Thrust Tilting Patents (Class 244/12.4)
  • Patent number: 11014664
    Abstract: The presently disclosed embodiments relate to vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft that have the capability of hovering in both a “nose forward” and a “nose up” orientation, and any orientation between those two. The disclosed aircraft can also transition into wing born (non-hovering) flight from any of the hovering orientations. In addition, certain of the disclosed embodiments can, if desired, use only vectored thrust control to maintain stable flight in both hover and forward flight. No control surfaces (e.g. ailerons, elevators, rudders, flaps) are required to maintain a stable vehicle attitude. However, the disclosure contemplates aircraft both with and without such control surfaces.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 21, 2018
    Date of Patent: May 25, 2021
    Assignee: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AS REPRESENTED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR OF NASA
    Inventors: David D. North, Michael P. Hendrickson, Joshua C. Glaab
  • Patent number: 10967964
    Abstract: The ‘Air Wheel’ rotor is a variable pitch rotor with variable twist blades. The ‘Air Wheel’ rotor comprises a closed wing coupled to one or more coaxial hubs via torsional elastic blades, the blades are coupled to the closed wing in one of the following ways: rigid, elastic, or visco-elastic. There is provided a wide range of combinations of the wing relative width and coning angle typical for a lifting rotor with a thin planar wing attached to the tips of long blades, for a shrouded fan in a wide annular wing, or for an impeller in a rotating cylindrical wing. The ‘Air Wheel’ rotor combines and enhances the advantages of a rotor and a wing, it has excellent aerodynamic characteristics, and eliminates limitations of the rotor size and flight speed. The ‘Air Wheel’ rotor can be used for designing vertical take-off and landing aircraft. The “Air Wheel” rotor is universal and can function as a lifting rotor, or a wind turbine, or an aircraft propeller, or a marine propeller.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 24, 2017
    Date of Patent: April 6, 2021
    Inventor: Sergei Yurevich Kuzikov
  • Patent number: 10906656
    Abstract: An exemplary tiltrotor aircraft with a hybrid drive system includes a first propulsion system having a first engine and a first supplemental driver operably coupled to a first proprotor that is operable between a helicopter mode and an airplane mode and a second propulsion system having a second engine and a second supplemental driver operably coupled to a second proprotor that is operable between a helicopter mode and an airplane mode.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 1, 2018
    Date of Patent: February 2, 2021
    Assignee: Bell Textron Inc.
    Inventors: Colton James Gilliland, Mark Alan Przybyla, Eric Stephen Olson
  • Patent number: 10850835
    Abstract: Various embodiments include a drone capable of operating as an airplane, a quad-copter, or a hybrid aircraft using a versatile flight performance envelope enabled by six elements of control. The drone may include a monolithic wing with a propulsion/lift module connected to each wing tip. Each propulsion/lift module may include a pivotal support structure configured to pivot around a longitudinal axis of the monolithic wing, with two pylons extending radially outwardly from the pivotal support structure and at least partially away from one another, and a propulsion units positioned on a distal end of each pylon. The pivotal support structures may be coupled to the monolithic wing via a servo motor enabling a processor to individually control rotation of each propulsion/lift module to provide roll and pitch control. Thrust and rotation of the propulsion units may be individually controlled by the processor to provide yaw, roll and pitch control.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 30, 2017
    Date of Patent: December 1, 2020
    Assignee: QUALCOMM Incorporated
    Inventor: Donald Hutson
  • Patent number: 10843794
    Abstract: An electric compound aircraft is disclosed with a capability of making vertical takeoff and landing and forward flight. In a specific embodiment, the compound aircraft includes an electric motor-powered tip-jet-driven rotary wing, an electric motor-powered tip-jet-driven propeller. The rotary wing provides lift for vertical takeoff and landing, hovering capability and during flight. The propeller provides thrust for forward flight. A fixed wing can be used, in addition to the rotary wing to provide lift for forward flight. Various electric control devices are used to provide control and stability for the compound aircraft and automation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 3, 2017
    Date of Patent: November 24, 2020
    Inventor: Vinh Nguyen
  • Patent number: 10836475
    Abstract: A multirotor aircraft with an airframe and at least one wing that is mounted to the airframe, the at least one wing being provided with at least four thrust producing units that are arranged in spanwise direction of the at least one wing, wherein each one of the at least four thrust producing units comprises at least one rotor assembly that is accommodated in an associated shrouding, the associated shrouding being integrated into the at least one wing, wherein the associated shrouding defines an air duct that is axially delimited by an air inlet region and an air outlet region, wherein the air inlet region exhibits in circumferential direction of the air duct at least two different aerodynamic profiles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 27, 2018
    Date of Patent: November 17, 2020
    Assignee: AIRBUS HELICOPTERS DEUTSCHLAND GMBH
    Inventors: Rupert Pfaller, Uwe Kiesewetter, Sebastian Mores, Marius Bebesel
  • Patent number: 10752351
