Airship Hull Construction Patents (Class 244/125)
  • Patent number: 10486789
    Abstract: A fuselage structure includes a pressure bulkhead and a frame being arranged behind the pressure bulkhead. The fuselage structure includes a first beam element with a first cantilever and a second cantilever, while the first beam element extends in a vertical direction of the fuselage structure. The first cantilever and the second cantilever protrude from the first beam element in a first direction toward the frame. The first direction of both cantilevers is inclined at a first angle with respect to a longitudinal direction of the fuselage structure. An aircraft with a fuselage structure and a method for manufacturing a fuselage structure are also described.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 7, 2016
    Date of Patent: November 26, 2019
    Assignee: Airbus Operations GmbH
    Inventors: Wolfgang Eilken, Memis Tiryaki, Anton Arosenko
  • Patent number: 10095242
    Abstract: Various embodiments include methods for operating a photovoltaic-powered drone having a photovoltaic surface on one side of at least one of wing or fuselage body of the drone. The method may include determining a flight attitude for the drone based on a first drone attitude for optimizing light energy harvesting by the photovoltaic surface and a second drone attitude for minimizing power expenditure by an onboard propulsion system of the drone to reach a designated destination. The method may include flying the drone in the determined flight attitude while converting light into electricity en route to the designated destination.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 5, 2017
    Date of Patent: October 9, 2018
    Assignee: QUALCOMM Incorporated
    Inventor: William Henry Von Novak
  • Patent number: 10008978
    Abstract: A solar radiation redirection device includes an untethered balloon or balloon-like structure defining an inside volume. The balloon or balloon-like structure has a substantially transparent portion and a substantially reflective portion, wherein the substantially reflective portion is substantially parabolic in shape. The balloon or balloon-like structure also includes a secondary reflector located adjacent to the substantially transparent portion within the inside volume of the balloon or balloon-like structure. The substantially reflective portion is configured to receive solar radiation from an external source through the substantially transparent portion and concentrate the received solar radiation onto the secondary reflector. The secondary reflector is configured to direct the concentrated solar radiation towards a target, the target being external from the balloon or balloon-like structure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 8, 2016
    Date of Patent: June 26, 2018
    Inventor: John Matthew Nicklas
  • Patent number: 9896201
    Abstract: An airborne tethered flight system including a base unit, a tether having a first end attached to the base unit and a second end attached to a kite, wherein the kite comprises a main wing, a tail wing, and a tail boom attached to said main wing on a first end, said tail boom coupled to said tail wing on a second end, a plurality of vertical pylons attached to the main wing, said pylons comprising vertical airfoils adapted to provide lift, turbine driven generators mounted on the vertical airfoils attached to the main wing, and an additional vertical airfoil extending between the tail boom and tail wing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 29, 2014
    Date of Patent: February 20, 2018
    Assignee: X Development LLC
    Inventor: Damon Vander Lind
  • Patent number: 9845141
    Abstract: A balloon system includes a balloon having a balloon membrane extending between an upper apex and a lower apex opening. The lower apex opening extends through the balloon membrane at a balloon lip. A ballonet is within the balloon. The ballonet is coupled with the balloon membrane at the lower apex opening. The ballonet includes a lower ballonet panel having a lower perimeter edge and a ballonet orifice extending through the lower ballonet panel at a ballonet lip and an upper ballonet panel having an upper perimeter edge. The upper and lower ballonet panels are coupled along the respective upper and lower perimeter edges. A lower apex fitting couples the ballonet with the balloon at the balloon lip of the lower apex opening.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 4, 2016
    Date of Patent: December 19, 2017
    Assignee: Raven Industries, Inc.
