Here is an exerpt from an article that appeared in the Deccan herald
The link to this article (December 16, 2003 - Deccan Herald - Science and Technology)
An excerpt from this article goes like this...
"Hundred years after Orville Wright’s first flight, K R N SWAMY remembers Shivkar Bapuji Talpade, the Indian who flew an unmanned aircraft, eight years before Wright brothers.Orville Wright demonstrated on December 17th 1903 that it was possible for a ‘manned heavier than air machine to fly’. But, in 1895, eight years earlier, the Sanskrit scholar Shivkar Bapuji Talpade had designed a basic aircraft called Marutsakthi (meaning Power of Air) based on Vedic technology and had it take off unmanned before a large audience in the Chowpathy beach of Bombay. The importance of the Wright brothers lies in the fact, that it was a manned flight for a distance of 120 feet and Orville Wright became the first man to fly. But Talpade’s unmanned aircraft flew to a height of 1500 feet before crashing down and the historian Evan Koshtka, has described Talpade as the ‘first creator of an aircraft'....."".....According to Knapp, the Vaimanika Shastra describes in detail, theconstruction of what is called, the mercury vortex engine theforerunner of the ion engines being made today by NASA. Knapp adds that additional information on the mercury engines can be found in the ancient Vedic text called Samaranga Sutradhara....."
".....230 verses, to the use of these machines in peace and war. The Indologist William Clarendon, who has written down a detailed description of the mercury vortex engine in his translation of Samaranga Sutradhara quotes thus ‘Inside the circular air frame, placethe mercury-engine with its solar mercury boiler at the aircraft center. By means of the power latent in the heated mercury which sets the driving whirlwind in motion a man sitting inside may travel a great distance in a most marvellous manner. Four strong mercury containersmust be built into the interior structure. When these have been heated by fire through solar or other sources the vimana (aircraft) develops thunder-power through the mercury..."