Here's how I ran my corona motor, a type of electrostatic motor, using electricity generated from atmospheric electricity. The corona motor sat near the ground with one end of a long wire connected to it. The other end of the wire was lifted around 120 meters/390 feet up in the air using a hexcopter. The result was that the corona motor's cylinder rotated from the high voltage and the electrical current from the wire.
How powering with atmospheric electricity works
In fair weather there is a voltage between the ground and around 50 kilometers/31 miles up of around 400,000 volts (see diagrams below) according to noble prize winning physicist Richard Feynman's Lecture on Physics, volume 2, section 9. The rate of change as you go up isn't uniform but down here near the ground the voltage increases by around 100 volt/meter for every meter you go up (or 30 volts/foot for every foot you go up.)
At the 390 feet/120 meters we'd lifted our wire that works out to roughly 12,000 volts.
People, trees, buildings and so on are usually electrically conductive enough to be at ground potential too, so the equipotential lines curve around them. This means that to get power from atmospheric electricity like this you need to do it in an open field.
The electric current consists of ions, charged molecules and particles, in the air. Positively charged ones go down while any free negative electrons go up. They move slowly and aren't abundant, meaning there is a current of around only 10 micromicro amps, or 10 picoamps, crossing each square meter, or yard, every second.
In the diagram below you can see that electrons flow from the ground up the wire due to the voltage. This is the generated electricity. At the top of the wire are six sharp points made using sewing pins. The electrons leave at these sharp points and neutralize downward flowing positive ions, allowing more electrons to flow up the wire.
Video - Atmospheric Electricity Powering a Corona Motor/Electrostatic Motor
The following video shows the steps leading up to the successful powering of the corona motor off of atmospheric electricity, as well as the successful run itself.
The following video gives a detailed explanation of how atmospheric electricity works to generate electricity, including powering a corona motor.