    Inventors: Kurt L. Sehnert, Edward Lee Rainwater, Michael S. Smith, Randy E. Scott, Justin Lee Marsh, Mark L. West
  • Patent number: 9694894
    Abstract: An aerial vehicle comprises an elongate envelope within which are at least one first compartment for holding a lighter than air gas and at least one second compartment for holding atmospheric air and said at least one second compartment having an inlet and an outlet and at least one pair of wings extending laterally from the envelope; said wings being planar units with a leading and trailing edge, the width of the wings from their leading edges to their trailing edges being substantially less than the length of the envelope with airfoil portions fitted between the leading and trailing edges of the wing: the top and bottom of the wings are mirror images of one another; in which forward motion of the vehicle is obtainable without trust through alternate diving and climbing motion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 7, 2014
    Date of Patent: July 4, 2017
    Assignee: Athene Works Limited
    Inventor: Nicholas James Deakin
  • Patent number: 9550558
    Abstract: This disclosure relates to the use of an optimal altitude controller for super pressure aerostatic balloon in connection with a balloon network. The aerostatic balloon includes a bladder containing a gas that is lighter than the air present in the environment of the balloon. Additionally, the aerostatic balloon includes an envelope filled with air. A mass-changing unit configured to selectively add or remove air may control the amount of air in the envelope. Further, the balloon has a communication module configured to transmit data relating to a current balloon state, and receives data relating to a desired balloon state. Additionally, the balloon includes a processor configured to control the mass-changing unit based on the desired balloon state. The mass-changing unit of the aerostatic balloon may be powered by a renewable energy source, such as solar power. The mass-changing unit adds or removes air with an impeller.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 1, 2016
    Date of Patent: January 24, 2017
    Assignee: X Development LLC
    Inventors: Johan Mathe, C. O. Lee Boyce, Jr., Keith Allen Bonawitz
  • Patent number: 9302758
    Abstract: A super-rigid hybrid airship having a modular structure with a central tube having a diameter of between 5 to 10% of the diameter of the airship, structural rings surrounding and preferably concentric with the central tube and connected to the tube by bolts; an external cover made from thin metal sheets, interspersed with composite resins and fibbers which is pressurized and pre-stressed by light gases and which is rigid, conductive, non-combustible and impermeable to gases; balloons filed with hydrogen and disposed in structural sections defined by neighboring structural rings; at least two interconnected cuffs inflated by atmospheric air serving as operational ballast and ensuring weight, pressure and volume balance of the airship. Preferably the airship has a blower system for dispersing air, arranged on the centerline of the top layer, wings arranged at each side of the fixed sections, and thrust means.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 3, 2011
    Date of Patent: April 5, 2016
    Inventor: Hans Georg Kraus
  • Patent number: 9102391
    Abstract: A system for efficiently transporting hydrogen from where it can be economically made to where it is most needed including an airship having an exoskeleton made up of equal length spokes and equal sized hubs with six spokes terminating at each hub forming a set of hexagons. This set of connected hexagons forms the 3-dimensional shape of the ship by allowing various spokes to flex to different radii. A skin is attached external to the exoskeleton.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 3, 2013
    Date of Patent: August 11, 2015
    Inventor: Rinaldo Brutoco
  • Patent number: 8905353
    Abstract: An airship comprises a shell having a bi-convex shape, wherein the shell encompasses a volume, and a gas storage system located within the volume.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 2, 2008
    Date of Patent: December 9, 2014
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: Blaine Knight Rawdon, Christopher K. Droney, John Charles Vassberg
  • Patent number: 8833696
    Abstract: A balloon is provided having an envelope, and a payload positioned beneath the envelope, wherein the envelope has an exterior shape adapted for directing sunlight towards the payload. The balloon may further include a control system configured to cause the balloon or payload to rotate to cause a first portion of the balloon envelope or a first portion of the payload to be positioned facing the sun. The first portion of the balloon envelope may be asymmetrical with respect to a second portion of the balloon envelope, with the first portion angled to direct sunlight towards the payload. The balloon envelope may include a transmissive or translucent surface adapted to direct sunlight towards a lower portion of the envelope, which in turn is adapted to direct sunlight onto the payload. The balloon may also be lens-shaped to focus sunlight onto the payload.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 28, 2012
    Date of Patent: September 16, 2014
    Assignee: Google Inc.
    Inventors: Eric Teller, Richard Wayne DeVaul, Joshua Weaver, Clifford Biffle
  • Publication number: 20140158817
    Abstract: A rigid airship comprising a hull comprising a rigid frame covered by a skin, the rigid frame comprising a plurality of high pressure inflated tubes.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 31, 2012
    Publication date: June 12, 2014
    Inventor: TP AEROSPACE, INC.