    Abstract: An unmanned air vehicle is provided. The unmanned air vehicle includes a frame having a center portion connecting two substantially parallel transversely spaced apart ele-wings. The ele-wings may store batteries and rotate along a forward axis to provide lift during a transition from vertical flight to linear flight. The landing gear may be connected to the ele-wings and configured to change pitch of the ele-wing to ensure stable flight during flight mode transition. A plurality of propellers, each having propeller drive motors, are attached to the frame and able to rotate from parallel position, relative to the center portion, for vertical flight to a perpendicular position, relative to the center portion, for linear flight. The propeller drives rotate on its axis and may be configured to propel the vehicle in a ground and flight mode.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 17, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 25, 2020
    Assignee: Detroit Aircraft Corporation
    Inventors: Jon Rimanelli, Lai Yizhang
  • Patent number: 10739791
    Abstract: A method and apparatus provide for automatically controlling the flight of a tiltrotor aircraft while the aircraft is in flight that is at least partially rotor-borne. The method and apparatus provide for automatically tilting nacelles in response to a longitudinal-velocity control signal so as to produce a longitudinal thrust-vector component for controlling longitudinal velocity of the aircraft. Simultaneously, cyclic swashplate controls are automatically actuated so as to maintain the fuselage in a desired pitch attitude. The method and apparatus also provide for automatically actuating the cyclic swashplate controls for each rotor in response to a lateral-velocity control signal so as to produce a lateral thrust-vector component for controlling lateral velocity of the aircraft. Simultaneously, collective swashplate controls for each rotor are automatically actuated so as to maintain the fuselage in a desired roll attitude.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 26, 2019
    Date of Patent: August 11, 2020
    Assignee: Textron Innovations Inc.
    Inventor: Kenneth E. Builta
  • Patent number: 10710717
    Abstract: A multirotor aircraft and a method for controlling the multirotor aircraft are disclosed. The multirotor aircraft comprises a body and a H-shaped frame, wherein, the body is mounted with a bearing, a first person view camera and a servo mechanism, the end of each arm of the H-shaped frame far away from a lateral shaft thereof is mounted with an actuator assembly, the lateral shaft of the H-shaped frame is connected with the body by the bearing, and the servo mechanism is coupled with the lateral shaft of the H-shaped frame and is configured to control the rotation of the lateral shaft of the H-shaped frame, in order to control the angle between the body and the H-shaped frame. The method comprises a first mode and a second mode, wherein in the first mode, keeping the horizon within the camera view of the aircraft; and in the second mode, generating control command on the basis of the camera aligned axis.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 31, 2018
    Date of Patent: July 14, 2020
    Assignee: AUTEL ROBOTICS CO., LTD.
    Inventors: Thomas Raffler, Jian Wang
  • Patent number: 10689102
    Abstract: There is disclosed a multicopter vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. The aircraft comprises am airframe with spatial design, a pilot seat, a cockpit, controls, engine units, engine compartment, control system, remote control system. The airframe consists of a central section and, at least, two peripheral sections, wherein peripheral sections can be folded up or down, or be retracted under the central section. The central section and peripheral sections of the airframe have spatial design. Each of the peripheral sections comprises at least three standard engine compartments which are connected to each other. Inside each engine compartment there is an engine unit which comprises at least one engine and at least one horizontally rotating propeller together with the control hardware. Each engine unit is an autonomous member of the distributed control system (DCS).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 6, 2018
    Date of Patent: June 23, 2020
    Assignee: OBSHCHESTVO S OGRANICHENNOJ OTVETSTVENNOSTYU “AVIANOBATSII”
    Inventors: Sergei Evgenievich Tovkach, Aleksei Viktorovich Shanin, Igor Chudakov
  • Patent number: 10676186
    Abstract: An aircraft includes a fuselage and a wing extending from each lateral side of the fuselage. A nacelle is pivotably se cured to each wing. The nacelle has a rotor located thereat, with the rotor having a rotor tip path plane defined by rotation of the rotor about a rotor axis of rotation. When the rotor tip path plane is changed relative to the wing, the nacelle pivots relative to the wing about a nacelle hinge axis to reduce flapping required by the rotor. A method of operating an aircraft includes changing a rotor tip path plane orientation relative to a wing of the aircraft. The rotor disposed at a nacelle, with the nacelle pivotably secured to the wing. The nacelle is pivoted relative to the wing to reduce an overall tip path plane change requirement of the rotor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 19, 2015
    Date of Patent: June 9, 2020
    Assignee: SIKORKSY AIRCRAFT CORPORATION
    Inventor: Mark R. Alber
  • Patent number: 10661896
    Abstract: A multicopter having a plurality of propellers is provided with electric motors, at least one main battery, a generator, and an engine. The electric motors drive the propellers. The main battery is a first electric power source that supplies the electric power to the electric motors. The generator is a second electric power source that supplies the electric power to the electric motors. The engine drives the generator. When a remaining capacity of the main battery is less than a threshold, the generator charges the main battery with the electric power that has been converted from motive power from the engine.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 7, 2015
    Date of Patent: May 26, 2020
    Assignee: YANMAR CO., LTD.
