- By C. H. Dodge, CRS Retired,
- Marcia Smith, CRS Witness, and Keith Morin, US Flywheel
- The Congressional Research Service is located within
the Library of Congress. The Library is one of the three branches of Congress.
This group of researchers is subject regularly to visits by foreign dignitaries.
Mr. Dodge and Ms. Smith were at the time of this story, part of the CRS,
Office of Science Policy. I have attempted to reconstruct this account
as accurately as possible.
- Since Mr. Dodge speaks Russian with questionable fluency,
it was his duty one-day, to host a group of scientists from the Institute
of Theoretical Physics, from the Soviet Academy of Sciences, located in
Moscow. The Institute was, and still is, affiliated closely with The Moscow
Aeronautical Institute (MAI). The MAI in the 1960's through the 1980's
conducted all of the "Blue Sky" (Way-out!) aviation research
and development for the former Soviet Union and was housed in a four-story
- One of this group of visiting Russians to the CRS was
a very pleasant and aristocratic young man (his identity will not be compromised
for this account). He became very fascinated and comfortable with Mr. Dodge's
very small (6ft by 8ft) office that housed no less than ten filing cabinets,
desk, chair, endless books and documents. He liked the "layout and
loose" condition. When I first saw this same office, I would tend
to describe it as "a small structure that could pose as a fire and
health safety hazard". I would guess that this was part of the reason
all of the visitors in this group eventually felt "at-home" in
this small room. As a direct result to the melt down of the cold war and
new found friendships in the making within this tiny little room, a bottle
of fine Russian Smirnoff Vodka soon appeared along with a liberal amount
of orange juice. At this point they proceeded to get drunk and began swapping
- Somewhere in the middle of all this (at what point and
how is still unclear), the young man began to unravel a yarn (all of which
was in Russian) that when translated, went like this:
- Under the Kruschev and later Andropov regimes, the former
Soviet Union was firmly committed to creating a device like a UFO (a flying
saucer!). The intent at that time was no to threaten, but to scare the
"shit" out of the United States by hovering this craft directly
over Washington, D.C.
- Therefore, the most brilliant Soviet minds of the time
were convinced, the young man included that the only available tool to
reach this goal was with existing Soviet flywheel technology.
- So, a team from the Academy of Sciences and the MAI,
setup a "test bench" on the bottom floor of the MAI building.
The bench was approximately six by six meters square of solid concrete
with six stantions buried in the concrete floor. On the bench, they fabricated
and eventually horizontally mounted a six meter diameter by 30 centimeter
thick solid high alloy steel flywheel with a six meter long and 30 centimeters
in diameter shaft powered by what was described as an electric 50,000 horsepower
motor. (Note: I am a little skeptical of the horsepower rating; however
it must have been big to account for what happens next).
- The group calculated that this wheel would be stable
up to 20,000 RPM. The first series of tests were conducted and where very
successful at obtaining their design speed. In addition, strain gauges
that where attached to the bench confirmed that the flywheel at that speed,
did in fact "lift the flywheel and motor up" defying known laws
- The next step in the testing process went something like
- The group unanimously decided: "Well hell! Let's
put it up to 50,000 RPM!"
- An so they did?|
- Although the actual speed will probably never be known
for sure, somewhere around 40,000 RPM the giant flywheel "became unstable
and unbalanced". At this moment, the young man began yelling at everyone
to evacuate the premises. The next few moments are too much to even conceive.
- The motor and flywheel decide
they can no longer exist together. The flywheel, shaft and test bench separate
from the giant motor and began spinning like a "toy top" on the
floor of the MAI test laboratory. This huge spinning assembly at first
wonders around throwing papers, furniture, books, etc. then moves the three
meters or so towards the windows facing the courtyard. The newly formed
object still spinning at almost 40,000 RPM crashes through the windows
and spills into the courtyard wondering around at first then heading directly
at the first floor windows of the Soviet Pravda newspaper office some 50
to 60 meters away. On its way across the courtyard, everything in its path
is thrown out of the way (leaves, bushes, etc.). People are running everywhere
to get out of the way. I can only imagine what the people who were working
in the newspaper office where thinking as they looked out their windows
at this massive thing heading towards them. At some point during the crossing
of the courtyard, the people who were watching this event unfold, decided
their office was about to meet the same fate as the MAI laboratory did.
Panic finally set in and everyone went every direction imaginable.
- As the giant spinning flywheel cyclone thing crashed
through the windows of the Pravda newspaper offices, chairs, desks, books,
typewriters, and tons of paper where flying everywhere. You would think
everything would end about now. That was not to be the case. No one can
be sure how fast the flywheel was spinning at this point and as far as
I can tell no one tried to find out.
- The spinning flywheel assembly found its way into the
basement and Pravda's main historical archive room. "It ate up 15
years worth of the Moscow Pravda newspapers, caused a fire and destroyed
shelving before the whole mess lops over some one and a half hours later."
- This story as far as I can research is factual. If it
were not for the intellectual properties contained within even the smallest
particulate of the vodka produced by the Smirnoff company, I would not
have believed a word of this?|