  • Publication number: 20140124625
    Abstract: A system for efficiently transporting hydrogen from where it can be economically made to where it is most needed using specially designed airships. The specially designed airship having an exoskeleton made up of equal length spokes and equal sized hubs with six spokes terminating at each hub forming a set of hexagons. This set of connected hexagons forms the 3-dimensional shape of the ship by allowing various spokes to flex to different radii. A skin is attached external to said exoskeleton.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 3, 2013
    Publication date: May 8, 2014
    Inventor: Rinaldo Brutoco
  • Patent number: 8622337
    Abstract: An airship for facilitating transportation to and from one or more locations which are difficult to access or operate such as high above the ground level is disclosed. The airship can also be used in surface missions, The airship includes a cabin and a platform. The cabin is configured on a top portion of the airship. The platform is operatively connected to the cabin. The platform facilitates easy access to the cabin.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 21, 2011
    Date of Patent: January 7, 2014
    Assignee: King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology
    Inventor: Mohammed Hariri
  • Publication number: 20130277496
    Abstract: A super-rigid hybrid airship having a modular structure with a central tube having a diameter of between 5 to 10% of the diameter of the airship, structural rings surrounding and preferably concentric with the central tube and connected to the tube by bolts; an external cover made from thin metal sheets, interspersed with composite resins and fibbers which is pressurized and pre-stressed by light gases and which is rigid, conductive, non-combustible and impermeable to gases; balloons filed with hydrogen and disposed in structural sections defined by neighboring structural rings; at least two interconnected cuffs inflated by atmospheric air serving as operational ballast and ensuring weight, pressure and volume balance of the airship. Preferably the airship has a blower system for dispersing air, arranged on the centerline of the top layer, wings arranged at each side of the fixed sections, and thrust means.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 3, 2011
    Publication date: October 24, 2013
    Inventor: Hans Georg Kraus
  • Patent number: 8544797
    Abstract: A system for controlling the lift of an airship for carrying a cargo and a supply of fuel has a self supporting hull made of a flexible gas impermeable material. Air which is located in the hull is at an internal pressure which is greater than the atmospheric pressure of the air on the outside of the hull, and a bag filled with helium is located within the hull and is surrounded by the air in the hull. A heating means is provided to heat both the air and the helium. The bag located within the hull and surrounded by the air in the hull has enough helium in it at ambient temperature to lift all but the cargo and fuel in the airship, and the air and helium, when heated, provides increased buoyancy due to the increase of expansion of both heated gases to lift the airship with its fuel and cargo.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 29, 2011
    Date of Patent: October 1, 2013
    Inventor: Dale Clifford Kramer
  • Patent number: 8333346
    Abstract: A single center elevator, circle inner-ring, circle outer-ring elevator, vertical fuselage flight, vertical plan multi-floor section, bottom escape cockpit, top escape cockpit, mass-levitate, ascend, descend flight, first, second, third, fourth section, control tower, bed, food service, lavatory, landing pad, winch machine, jet/rocket fuel tank, circle passage hole, rope anchor hook, earth terminal station, center-hanger, up nozzle, down nozzle, Jet/rocket power plants, inner-docking bays, outer docking bays, multi robotic arms, cone shaped circular, glue, cylindrical multi-soft envelopes, cylindrical thick outer wall envelope, ceramic fiber fabric, geometric form, web-mesh carbon wire, upper chute-flap, down chute flap, helium gas, float, circle center post pole, truss bridge, top circle truss, hover, anchors, parking zone, V-shaped circle, laser, floor gate, test-gauge, repair/inspection, guy-wires, heavy grade mesh-ceramic fiber, launch/docking platforms, light grade web-mesh ceramic fiber, cargo-transport
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 18, 2009
    Date of Patent: December 18, 2012
    Inventor: Sunstar Im
  • Patent number: 8277938
    Abstract: A part of composite material having a wedge between two zones, the second zone being shorter than the first zone, whose structure includes from its outer surface to its inner surface: a first section formed from at least two continuous sheets extending parallel to its outer surface, the gradient of the wedge being between 20% and 50%; a wedge in the shape of a triangular prism with its larger surface dimensioned in such a way that it forms a wedge having a gradient of less than 20%; a second section formed by a plurality of continuous sheets extending parallel to the surface bounded by the first section with the wedge placed upon it. The invention also relates to a process for manufacture of the part.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 4, 2009
    Date of Patent: October 2, 2012
    Assignee: Airbus Operations S.L.