    Inventor: Eiichi Ozaki
  • Patent number: 10661894
    Abstract: This disclosure is directed to an unmanned aerial vehicle (“UAV”) that transitions in-flight between vertical flight configuration and horizontal flight configuration by changing an orientation of the UAV by approximately ninety degrees. The UAV may include propulsion units that are coupled to a wing. The wing may include wing segments rotatably coupled together by pivots that rotate to position the propulsion units around a center of mass of the UAV when the fuselage is oriented perpendicular with the horizon. In this vertical flight configuration, the UAV may perform vertical flight or hover. During the vertical flight, the UAV may cause the wing to extend outward via the pivots such that the wing segments become positioned substantially parallel to one another and the wing resembles a conventional fixed wing. With the wing extended, the UAV assumes a horizontal flight configuration that provides upward lift generated from the wing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 12, 2019
    Date of Patent: May 26, 2020
    Assignee: Amazon Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Jack Erdozain, Jr., Berk Ozturk, Nicholas Hampel Roberts, Brian C. Beckman
  • Patent number: 10647404
    Abstract: To provide an unmanned aerial vehicle that is optimized for freight purposes and that efficiently performs loading and unloading of freight and efficiently performs airframe management. This object is solved by an unmanned aerial vehicle that includes a plurality of propellers. An airframe of the unmanned aerial vehicle includes: a body having a freight chamber that is a hollow portion and that is integral with the body; and a plurality of arms supporting each of the plurality of propellers. A combination of the one arm and the one propeller or plurality of propellers supported by the one arm constitute a retractable propeller. The retractable propeller is partially or entirely storable in the freight chamber.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 13, 2017
    Date of Patent: May 12, 2020
    Assignee: PRODRONE CO., LTD.
    Inventors: Kiyokazu Sugaki, Kazuo Ichihara
  • Patent number: 10625857
    Abstract: Vehicles such as unmanned air vehicles that are capable of movement from an open, flight configuration to an enclosed configuration in which all major flight components can be protected by an outer shell are disclosed. In the enclosed configuration, the vehicles can take on standard geometric shapes such as a rectangular prism, sphere, cylinder, or another shape, so as to not be recognizable as an unmanned air vehicle. Embodiments of vehicles can also include interchangeable and/or wireless motor arms, motor arms which are electrically connected to the remainder of the vehicle only when in an open configuration, remote controllers removably attached to the remainder of the vehicle, and clip or other attachment mechanisms for attachment to objects such as backpacks.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 7, 2019
    Date of Patent: April 21, 2020
    Assignee: GoPro, Inc.
    Inventor: Ryan Michael Goldstein
  • Patent number: 10618649
    Abstract: This disclosure describes an aerial vehicle, such as an unmanned aerial vehicle (“UAV”), which includes a plurality of maneuverability propulsion mechanisms that enable the aerial vehicle to move in any of the six degrees of freedom (surge, sway, heave, pitch, yaw, and roll). The aerial vehicle may also include a lifting propulsion mechanism that operates to generate a force sufficient to maintain the aerial vehicle at an altitude.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 1, 2016
    Date of Patent: April 14, 2020
    Assignee: Amazon Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Robert Roy Champagne, Jr., Louis LeRoi LeGrand, III, Nicholas Hampel Roberts, Ricky Dean Welsh
  • Patent number: 10618647
    Abstract: A mission configurable aircraft operable to transition between thrust-borne lift in a VTOL orientation and wing-borne lift in a biplane orientation. The aircraft includes an airframe having first and second wings with first and second pylons extending therebetween. A two-dimensional distributed thrust array is attached to the airframe. The thrust array including a plurality of inboard propulsion assemblies coupled to first and second inboard nacelle stations of the first and second wings. The thrust array also includes a plurality of outboard propulsion assemblies coupled to first and second outboard nacelle stations of the first and second wings. A flight control system is operable to independently control each of the propulsion assemblies. A payload is coupled to the airframe. The inboard propulsion assemblies have a thrust type that is different from the thrust type of the outboard propulsion assemblies.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 8, 2018
    Date of Patent: April 14, 2020
    Assignee: Textron Innovations Inc.
