(Died: March 29, 2005)
Aerospace Engineer, Editor of Electric Spacecraft Journal
Interests: Magnetic Propulsion, New Energy Age: 71
Charles Anthony Yost
Asheville ? Charles Anthony Yost, 71, died Tuesday, March 29, 2005, at his home on Sunlight Drive, Asheville.
Charles was born on July 10, 1933, in Boston, the son of Charles William and Winnie Tuminski Yost. After completing his military service, he earned his B.S. degree in aeronautical engineering in 1962 from Northrop University, Inglewood, Calif. As a research engineer for NASA projects, he developed and analyzed parachute recovery systems for Apollo spacecraft and ejection seating for military aircraft.
In the late 1960s, Charles developed Temper (memory) Foam under a NASA contract. Originally designed to improve crash protection for airline passengers, this foam has recently gained popularity in the mattress-making industry. Charles purchased property in Little Sandy Mush (Madison County) in 1967 to pursue research into high-voltage experiments and to begin manufacture of visco-elastic cushion materials. Charles was on the faculty of AB-Tech in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In 1976, Charles sold the Temper Foam formula and developed several improved visco-elastic formulations trademarked as SunMate, Pudgee and Foam-in-Place Seating. These cushion materials are manufactured by his company, Dynamic Systems Inc. (DSI), and are used worldwide in many industries.
DSI has received awards and recognitions from NASA for successfully marketing aerospace technology in commercial applications. In 1991, DSI received the Governors Cup (14 state area) in honor of its valuable contributions to the economic development of the South."
Charles first love was research. He built a telescope for his high school during his teen years and always wanted to travel through outer space. Even before his days with NASA, he began thinking of ways to power spacecraft with electricity instead of fuel powered rockets. Charles was always fascinated by fundamental concepts of physics and their relation to constructs of a more metaphysical nature. In 1991, he began publishing the Electric Spacecraft Journal as a means of networking with others interested in seeking electrodynamic field propulsion techniques for space travel by investigating electrostatics, electromagnetics, atomic physics, and gravity, inertia, energy and aether concepts.
Charles was respected in many circles. He strove to live simply and meaningfully. He never wanted his businesses to focus on profitability, but instead be driven by research and development with a primary goal of providing customers with a high quality product and personal level of service.
Charles was as generous with his time as he was with his resources. He enjoyed helping students at every level with projects in the arts, science, business and marketing. He was an avid supporter of the arts and was deeply concerned about the environment.
Charles set up the Sunlight Foundation in 2004 to enable the continuation of scientific and educational studies long after his demise. The purpose of the Foundation is to encourage individual research in the natural and physical sciences where the motive is compatible with natural ecological balances and peaceful human coexistence.
Charles was a member of the Asheville Family Business Forum, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, The American Association of Physics Teachers, the Electrostatics Society of America, the Natural Philosophical Alliance, the American Vacuum Society and the Society of Scientific Exploration.
Surviving are his wife of 27 years, Sandra Thacker Yost; son, Robin William Yost of Leicester; daughters, Julie Ann Yost and Susan Yost Carswell of Asheville; and brother, Robert Albert Yost of Chesterfield, Mich.
Plans for a memorial service and celebration of Charles life will be announced later. Memorial contributions should be made payable to the Sunlight Foundation and designated to the Charles A. Yost Scholarship Fund, 322 Sunlight Drive, Leicester, NC 28748; Hospice of Madison County; or to the charity of your choice.
Asheville Area Alternative Funeral & Cremation Services is assisting the family. 258-8274.
Charles Yost, Editor of ESJ, Dies
Charles Yost, the executive editor of the Electric Spacecraft Journal, passed away on March 29 after a bout with cancer. Yost is perhaps best known as the NASA engineer who developed Temper (memory) Foam. Plans for a memorial service will be announced later.
The Electric Spacecraft Journal is hopeful that it can continue publication and has named Richard Hull the new executive editor. - Infinite Energy #61
The following autobiography/editorial appeared in the first ESJ published after Charles Yost's departure:
I have been listening carefully to those experimenting with electric force propulsion techniques. Electric force propulsion is, after all, the primary focus of the Electric Spacecraft Journal. The ESJ was founded in 1990 in order to network individuals interested in electric spacecraft - not the ion propulsion type, but rather an electric force field type. The effort was successful. The connections so established permitted me to carefully research claims and concepts shrouded in too much speculation to be tested with scientific rigor. This has proven to be quite an extraordinary experience for me.
