But this wasn't ordinary gas. According to Dellschau it was a
substance called "NB" which had the capacity to "negate weight."
Incredible as it may seem he is talking about antigravity.
Two brief mentions of flying men from the same file;
Page 205 of Bullards book,
On July 28th, around 6 to 7 AM?, Two Louisville, Kentucky men
saw an object in the distance which drew nearer and resolved
into the appearance of a man surrounded by machinery. (Note
no gasbag or canopy supported by one)
If the man slacked his efforts (he was peddling) the machine
dropped, but if he once again worked the treadles (peddles) and
wings HE ROSE AGAIN; but the machine seemed under perfect
control and executed a turn over the city.
(Remember when the comedian Gallagher built and flew a bicycle
type device suspended from a small dirigible.)
Page 206 of Bullards book,
In September an object like a black-clad man WITH BAT'S WINGS
AND FROGS LEGS FLAPPED over Coney Island.
I am particularly intrigued by the reports of flying men as in this one
The next day at Mount Vernon, Ill., the city's mayor focused his
telescope on an "airship." What he saw was something that
resembled, according to the _Saginaw Courier-Herald_,
"the body of a huge man swimming through the air with an
electric light at his back."
Remarks about the gas and aeronautical improvements long before flight
was known; http://www.keelynet.com/gravity/aero8.txt
The Aero Dora was equipped with a "sucker-kicker", which was a
device for compressing air and operated very much like a JET for
propulsion. Yes, several of these Aeros had devices that were years
ahead of their times, and included up to date contrivances such as
retractable landing gear, shock absorbers, gas converters, spot-
lights, and many other novel ideas for their time, for one must take
into consideration that these were entirely new concepts, or
designs, with absolutely no precendent to go by, and it is for this
reason that some of the aircraft look so fantastically monstrous and
absolutely unfeasable as aeronautical machines. In other words,
none of them look like they could even BEGIN to get off the ground,
much less fly!
This was no problem for them though, for they possessed a formula
for producing a SPECIAL GAS, called "NB" gas, which was capable of
lifting the most ponderous construction with a minimum of gas. The
gas was produced on board the aircraft and carried in one or several
gas bags on top or on the sides of the airship. Marthin Karo, one
of the members of the Club and inventor of a "hood" for carrying
excess gas referred to this lifting agent as "FLOAT", which is a
good description of its function.
George Newell was the inventor of a "gas motor" called "VOLTA" which
produced the "Lift Power" used on most of the airships. This was a
modified version of earlier gas motor designs or "converters" which
were used in earlier Aero models.
As for the Cripel Wagon...this was actually a wheeled land vehicle
designed in 1837 by Friderich Schultz but was adapted in 1857 for
use as an airship by August Schoetler with the addition of gas bags
and "air squeezers" which made the vehicle airborne, converting it
into an airship with hydrowheels (wheels with water inside instead
of air). "Air squeezers" were similar to "sucker kickers" and
consisted of a tube through which air was compressed and ejected
(similar to a jet engine).
Only one of the Sonora group knew how to make this mystery gas, so he
was the sole provider for the group. I've seen mention of using coal or
coal tar on tips over which hot steam or heat was played to produce or
energize the NB gas but I could not find the specific reference, however
here is the URL saying only one knew the secret;
Another notation reads:
"Again, where material is used other than Peter's fuel, even the
Army, using fire to ascend cannot stay up long, because nothing
travels like Peter's Goose".
The above refers to Peter Mennis, who ALONE, knew the formula for
producing the gas used on the Aeros.