    Inventors: John Richard McCullough, Paul K. Oldroyd
  • Patent number: 10597144
    Abstract: During flight of a jet aircraft the essential steering movements, such as roll, pitch and yaw maneuvers, are normally performed via control surfaces on its wings and its tail sections. This invention allows for swiveling of jet engines mounted under wings of the jet aircraft, to direct exhaust gases upward, downward or sideways to some limited extent to achieve more agile air maneuvers compared to traditional fixed under the wing-mounted jet engines. The idea of performing more agile air maneuvers is realized by swiveling and pivoting the jet engine under the wings of the jet aircraft about a pivot point mounted along an engine nacelle to enable highly efficient pitch and roll motions in flight, as well as making efficient and agile yaw type motion in flight by swiveling and pivoting the jet engines underneath the wings.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 1, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 24, 2020
    Inventor: Hadie Fotouhie
  • Patent number: 10543918
    Abstract: This disclosure describes a configuration of a multi-propeller aerial vehicle (MPAV). The components of the MPAV are designed for easy manufacture, assembly, configuration and replacement. Likewise, the configuration of the MPAV is designed for increased flight duration.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 8, 2017
    Date of Patent: January 28, 2020
    Assignee: Amazon Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Gur Kimchi, Fabian Thomas Hensel, Scott A. Green, Daniel Buchmueller
  • Patent number: 10532803
    Abstract: The present invention is a variable geometry aircraft that is capable of morphing its shape from a symmetric cross-section buoyant craft to an asymmetric lifting body and even to a symmetric zero lift configuration. The aircraft may include variable span, length, and camber. The variability of the structure and the flexible envelope allows the aircraft to adjust its aspect ratio along with the camber of the upper and/or lower surfaces to achieve varying shapes. This transformation changes both the lift and drag characteristics of the craft and may be accomplished while the craft is airborne.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 16, 2016
    Date of Patent: January 14, 2020
    Assignee: HYALTA AERONAUTICS, INC.
    Inventor: Scott R. Kempshall
  • Patent number: 10518875
    Abstract: An aircraft is provided, which comprises a support structure and at least four lift rotors. Each of the lift rotors is attached to the support structure and comprises at least one propeller. The lift rotors are constituted such that a rotational plane, in which the at least one propeller of the lift rotor rotates, is tilted with respect to a plane formed by the support structure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 25, 2016
    Date of Patent: December 31, 2019
    Assignee: AIRBUS DEFENCE AND SPACE GMBH
    Inventors: Michael Judas, Clemens Gerlach, Thomas Krauss, Berthold Karrais
  • Patent number: 10513341
    Abstract: A technique for controlling vertical propulsion units of an aerial vehicle includes determining whether an initial thrust command output vector results in a thrust command clipping of one of the vertical propulsion units. The vertical propulsion units are physically organized into propulsion rings including an inner ring and an outer ring. Torque associated with the initial thrust command output vector is transferred from each the vertical propulsion units in the outer ring to the vertical propulsion units in the inner ring when the thrust command clipping of one of the vertical propulsion units in the outer ring occurs. A revised thrust command output vector is determined after transferring the torque. The vertical propulsion units are driven according to the revised thrust command output vector.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 14, 2018
    Date of Patent: December 24, 2019
    Assignee: Wing Aviation LLC
    Inventors: Kevin Jenkins, Damien Jourdan
  • Patent number: 10435146
    Abstract: This disclosure describes a configuration of an unmanned aerial vehicle (“UAV”) that will facilitate extended flight duration. The UAV may have any number of lifting motors. For example, the UAV may include four lifting motors (also known as a quad-copter), eight lifting motors (also known as an octo-copter), etc. Likewise, to improve the efficiency of horizontal flight, the UAV also includes a pivot assembly that may rotate about an axis from a lifting position to a thrusting position. The pivot assembly may include two or more offset motors that generate a differential force that will cause the pivot assembly to rotate between the lifting position and the thrusting position without the need for any additional motors or gears.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 16, 2016
    Date of Patent: October 8, 2019
    Assignee: Amazon Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: Ricky Dean Welsh
  • Patent number: 10427783
    Abstract: To provide a multicopter that enables it to prevent generation of a vortex ring state of a rotor and control lift and thrust efficiently and elaborately. This is solved by a multicopter having a plurality of rotors installed radially to a frame, wherein at least one of the plurality of rotors is provided with a cylindrical duct surrounding and enclosing the rotor; and the duct is formed in a shape making an air flow from an air intake side to an air outlet side of the rotor imbalanced in a circumferential direction of the duct.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 25, 2016
    Date of Patent: October 1, 2019
    Assignee: PRODRONE CO., LTD.