I first decided that a flying saucer could be designed to operate on electrostatic principles in 1950 when I was 17 years old. By that time, I had already become an accomplished amateur astronomer. I had designed and fabricated a ten-inch reflector telescope and an observatory cover. I then became interested in rocketry. I learned from local college rocket enthusiasts how to make and launch sophisticated rockets, and even tried my hand at making hydrazine propellant. (You were allowed to do things like that in high school back then.) All the while, I pursued a parallel interest in electrostatics, Nikola Tesla, and building Tesla coils.
I had avidly pursued the rigorous and technical disciplines of science and engineering. I earned a degree in aeronautical engineering from Northrop University in California which, at the time, was a no-nonsense university. I have worked on advanced fighter aircraft, intercontinental ballistic missiles, antiballistic missiles, and spacecraft. Through my R&D work on the Apollo project (1962-1966), I became totally disgusted by the limitations of rocket technology. I became totally focused on discovering a means of electric propulsion, or flying saucer technology. I had high hopes of uncovering secrets in the work of Tesla and T.T. Brown.
Skipping ahead many years, after ESJ was formed, the first order of business was to evaluate all claims of electro-gravitics in terms of engineering feasibility. It was apparent that T.t. Brown and Agnew Bahnson, Jr. had adequately demonstrated that direct-current electro-gravitic propulsion was not going to be viable. Likewise, John Searle and many others appeared to b little more than wishful thinkers. Claims that the B-2 bomber operated on electro-gravitics principles were equally false. While at Northrop Corporation, I had participated in electrical geodynamics investigations. I knew related research was underway, but it had no application here. In spite of all the hype, electro-gravitics is almost certainly an illusionary construct. Today, proponents of electro-gravitics, rather than explaining observations in terms of established phenomena, which can easily be done, prefer to promote presumptuous hypotheses.
So what has been accomplished? We have decided to turn our attention away from hopes of an electro-gravitic connection and explore other types of electric propulsion. I commend the present effort of Jean-Louis Naudin and others (amateurs in the best sense) to repeat previous investigations and to go beyond. Performing experiments and being objective about the results is an act of bravery. Fair interpretation is a burden of responsibility, since many individuals will blindly follow their predetermined conclusions rather than the facts.
Science evolves through the collection of more information as well as gaining insights into the human thought processes. The effort to discover a means of electric propulsion continues, but are we learning and changing fast enough to avoid self-extinction?
By Richard Hull:
It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my longtime friend and fellow researcher Charles Yost. He lost his fight against pancreatic cancer on 29 March 2005. He left behind two companies and a foundation dedicated to research. He also had family and many friends that loved him dearly.
Charles founded Electric Spacecraft, Inc. (ESI), in the late '80s. In the early '90s he began to publish the Electric Spacecraft Journal (ESJ) as a vehicle for researchers and theorists to share information about work that might impact electric space propulsion.
It was against this backdrop that I received the first issue of ESJ, gratis. I was interested in meeting Charles and arranged to drive down to Leicester, NC, which is a short 20-mile drive northwest of Asheville. We had near instant rapport with each other, as many of our ideas and desires for research were inline. Over the ensuing fifteen years, we took road trips together to a number of conferences and paid visits to each other's labs. Charles and I rarely went more than four to six months without a forma visit of a few days.
One of Charles' most endearing qualities was his love of laughter. Once discovered it led to many humorous moments. Even during experiments we conducted together, we would challenge one another to dovetail a humorous artifact into the work.
Charles was most meticulous and precise, as an engineer is most often seen to be. He was also acutely aware of the needs of others. He designed the research center with the intention of allowing other, less fortunate but inspired, individuals to have a place where they might come and perform simple test of their ideas. His efforts were a bit frustrated in that he never seemed to find the right, serious individuals he was looking for. In the last few years he was somewhat too busy with expansion plans for his larger, money-making interest, Dynamic Systems, Inc. (DSI), to devote his full time and attention to ESI. On my many visits he would bemoan the fact that his dreams for spacecraft research were not progressing at a pace that pleased him.
