I noticed an update to the Wired article in regards to Shawyer testing for ion wind:
UPDATE: When I asked him about the possibility of “ion wind” being the real cause of thrust, Dr Shawyer patiently explained that it had been addressed at a very early stage:”Air currents from whatever source were eliminated in the first Proof of Concept project by testing the experimental thruster mounted in a hermetically sealed box. The experiment was reviewed and accepted by professional government scientists.” [The research was being supported by the British government at the time.]
He also points out that real ion drives need much higher voltage and that “Anyone who thinks they can create grammes of thrust from ion wind at the voltages we work at clearly doesn’t understand physics.” He does not believe a vacuum chamber test would show anything, as ion drives function in a vaccum and there would still be the question of wehther some ionised material was somehow being ejected. However, the hermetically sealed box test should have negated that possibility.
This seems to strengthen the case for independent testing. But would it convince the skeptics? I suspect that even if the Emdrive was propelling a space probe around the solar system there would still be some saying “Yeah, it works but it can’t be working the way he says it does…”
It is encouraging that Shawyer has tested the device in a sealed box but he is wrong when he says “He does not believe a vacuum chamber test would show anything, as ion drives function in a vacuum…”. Only ion drives specifically built with propellant on board work in a vacuum. The “lifter” based ion-wind type requires air to ionize and an episode of Mythbusters shows clearly that the ion-wind based “lifters” do not work in a vacuum. Mythbusters talk about the Biefeld-Brown “lifter” effect.
Shawyer is correct that his apparatus has neither the significant kilo-volts required, nor are any of the external surfaces of the apparatus in a highly charged state, both required for the Biefeld-Brown effect.