    Inventors: Kazuo Ichihara, Kiyokazu Sugaki
  • Patent number: 10407168
    Abstract: Various embodiments include a drone having a landing control device that is configured to rotate wings into an auto-rotation decent configuration causing the drone to enter a nose-down attitude and spin about a long axis of the drone, and to collectively control pivot angles of the wings to enables control of decent rate and lateral motion during an auto-rotation descent. The landing control device may be a landing carousel including a pivotal frame secured to a drone body and configured to rotate about a carousel axis extending laterally relative to a longitudinal axis of the body. The landing carousel may include a first wing motor configured to pivot a first wing about a wing pivot axis extending parallel to the carousel axis, and a second wing motor configured to pivot a second wing about the wing pivot axis independent of the pivot the first wing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 7, 2017
    Date of Patent: September 10, 2019
    Assignee: QUALCOMM Incorporated
    Inventors: Donald Bolden Hutson, Charles Wheeler Sweet, III, Paul Ferrell
  • Patent number: 10392107
    Abstract: An aerial vehicle includes: a main body; two main wings arranged to the main body; two main wing tilting control units coupled to the main wings to control the main wings to tilt independently; two main propulsion units arranged to the main wings; tail wings arranged to a rear side of the main body; a rudder arranged to the tail wing; a rudder tilting control unit to control the rudder to tilt; a tail propulsion unit arranged to the rear side of the main body; a tail tilting control unit to control the tail propulsion unit to tilt; a power unit to provide power to the main and tail propulsion units; and a position control unit to control the main wing tilting control units, the main propulsion units, the rudder tilting control unit, the tail propulsion unit, the tail tilting control unit to adjust position of the aerial vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 22, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 27, 2019
    Assignee: Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
    Inventors: Dongsoo Har, Sang Min Lee
  • Patent number: 10377483
    Abstract: This disclosure describes an aerial vehicle, such as an unmanned aerial vehicle (“UAV”), which includes a plurality of maneuverability propulsion mechanisms that enable the aerial vehicle to move in any of the six degrees of freedom (surge, sway, heave, pitch, yaw, and roll). The aerial vehicle may also include a lifting propulsion mechanism that operates to generate a force sufficient to maintain the aerial vehicle at an altitude.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 20, 2016
    Date of Patent: August 13, 2019
    Assignee: Amazon Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Robert Roy Champagne, Jr., Gur Kimchi, Louis LeRoi LeGrand, III, Nicholas Hampel Roberts, Ricky Dean Welsh
  • Patent number: 10377482
    Abstract: A manned/unmanned aerial vehicle adapted for vertical takeoff and landing using the same set of engines for takeoff and landing as well as for forward flight. An aerial vehicle which is adapted to takeoff with the wings in a vertical as opposed to horizontal flight attitude which takes off in this vertical attitude and then transitions to a horizontal flight path. An aerial vehicle system which has removable wing sections which allow for re-configuration with different wing section types, allowing for configurations adapted for a particular flight profile. A method of customizing a configuration of an unmanned aerial vehicle based upon flight profile factors such as duration, stability, and maneuverability.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 1, 2016
    Date of Patent: August 13, 2019
    Assignee: Transition Robotics, Inc.
    Inventors: Jeffrey Kyle Gibboney, Pranay Sinha
  • Patent number: 10370095
    Abstract: Systems, devices, and methods for an aircraft having a fuselage (110); a wing (120) extending from both sides of the fuselage; a first pair of motors (132b, 133b) disposed at a first end of the wing; and a second pair of motors (142b, 143b) disposed at a second end of the wing; where each motor is angled (381, 382, 391, 392) to provide a component of thrust by a propeller (134, 135, 144, 145) attached thereto that for a desired aircraft movement applies a resulting torque additive to the resulting torque created by rotating the propellers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 2, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 6, 2019
    Assignee: AEROVIRONMENT, INC.