    Inventors: Vicente Martinez Valdegrama, Jose Luis Lozano Garcia, Jose Orencio Granado Macarrilla
  • Patent number: 8152093
    Abstract: Various laminate structures and methods of making laminate structures are provided. In one embodiment, a laminate structure includes a base layer, a metallized layer comprising an electronic/embedded device which is adhered to the base layer. A coating layer which is adhered to the conductive layer, and a non-metallic dichroic layer adhered to the coating layer. In another embodiment, the non-metallic dichroic layer directly contacts the electronic/embedded devices of the conductive layer. The laminate structures herein can be used in the hull of the air vehicles to communicate with satellites and ground based receiving stations, for example. The electronic/embedded devices of the laminate structures provide a low weight solution to transmitting and receiving data within an air vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 18, 2008
    Date of Patent: April 10, 2012
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventors: Paul E. Liggett, Thomas M. Whiteleather
  • Patent number: 8097108
    Abstract: A laminate is provided for forming an aesthetically pleasing fire worthy exterior surface on an object, for example a decorative interior sidewall used in a commercial aircraft. A first film layer forms an exterior surface of the sidewall, and an ink layer is disposed adjacent to the first film layer to provide color and/or images in an aesthetically pleasing manor, and to protect the subsequent layer from damaging UV light exposure. An embossing resin layer is disposed adjacent to the ink layer to improve the fire worthiness of the laminate by being situated adjacent to the exterior surface of the laminate. A second film layer is disposed adjacent to the embossing resin layer and a surface of the sidewall. The location of the embossing resin layer enhances the fire worthiness of the laminate by operating to absorb thermal energy released by the sidewall in the event the sidewall is exposed to fire or to a high temperature sufficient to otherwise cause higher thermal energy release of a conventional laminate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 1, 2005
    Date of Patent: January 17, 2012
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: J. Christopher Wilde, Brian J. Wimer, Kris E. Langkow
  • Patent number: 8052082
    Abstract: An optimized lighter-than-air vehicle or airship incorporating a frame 104, internal propulsion 124, perforated covering 102 and lifting-gas cells 110 is disclosed. Optimization features include variations on a Stratford Ramp, means to control the boundary layer 210, absence of unnecessary protuberances and means to reduce the bow wave. A transportable version utilizing a flexible frame 310 and keels 314 is also disclosed along with a means for rapid descent and landing. The operating concept reduces velocity requirements which, in turn, reduce weight and size requirements.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 15, 2006
    Date of Patent: November 8, 2011
    Inventor: Edward Charles Herlik
  • Patent number: 7841561
    Abstract: A system and method for internally supporting a flexible envelope such as an airship is described, comprising a truss structure and supporting struts attached to a central support member. The internal structure may be foldable so as to allow the envelope to be collapsed when not in use.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 18, 2006
    Date of Patent: November 30, 2010
    Inventor: Daniel Nachbar
  • Patent number: 7703719
    Abstract: A rifle scope system allows adjustment of the scope while a shooter maintains the shooting posture and the scope sight picture. The scope system comprises an adjustment system comprising an electromechanical mechanism that responds to a signal from a remote controller manipulated by the shooter without having to significantly disturb the shooting posture. The adjustment system allows the shooter to adjust the scope's point of aim to coincide with a bullet's point of impact at a target. Such adjustment can be performed either by the shooter. Alternatively, such adjustment could be performed by a processor configured to adjust the point of aim based on a ballistic parameter associated with the bullet or the shooting environment. The adjustment system allows such processor-determined adjustments to be effected in a quick manner.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 28, 2008
    Date of Patent: April 27, 2010
    Inventors: John Curtis Bell, Kendall Seidel
  • Patent number: 7490794
    Abstract: An airship including a hull having a lenticular shape and a fairing attached to the hull to act as a stall strip and reduce the lift generated by the hull. The hull is symmetrical along a central horizontal plane and the fairing may be positioned along the central horizontal plane. The fairing may have a triangular shape, a semi-circular shape or any other shape capable of disrupting the flow of air over the hull.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 21, 2005
    Date of Patent: February 17, 2009
    Assignee: LTAS Holdings, LLC
    Inventor: George H. Heaven, Jr.
