dr. Tesla had devised, tested and perfected a machine capable of flight 8 years before the first powered flight of the Wright brothers.
Dr. Nikola Tesla was a dreamer who strived to achieve them. What he desired was the power to fly, that too with certainty and absolute safety. For him flying was to be not merely to go up in an aeroplane and take chances on weather conditions, air pockets, tornadoes, lightning and many other perils that the flights of today face, but to fly with the speed and certainty of a cannonball with power to overcome any of nature’s aerial forces.
This discovery was that of the Tesla Turbine that paved the way for the modern gas turbine used in flying the jets of today. Dr. Nikola Tesla dreamt of using this engine in his flying machine. In an interview published in the New York Herald on October 15, 1911, Dr. Tesla says, “The flying machine of the future — my flying machine — will be heavier than air, but it will not be an aeroplane. It will have no wings. It will be substantial, solid, stable. My flying machine will have neither wings nor propellers. You might see it on the ground and you would never guess that it was a flying machine. Yet it will be able to move at will through the air in any direction with perfect safety, higher speeds than have yet been reached, regardless of weather.
It can remain absolutely stationary in the air, even in a wind, for a great length of time. Its lifting power will not depend upon any such delicate devices as the bird has to employ but upon positive mechanical action. My airship will have neither gas bag nor wings nor propellers. It is the child of my dreams, the product of years of intense and painful toil and research. I am not going to talk about it any further. But whatever my airship may be, here at least is an engine that will do things that no other engine ever has done, and that is something tangible.” This was Dr. Tesla’s idea of devising a machine capable of flying at a thousand miles per hour and using energy transmitted from the ground.
Such a creation would be absolutely safe for mankind to use. There are reports by those who claim to have seen this device in operation. An elderly gentleman, the son of a local rancher, described what his father claimed to have seen one night, several miles from Dr. Tesla’s experimental station in Colorado Springs. It is difficult to verify these claims but from what we know about the great mind of Dr. Tesla is that he never claimed things that he could not prove.
In the year 1928, Dr. Nikola Tesla received his last patent, for a VTOL aircraft (Vertical Take Off and Landing) and then be gradually tilted through manipulation of the elevator devices in flight until it was flying like a conventional plane. And what is most important is Dr. Tesla made his VTOL design such that it would sell for less than $1,000 which means that flying would be easily placed in the hands of the common man.
For the purpose of achieving flight, it is claimed that Dr. Nikola Tesla used the principle of electrogravitics. Electrogravitics is claimed to be an unconventional type of effect or anti-gravity propulsion created by an electric field’s effect on a mass i.e. influencing gravity electronically. In the case of Dr. Tesla’s aircraft, Multiple Tesla Coils would create an extremely high electrostatic charge on the outside of the vehicle. By firing these Tesla Coils in rapid succession, a powerful, rapidly rotating electrostatic field would be created. This would develop a charge on the hull of the ship which would be opposed by the earth and air. As the electrostatic field acts on a far greater volume of air the aircraft would be able to fly.
The above are only theories about which approach Dr. Nikola Tesla did indeed use to achieve flight. Whether Dr. Tesla used any of these systems or a combination of these remains a mystery but what can be concurred from his research and his work is the fact that he did indeed create some devices capable of flying and means to power and move these devices that have not been seen to date. Dr. Tesla seems to have written about this vision of his to a manager at Westinghouse. Dr. Tesla wrote, “You should not be at all surprised if some day you see me fly from New York to Colorado Springs in a contrivance which will resemble a gas stove and weigh as much and could, if necessary enter and depart through a window.”
Imagine flying to office and back again to home! We would be able to avoid so many of the travelling woes and mainly traffic jams. Dr. Nikola Tesla’s VTOL which he had estimated to be priced around $1000 and it’s resemble a gas stove and weigh equal to it, and its capability to enter and depart through a window, yet again proves the very point around which all of his research revolved – service and empowerment of the common man.