    Inventors: Henry Thome Won, Quentin Lindsey
  • Patent number: 10364029
    Abstract: A drone for spraying liquid over field crop includes: a frame with a slender rigid beam in the middle and two base structures at the two ends, a rigid tube with an array of nozzles on elongated stems and the rigid tube is suspended below the beam structure with retractable wires, at least three propellers on motors with arms that are rotatably mounted to each of the two base structures of the frame, a power source, at least one distance detector for measuring height, an antenna for communication, an electronic control system to operate motors and sensors, a container for a liquid material and electronic valve to allow liquid in the container to be transferred and sprayed from the nozzles, and a remote controller. The drone is intended to spray liquid over a wide strip of the field with high efficiency, precision, and safety and reduced drift of sprays.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 8, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 30, 2019
    Inventor: Yongbiao Liu
  • Patent number: 10343774
    Abstract: An aircraft with four rotors, a fixed wing, and an adjustable v-tail to allow for both vertical take-off and landing and the capability to fly in straight and level flight. The angle of each rotor and engine, with respect to the airfoil surfaces to which they are attached, is adjustable, allowing for thrust to be directed either downwards, allowing the craft to hover, or backwards, allowing the aircraft to travel horizontally while lift is provided and controlled by the wing and v-tail.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 14, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 9, 2019
    Inventor: Jeremy Duque
  • Patent number: 10338606
    Abstract: A method and apparatus provide for automatically controlling the flight of a tiltrotor aircraft while the aircraft is in flight that is at least partially rotor-borne. The method and apparatus provide for automatically tilting nacelles in response to a longitudinal-velocity control signal so as to produce a longitudinal thrust-vector component for controlling longitudinal velocity of the aircraft. Simultaneously, cyclic swashplate controls are automatically actuated so as to maintain the fuselage in a desired pitch attitude. The method and apparatus also provide for automatically actuating the cyclic swashplate controls for each rotor in response to a lateral-velocity control signal so as to produce a lateral thrust-vector component for controlling lateral velocity of the aircraft. Simultaneously, collective swashplate controls for each rotor are automatically actuated so as to maintain the fuselage in a desired roll attitude.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 22, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 2, 2019
    Assignee: Textron Innovations Inc.
    Inventor: Kenneth E. Builta
  • Patent number: 10322796
    Abstract: The present invention provides a multi-rotor flying object including: a body; a plurality of rotor units each including a propeller and a power unit for driving the propeller; and a steering unit including a connection member connecting the plurality of rotor units to each other and an actuator installed on the body and activating the connection member to allow the plurality of rotor units to be simultaneously inclined at the same angle with respect to the body.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 22, 2014
    Date of Patent: June 18, 2019
    Inventor: Sang-Hyun Lee
  • Patent number: 10272995
    Abstract: An aerial vehicle includes at least one wing, a plurality of thrust producing elements on the at least one wing, a plurality of electric motors equal to the number of thrust producing elements for individually driving each of the thrust producing elements, at least one battery for providing power to the motors, and a flight control system to control the operation of the vehicle. The aerial vehicle may include a fuselage configuration to facilitate takeoffs and landings in horizontal, vertical and transient orientations, redundant control and thrust elements to improve reliability and means of controlling the orientation stability of the vehicle in low power and multiple loss of propulsion system situations. Method of flying an aerial vehicle includes the variation of the rotational speed of the thrust producing elements to achieve active vehicle control.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 3, 2016
    Date of Patent: April 30, 2019
    Assignee: SkyKar Inc.
    Inventor: Markus Leng
  • Patent number: 10259577
    Abstract: A flight control apparatus for fixed-wing aircraft includes a first port wing and first starboard wing, a first port swash plate coupled between a first port rotor and first port electric motor, the first port electric motor coupled to the first port wing, and a first starboard swash plate coupled between a first starboard rotor and first starboard electric motor, the first starboard electric motor coupled to the first starboard wing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 8, 2018
    Date of Patent: April 16, 2019
    Assignee: AEROVIRONMENT, INC.
    Inventors: Dana J. Taylor, Phillip T. Tokumaru, Bart Dean Hibbs, William Martin Parks, David Wayne Ganzer, Joseph Frederick King
  • Patent number: 10259579
    Abstract: Vehicles such as unmanned air vehicles that are capable of movement from an open, flight configuration to an enclosed configuration in which all major flight components can be protected by an outer shell are disclosed. In the enclosed configuration, the vehicles can take on standard geometric shapes such as a rectangular prism, sphere, cylinder, or another shape, so as to not be recognizable as an unmanned air vehicle. Embodiments of vehicles can also include interchangeable and/or wireless motor arms, motor arms which are electrically connected to the remainder of the vehicle only when in an open configuration, remote controllers removably attached to the remainder of the vehicle, and clip or other attachment mechanisms for attachment to objects such as backpacks.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 21, 2018
    Date of Patent: April 16, 2019
    Assignee: GoPro, Inc.
    Inventor: Ryan Michael Goldstein
  • Patent number: 10220944
    Abstract: In some embodiment, an aircraft includes an airframe, a propulsion system attached to the airframe and a flight control system operably associated with the propulsion system. A pod assembly is selectively attachable to the flying frame. The flying frame has a vertical takeoff and landing mode and a forward flight mode. The flying frame has a manned flight mode and an unmanned flight mode.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 1, 2016
    Date of Patent: March 5, 2019
    Assignee: Bell Helicopter Textron Inc.
    Inventors: John Richard McCullough, Paul K. Oldroyd
  • Patent number: 10173771
    Abstract: A pylon assembly for a tiltrotor aircraft includes a fixed pylon having an outboard end. A rotor assembly is rotatably coupled to the fixed pylon and is operable to rotate between a a vertical takeoff and landing orientation and a forward flight orientation. The rotor assembly includes a proprotor operable to produce a slipstream. A wing extension is rotatably coupled to the outboard end of the fixed pylon. The wing extension is operable to rotate generally with the rotor assembly such that a minimal dimension of the wing extension remains in the slipstream of the proprotor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 26, 2018
    Date of Patent: January 8, 2019
    Assignee: Bell Helicopter Textron Inc.
