A Gravity-Powered Plane?

A company called Hunt Aviation is currently developing a prototype for a gravity powered plane.

Currently a Nevada-based aviation company is exploring another creative way to utilize gravity as a power source— combining some very old ideas with some very new ones— to produce an aircraft concept which might one day tote people and cargo great distances without the need for fuel. The project is called the GravityPlane.

The idea sprung from the brain of Robert D. Hunt, a theoretical physicist and inventor who founded Hunt Aviation to develop his patented “gravity powered hybrid aircraft” concept which operates on the principles of buoyancy, aerodynamic lift, and gravity. It uses a cycle of climbing and descending to maintain its lift and forward speed, mimicking the behavior of the bodies of warm and cold air which make up the weather.


But hypothetically, this design could allow the aircraft to travel practically any distance with no fuel. It would expel no polluting gasses, and it would be virtually silent. It would also have some interesting features for such a large craft, including vertical take-off and landing (VTOL), and the ability to set down on land or at sea. Additionally, its buoyancy would allow it to hover in the air if needed, even in the event of total power loss.

Considering the GravityPlane’s simplicity, its environmentally friendly propulsion, and its freedom from heavy and expensive fossil fuels, this concept could completely revolutionize aircraft design in the coming decades if it proves viable.

Now that would be cool. The prototype looks like a really large plane, so it probably wouldn’t be practical for personal aircraft, but a fast, fuelless airplane might be just the ticket for cargo deliveries.

(link via Warren Ellis)

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Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.


  1. DCA says:

    Clicking through, this is a perpetual motion machine (though, like most such proposals now, well-disguised, perhaps even from the inventor). So, not interesting at all.

  2. Alex Knapp says:

    Clicking through, this is a perpetual motion machine (though, like most such proposals now, well-disguised, perhaps even from the inventor.

    I thought that at first, too, but I can see some potential for working here. Even if the whole fuelless concept doesn’t pan out, there might be some interesting ideas for incorporating helium into traditional aircraft that come out of it.

  3. davod says:

    Maybe the poster posted the article a couple of hours earlier than he meant to.

  4. Christopher says:

    Wow, Alex! You are so smart to comment on this! You and I must have seen the same episode of The Jetsons! Oh wait-maybe it was Futurama…

    OMG what a dork you are!

  5. floyd says:

    Won’t work! The “plane” would be weighed down with all the “barf-bags” which would certainly become necessary!

  6. RALPH says:

    will they call it a glider.