Mike Rowe


For many the future is dismal and something to be wary of. Yet time waits for no man. Sometimes to advance into the future you can look to the past. Amazing how things that are new are not really.

For example, had the government not allowed Ma Bell to have a monopoly years ago we would have had cell phones in the 1950’s. And electricity would be transmitted through the air at no, or little, cost. Tesla invent this and much more and was murdered for his trouble.

Kansan’s have been a part of invention of many things over the years and many of these Kansan’s get little or no recognition or remembrance for their genius and vision.

So what is the point here? What is new, futuristic, and soon available for corporate use? Or if you are a multi-millionaire a new toy? And what has ties to a Kansas (Oklahoma has some claim to him also) for a product you can still buy today? It goes straight up for take off and landing and goes 300+ miles per hour in flight. It can travel 3000 miles at 30,000 feet.

Well the answer is the Tri Fan 600 VTOL aircraft that is being built in the Denver area. So how does this relate to Kansas? I am not sure that even the XIT Aircraft Company knows for sure, but if you look at the video of the concept airplane and there is something about the propellers and engines that has a familiar look.

The principle of the engines on the Tri Fan look like the Vornado Fan. And wittingly or unwittingly the design for the propulsion system was invented by Ralph K. Odor. The original design of the Vornado was as an airplane. Research and development of the Vornado airplane was done by Ralph at Oklahoma A & M (now Oklahoma State University). His prototype, which you can go on line and watch the film of the tests, was also the first electric airplane. The prototype was tethered and flew in circles.

Though a full size working prototype was never built the propulsion system was innovative and had it not been for World War II and Ralph coming to Beechcraft in Wichita, would probably have been a leap forward in aeronautics.

Ralph ended up working for the O.A. Sutton Company and the fan that he had developed when working in Ohio was built in Wichita and sold as the Vornado Fan. The company still builds Vornado air systems here in Andover, KS. The company is no longer locally owned but they are still here.

Many times when we need to take a leap forward we only have to look into the past. And if we think we have made a major break through we only need to look back and there is a better than even chance that the principles that we have just ‘discovered’ have already been thought of.

I have been in love with the thought that at some point in time there will be an aircraft that anybody can own and simple enough to not require hundreds of hours of schooling and fight training.

This concept may be the next big thing in transportation but I will bet that there will be some government department that will step in and run up the cost. So much for the everyday man.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.