    Inventors: Steven Ray Ivans, Nathan Gabriel Wu
  • Patent number: 10144509
    Abstract: The present disclosure relates to a high performance Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) aircraft for executing hovering flight, forward flight, and transitioning between the two in a stable and efficient manner. The VTOL aircraft provides a highly stable, controllable and efficient VTOL aircraft. The preferred comprises: (1) a pusher propeller configuration with strategic placement which maximizes the effective use of thrust, (2) four propellers which allow for the highly-controllable and mechanically simple control methods used in multirotor aircraft, (3) electric motors which create mechanically simple, lightweight and reliable operation, (4) and a tandem wing configuration which is stable, controllable and efficient in both hovering and forward flight. The VTOL aircraft is capable of full runway, short runway or vertical takeoffs or landings, having unobstructed forward view for camera and sensor placement; and providing a compact, mechanically simple and low-maintenance VTOL aircraft design.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 3, 2015
    Date of Patent: December 4, 2018
    Inventor: Juan Gabriel Cruz Ayoroa
  • Patent number: 10099784
    Abstract: An improved frame is disclosed for a rotary wing aircraft comprising a power frame having a power frame lower element and a power frame upper element. A curved beam extends between a first and a second end and having a lower and an upper edge. A coupling secures the lower and an upper edge of the curved beam to the power frame lower element and the power frame upper element for stabilizing the power frame to reduce flexing and vibration of the power frame.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 10, 2015
    Date of Patent: October 16, 2018
    Assignee: FPV Manuals LLC
    Inventors: Tim Nilson, Frank Dankbaar
  • Patent number: 10078329
    Abstract: The present disclosure describes flight training systems and methods for radio-controlled (RC) airplanes that rely on inertial attitude estimates. Preferred embodiments include an RC airplane with one or more control processors configured to (i) estimate an inertial attitude of the RC airplane based on one or more measurements from an attitude sensor array and (ii) control the inertial attitude of the RC airplane based the inertial attitude estimate. In operation, controlling the attitude of the RC airplane may include both controlling the RC airplane to a specific inertial attitude and/or keeping the inertial attitude of the RC airplane within a predefined flight envelope.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 31, 2017
    Date of Patent: September 18, 2018
    Assignee: Horizon Hobby, LLC
    Inventors: Joseph Burch, David Ribbe
  • Patent number: 10035589
    Abstract: A foldable drone is provided to improve the portability of the drone, which includes a drone body and a rotary wing part connected to the drone body. The rotary wing part includes a first rotary wing module and a second rotary wing module with each having at least one rotary wing, and the first rotary wing module and the second rotary wing module are respectively articulated to two sides of the drone body, to allow the first rotary wing module and the second rotary wing module to rotate about their respective articulating shafts, so as to be folded or unfolded.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 29, 2015
    Date of Patent: July 31, 2018
    Assignee: Beijing Zero Zero Infinity Technology Co., Ltd
    Inventors: Tong Zhang, Mengqiu Wang, Zhaozhe Wang, Xuyang Zhang, Guanqun Zhang, Shuang Gong, Yalin Zhang, Jinglong Wang, Lixin Liu
  • Patent number: 10011354
    Abstract: Vehicles such as unmanned air vehicles that are capable of movement from an open, flight configuration to an enclosed configuration in which all major flight components can be protected by an outer shell are disclosed. In the enclosed configuration, the vehicles can take on standard geometric shapes such as a rectangular prism, sphere, cylinder, or another shape, so as to not be recognizable as an unmanned air vehicle. Embodiments of vehicles can also include interchangeable and/or wireless motor arms, motor arms which are electrically connected to the remainder of the vehicle only when in an open configuration, remote controllers removably attached to the remainder of the vehicle, and clip or other attachment mechanisms for attachment to objects such as backpacks.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 17, 2015
    Date of Patent: July 3, 2018
    Assignee: GoPro, Inc.