I think that as far back as 1998 he realized that he would not complete his full plan for Electric Spacecraft during his lifetime. It was about then that he asked me if I would take over should anything happen to him. I responded in the affirmative, but little more was done regarding this critical request until 2003, when he started to actively organize his affairs concerning the transfer he envisioned for ESI/ESJ. On each successive visit Charles seemed a bit more anxious and more focused on research and a smooth transition. I still can't say whether he felt weary or was in ill health, as he always appeared to be the same old Charles I had come to respect and love. I had no inkling of any impending problems until later in 2004 when he was visibly more anxious and reticent on my summer visit. He had shoved the legal transfer into high gear. Even at the New Year's 2005 visit he was rather chipper and laughing a lot.
I was stunned to my very fiber to learn in late January that Charles was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My heart fell to very slow ebb, and with each week's call to him, I could tell by his voice that my friend was failing. By the time I could arrange a hurried visit in late March, he was almost gone.
I had a last sad and very close visit with my friend for three days in late March. Susan Yost Carswell, managing editor of ESJ, and Charles' wife, Sandee, told me over the phone just prior to my visit that they felt Charles was holding on for my visit. I felt that they were just being kind to me, but once there, I was inclined to really believe them. Charles had a brief two-day rally as lawyers and trust directors gathered about his bed. I feel he needed to have a feeling of closure regarding his earthly affairs, with all his loved ones and trusted friends gathered about him.
Each night during my visit, I would stay at Charles' bedside from about 10:00 pm into the early morning hours, and he would talk, albeit weakly and almost in whispers. Under the influence of the morphine for his pain, he would repeatedly seek my assurance that all would continue with ESI and exhorted me to work with all concerned to stay the course. Sandee and Susan were there to relieve me around 3:00 am each morning so I could sleep.
As I left Sunday morning around 9:00 am, I held my friend's hand for the last time. We both knew it, and each of us was visibly moved. Surprisingly, I did not feel the weak grasp of a dying man, but the firm grasp, on both our parts, of two friends knowing it was the last they would ever communicate with one another in this life. Leaving Charles there was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life, and I will long remember the moment of our parting.
A form of blessed relief for everyone in pain during this sad episode, especially Charles, must certainly have occurred with his passing two days later. He is at rest and peace at last. I will never forget him or abandon his dream as long as I have my faculties and powers.
By Leslee Kulba:
I first met Charles Yost in 1990, when a mutual friend responded to my search for meaningful employment with the introduction. Charles was just starting up a journal to network people who didn't fit the scientific mold, but might have good ideas, anyway. I fit in; I had never pursued an advanced degree in physics due to my philosophical convictions about noncontradiction; particularly when it came to relativity and quantum mechanics. So, imagine my delight when, not long after joining ESI, Charles shared with me a copy of Galilean Electrodynamics.
Charles had the incredible mind it take to be the Renaissance man he was. He would always be reading physics texts or theosophical dissertations by the volumes. I would never cease to be amazed at the notes he would bring me to type in the morning. Whether they were legal documents, machine designs, or physics problems, there would often be philosophical and theological marginal notes that betrayed an unmistakable yearning for peace on earth and good will toward men.
Though it could be said that we were both passionate about understanding the universe and questioning institutional assumptions, Charles and I had extremely different approaches to physics. His willingness to accept fringe ideas often got on my nerves. I fancied myself a draconian Baconian, the last living Newtonian mechanic, a champion of the philosophy that there is no virtue in charlatanry. Charles, however, believed fantasy had a way of inspiring pathways toward greater accomplishments. He had a penchant for magic, myth, and mystery that put him on a par with alchemists and wizards of old. Charles' uncanny intuition was best summed up by his daughter, Susan, when she said his plans were often illogical, but almost always correct. A few times, Charles and I argued over things he wanted to put in the journal until we were both on the verge of tears. I don't know that one of us turned out to be "right" more often than the other.
It used to be fun to talk with Charles about fundamental principles of physics. He told of a deep meditative state he had achieved in which he visited the electron. Everything was before him, but the knowledge was so expansive and intense, he did not know where to start asking questions. So the whole experience remained incomprehensible to him. Charles had his own theory about the electron, which he could never convey to my understanding. He used to say all electrons were a window into another dimension. We also argued a lot about dimensions. He always seemed to be putting a spin on the topic that I thought was irrelevant. His favorite bone of contention with me was his argument that there was no time. I can only assume he's got it all figured out now.
