This is a collection of experimental footage for the Vortex Thruster VTOL engine, constructed by American Antigravity’s Tim Ventura to test a novel form of aerodynamic propulsion. The device itself was designed by University of Texas Professor Dr. Mikhail Goldshtik, who intended it to produce bimodal VTOL thrust by creating a Coanda-Effect Tornado above the device while simulateously and ejecting a high-speed swirling flow of exhaust gases over an airfoil.

Our replication efforts demonstrated that the principle does in fact work & produces thrust. What makes this device unique is that unlike a traditional engine, in which air flows linearly through the engine, the Vortex Thruster operates by rapidly spinning the air, creating a shear effect, and ejecting it over an airfoil. Thus, the device creates thrust first by a suction in the artificial tornado over the engine, and second by a low pressure area of high-speed exhaust over a circular wing-surface.

A research team from the University of Washington visited in 2005 to review the experiments, and concluded that Ventura’s rudimentary prototypes of Goldshtick’s Vortex Thruster technology were sufficient to demonstrate that the device was suitable for stable VTOL propulsion, and that it may require less energy to operate as it dynamically stores energy (and thus lifting force) in the artificial tornado created over the device during operation. They additionally believed that the small, internally housed impeller blades and rapid spin-up time could provide a tremendous advantage for VTOL propulsion in comparison to traditional helicopters. Unlike helicopter blades, which are large, delicate, and require minutes to reach operating speed, the Vortex Thruster provides the potential for similar lift from a smaller device that makes it more safer and more suitable for use in crowded, urban airspace.

One concern of the University of Washington research team was that since airflow changes direction in the Vortex-Thruster, this engine may only be suitable for use in low-speed VTOL aircraft, and the engine could not be applied in a horizontal position for traditional forward-thrust (as in an airplane). In a forward thrust configuration, they felt that the speed of the aircraft could detrimentally affect the wind-shear and disrupt the artificial tornado, which may undermine the ability of the Vortex Thruster to propel the craft behind a certain speed. This is also a potential concern in the VTOL configuration as well, but less so as vehicles that it would be mounted in travel at far slower velocities.

The inventor of the Vortex Thruster, Dr. Mikhail Goldshtick, was a Russian physicist and aerospace engineer specializing in high-speed laminar flows working as a professor at the University of Texas. He passed away in the late 1990’s, leaving his initial research unfinished. This technology was apparently his pet-project, and as the University has made no claims towards intellectual property it appears to be open for anyone willing to invest the time, money, and energy in developing it.