I am wondering if a pneumatic-based, paddle wheel-type lifting apparatus would have any practical application within the aeronautical or aerospace fields.

Please reference the conceptual drawing below.

It is showing radial bladed impellers ('paddle wheels') embedded halfway within an enclosure. The impellers are rotated by electric motors (although they can be any kind of motor). This enclosure has lower ambient pressure within it due to the suction of the intake pipe of the attached centrifugal blower. The centrifugal blower is being rotated by its own electric motor.

Since the impeller blades that are outside of the enclosure encounter higher air resistance/drag as compared to the blades within the enclosure, the paddle wheels should generate a net force in the direction indicated by the arrows on the impellers.

Although I do not believe that this lifting apparatus would be a replacement for aircraft propellers, I believe that it may have a practical application somewhere within the aeronautical/aerospace field, yet at this time I don't know what that would be. Perhaps one application would be that this lifting apparatus could be used on a STOL/VTOL aircraft or a drone to provide vertical lift/hovering capabilities.

Would this pneumatic-based, paddle wheel-type lifting apparatus have any practical application within the aeronautical or aerospace fields?


Edited the Title text and made wording edits to the Body text. Also, revised the original drawing and reposted it.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ If starting from stationary, could the paddle rotate in the reverse direction? $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    May 10, 2019 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Solar Mike, yes it could as long as it has a bidirectional motor $\endgroup$
    – user18610
    May 10, 2019 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ What motor, not in the original description... $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    May 10, 2019 at 18:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Solar Mike, sorry I forgot to put that into the description. I'm talking about the a bi-directional motor that would turn the paddle wheel. $\endgroup$
    – user18610
    May 10, 2019 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ So why have the centrifugal blower creating the "negative air pressure" (really below ambient..) which you stated was to cause the paddle to rotate? Have you any real plan? $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    May 10, 2019 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


Simply put it will not work. And the reason is very simple. It's the fact that lift is created when the wind is almost tangent to the wing or the blade of a windmill, or else it will stall. Not when it is pushing it. This is what made the Wright brothers machine fly as opposed to those who made flapping wings and crashed.

Many people who start learning sailing make the same mistake. Best wind is when it is blowing almost parallel to the sail, not when is blowing into the sail and stagnates. Best you get from 10 miles back wind is probably 7 miles boat speed, because of the friction. But same wind when it blows 90 degrees will give the sail lift at 50 miles speed.

Impeller has to let the air wash around it to give it lift, not to shovel the air.

  • $\begingroup$ I agree with your reasons as to why it will not create the amount of lift that you get with an aircraft propeller, yet I believe that it will create a certain amount of net force in the direction indicated by the arrow. Plus, this is not designed to be the primary means of propulsion for an aircraft, but rather as a supplemental propulsion device. If this apparatus is turned 90 degrees so the net force is pointed skyward, it may be ideal for hovering purposes, which would be ideal for drones. $\endgroup$
    – user18610
    May 11, 2019 at 13:18
  • $\begingroup$ @HRIATEXP, air flow at the speed of 100 miles per hour which is the minimum speed of very small extra light airplanes is 25lbs per square ft. it will likely crash the box and paddles immediately. Even if they are just attached to an airplane for test purposes. $\endgroup$
    – kamran
    May 12, 2019 at 6:34
  • $\begingroup$ @ kamran, in that case, then it would best be suited for drone use only. This lifting apparatus could be a design alternative for the standard four propeller drone. $\endgroup$
    – user18610
    May 12, 2019 at 12:38

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