    Inventor: Ryan Michael Goldstein
  • Patent number: 10011350
    Abstract: A system for a tail-sitter aircraft includes a fuselage having one or more propellers, a wing structure coupled to the fuselage, and a drag rudder assembly coupled to the wing structure, the drag rudder assembly including a first planar member that is coupled to a second planar member. The drag rudder assembly is configured to produce a stabilizing force on the wing structure during higher speeds of the aircraft in tandem rotor flight.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 20, 2015
    Date of Patent: July 3, 2018
    Assignee: SIKORSKY AIRCRAFT CORPORATION
    Inventors: Mark W. Scott, Igor Cherepinsky
  • Patent number: 10011349
    Abstract: A pylon assembly for a tiltrotor aircraft includes a fixed pylon having an outboard end. A rotor assembly is rotatably coupled to the fixed pylon and is operable to rotate between a generally vertical orientation in a vertical takeoff and landing mode and a generally horizontal orientation in a forward flight mode. The rotor assembly includes a proprotor operable to produce a generally vertical slipstream in the vertical takeoff and landing mode and a generally horizontal slipstream in the forward flight mode. A wing extension is rotatably coupled to the outboard end of the fixed pylon. The wing extension is operable to rotate generally with the rotor assembly such that a minimal dimension of the wing extension remains in the slipstream of the proprotor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 31, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 3, 2018
    Assignee: Bell Helicopter Textron Inc.
    Inventors: Steven Ray Ivans, Nathan Gabriel Wu
  • Patent number: 9994312
    Abstract: A vertical take-off and landing aircraft includes a propulsion mechanism that generates lift and thrust, a main frame that supports seating and a landing undercarriage, a sub-frame which supports the propulsion mechanism and is arranged so as to be swingable back and forth relative to the main frame, a motive power supply unit supported by the main frame and supplying motive power to the propulsion mechanism, a control stick connected to the sub-frame, and a main wing arranged on the propulsion mechanism, wherein the main wing is formed to be retracted to a position not interfering with an air flow of the propulsion mechanism in a normal time and to be movable to a position where lift is generated when thrust is lost. Gliding is made possible even if thrust is lost while increasing in size of a fuselage is avoided.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 19, 2015
    Date of Patent: June 12, 2018
    Assignee: IHI CORPORATION
    Inventors: Masayoshi Tsunekawa, Tetsuya Tamura
  • Patent number: 9988147
    Abstract: A flight control apparatus for fixed-wing aircraft includes a first port wing and first starboard wing, a first port swash plate coupled between a first port rotor and first port electric motor, the first port electric motor coupled to the first port wing, and a first starboard swash plate coupled between a first starboard rotor and first starboard electric motor, the first starboard electric motor coupled to the first starboard wing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 30, 2017
    Date of Patent: June 5, 2018
    Assignee: AEROVIRONMENT, INC.
    Inventors: Dana J. Taylor, Phillip T. Tokumaru, Bart Dean Hibbs, William Martin Parks, David Wayne Ganzer, Joseph Frederick King
  • Patent number: 9988145
    Abstract: Disclosed is a supporting assembly and an unmanned aerial vehicle using the same, the supporting assembly includes a first base, a second base, a plurality of arms, and a damping element disposed between the first base and the second base. The second base is disposed on the first base. Each of the plurality of arms includes a proximal end and a distal end opposite to the proximal end, the proximal end is secured to the first base, and the distal end is configured for mounting a vibration source.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 2016
    Date of Patent: June 5, 2018
    Assignee: ZEROTECH (SHENZHEN) INTELLIGENCE ROBOT CO., LTD.
    Inventor: Wei-Yong Yu
  • Patent number: 9963227
    Abstract: There is provided a vertical take-off and landing aircraft including: a propulsion mechanism for generating lift and thrust; a power supply unit (e.g. an engine as a power source) for supplying power to the propulsion mechanism; a main frame for supporting the engine, a seat, and a landing undercarriage; a sub-frame for supporting the propulsion mechanism; a frame coupling unit for rotatably coupling the main frame and the sub-frame; and a control stick connected to the sub-frame, so that an occupant sitting on a seat operates a control stick thereby to move the sub-frame relative to the main frame so as to change the orientation of the propulsion mechanism.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 12, 2013
    Date of Patent: May 8, 2018
    Assignee: IHI Corporation
    Inventors: Masayoshi Tsunekawa, Tetsuya Tamura
  • Patent number: 9950789
    Abstract: A vertical take-off and landing aircraft including a propulsion mechanism that generates lift and thrust, a main frame that supports seating and a landing undercarriage, a subframe which supports the propulsion mechanism and which is arranged so as to be swingable back and forth relative to the main frame, motive power supply means supported by the main frame and supplying motive power to the propulsion mechanism, and a control stick connected to the subframe in which the propulsion mechanism includes a pair of ducted fans arranged on a left side and a right side, respectively, of the main frame, swing shafts arranged in the ducted fans, and extending in a horizontal direction, and control vanes connected to the swing shafts, and swinging the control vane enables the subframe to move relative to the main frame. Maneuverability can be improved with addition of control mechanisms restrained.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 26, 2015
    Date of Patent: April 24, 2018
    Assignee: IHI CORPORATION
    Inventors: Masayoshi Tsunekawa, Tetsuya Tamura