One of the things I most respected about Charles was his meekness. He absolutely refused to print anything negative. More importantly, non-imposition was as fundamental a tenet to Charles as noncontradiction was to me. Charles' strong feelings against man's inhumanity to man caused him to have zero tolerance for the application of technology to destructive purposes. Though the journal received many papers about "death rays' and other warheads, we would never print them. Charles understood well the connection between knowledge and responsibility. On his death bed, he said it was probably best that he did not figure out a mechanism for electric propulsion, as prevailing mentalities would surely figure out a way to use it to more efficiently destroy each other.
Perhaps Charles' most outstanding quality was his generosity. He was always inviting people to visit his laboratory, and hardly a person left with empty arms. I am most grateful to Charles for giving me a paycheck to sit around and figure out what I thought were sensible explanations for electromagnetic phenomena. Researching pace weather and reading the words of Tesla were two other great ways to earn a living. We are only now learning of ways in which Charles contributed silently to the research efforts of many.
By Susan Yost:
I've been sorting through many of my father's personal effects these past few months and learning new things about him in the process. For example, my whole life I believed my father was an atheist, but in fact, he believed in a Creator. He even prayed. He would often write out his thoughts on loose pieces of paper or in notebooks. Topics circled around whatever happened to be perplexing him at the moment whether it be the nature of the atom, the intricacies of human relationships, or the economic socio-political state of the world. He maintained a universal perspective of things, always considering the individual parts in relation to the whole. As an engineer, he was adept at extremely detailed thinking, but it was in the after-hour musings when he really let his mind open up to the great philosophical questions of creation, time, the universe and religion.
Charles didn't discount any belief system. His points of contention lay with people of selfish motivation. He was a generous, open-minded and accepting man who helped many people, directly and indirectly, while he pursued a dream to build a better spacecraft.
In 1967 he started a manufacturing business primarily to generate income for his electrical research. Today that company employs 30 people and provides support for their families as well as his own. The company produces a cushion product he invented that improves the health and safety of its users.
In 1990, he founded Electric Spacecraft, Inc. and began publishing ESJ as an avenue of expression for himself and others interested in exploring areas of science related to electric propulsion. His goal was to connect garage tinkerers, amateur experimenters, and armchair theorists scattered around the globe and attempt to combine their efforts so that they might begin to make progress toward discovering a more efficient means of space travel.
In the last two years of his life, Charles made his last contribution to science by establishing the Research Center Trust and the Sunlight Foundation. The objective of both of these organizations is to ensure that research into the mysteries of the natural world would continue through others with goals similar to his. The mission statement of the Foundation states that it is ". to enable and assist all phases of individual research in the natural and physical sciences . [seeking] the pursuit of knowledge and understanding only where the motive is compatible with natural ecological balances and peaceful human coexistence." ESJ is a small but vital part of this larger vision. Dissemination of ideas, experiments and results through publication is one of many ways the Foundation hopes to accomplish its mission.
In the weeks before he died, Dad told me that he had always considered himself a servant, that he was put on this Earth for the purpose of using his knowledge and his skills to help others. He wanted to create an environment where people were constantly learning and growing. I told him he more than achieved that goal.
After the events of 9/11, the memoirs of this exceedingly optimistic man began to reveal disappointment in the human race, questioning its ultimate destiny and the futility of man's existence. Charles was in awe that over the span of centuries, mankind repeatedly chose the path of destruction and self-importance over helping each other to build a better world. In spite of this, he continued to persevere.
In my younger days, I admit, I often thought Dad was selfish, sacrificing family needs to attend to business or to isolate himself in the lab. But I was too close to the parts to see the whole. Looking back, I understand that a great deal of his life was spent orchestrating and building the different entities which came together in the end to secure a future for those he cared about most - his family, his employees, his peers and the promising minds of the generations to come.
As part of the Research Center Trust, I and 8 others have been given the task of maintaining the balance: to keep his business alive and strong, to care for his family and to protect the land from overdevelopment. Above all, we are to uphold our duty to create an environment conducive to learning and growing by encouraging intelligent, honest, open-minded people to work together and to willingly share ideas that will somehow further the evolution of mankind in a more positive direction. "When you come to the finishing line, you realize what is really important - taking care of people." - CAY
- Human Survival in Aircraft Emergencies, (NASA CR-1262), National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Springfield, VA (1969) 55pp. (B0006CCTAQ).