  • Patent number: 7275714
    Abstract: A system and method for docking an airship to a mooring mast includes a thruster that is mounted to the fore end of the airship. When activated, the thruster generates a thrust vector that is substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the airship and is selectively directional. In particular, the configuration of the thruster can be changed to vary the direction of the thrust vector around the longitudinal axis to maneuver a connector on the thruster into contact with the mooring mast. Engagement of the connector to the mooring mast then docks the airship to the mooring mast.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 1, 2005
    Date of Patent: October 2, 2007
    Assignee: Information Systems Laboratories, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael McNabb, Callum R. Sullivan, James H. Boschma, Jr., Glenn Martin Tierney
  • Patent number: 7261255
    Abstract: The present invention provides a solar-powered transformable airship, on which solar cell panels are installed all over to maximize the amount of solar energy collected. Moreover, the airship according to the present invention has a main body of variable volume, suitable for any altitude, ranging from the ground to 30 kilometers high, providing very good economic potential.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 9, 2006
    Date of Patent: August 28, 2007
    Inventor: Hiu Yeung Li
  • Patent number: 7156342
    Abstract: Various embodiments of the invention relate generally to systems for providing active vertical control of an airship. More particularly, at least one embodiment of the invention relates to a system for actively controlling the aerostatic lift of an airship by manipulating the ratio of air to lifting gas contained within the airship, and thus the overall mass of the airship. This manipulation is accomplished by actively compressing and/or decompressing the lifting gas or internal air, with the resulting pressure differential borne primarily by the hull and/or an internal pressure tank depending upon the configuration.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 27, 2004
    Date of Patent: January 2, 2007
    Assignee: LTAS Holdings, LLC
    Inventors: George H. Heaven, Jr., Michael K. Walden
  • Patent number: 7147184
    Abstract: An aerodynamic fairing system for an airship having a substantially spherical balloon portion includes an inflatable fairing that is attachable to the balloon portion, and a fairing actuation mechanism that selectively inflates and deploys the fairing after lift-off, and deflates and retracts the fairing before landing. The actuation mechanism includes an inflation/deflation mechanism and a deployment/retraction mechanism that cooperate to deploy and inflate the fairing, and to deflate and retract the fairing. The fairing includes a substantially conical, inflatable tail section tapering from a wide forward end to a narrow aft end, and a collapsible annular collar connecting the forward end of the tail section to the balloon portion. The inflation/deflation mechanism includes a fan system in the tail section, and the deployment/retraction mechanism includes a plurality of cables attached between the tail section and a plurality of winches mounted on the balloon portion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 1, 2005
    Date of Patent: December 12, 2006
    Assignee: Sierra Nevada Corporation
    Inventor: John Whitefield Meade Purvis, IV
  • Patent number: 7073749
    Abstract: An airship deployment system comprises an airship of unique shape having laminar flow over this shape to enable low power propulsion, capable remote control, comprising an inflatable body; a propeller assembly for station keeping and repositioning said airship and capable of being folded into a compacted position and unfolded into an operational position; and a payload, comprising gas for inflating said inflatable body; and means for transferring data between said airship and a remote location; and a missile for carrying said airship in a compacted state to a predetermined location and altitude, and releasing said airship at said predetermined location and altitude. When said airship is released from said missile said inflatable body is inflated and said propeller assembly is unfolded into said operational position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 16, 2004
    Date of Patent: July 11, 2006
    Assignee: The Johns Hopkins University
    Inventors: Jerry A. Krill, Michael W. Roth, Frederick W. Riedel, Matthew R. Feinstein, William T. Mason, III, Margaret Ann Darrin, Rafal P. Szczepanowski, Vincent F. Neradka
  • Patent number: 6986929
    Abstract: A structural panel comprised of a composite preform having an electrically conductive stitching. The stitching forms an electrically conductive grid-like network on the structural panel to better dissipate electrical energy received in a lightning strike throughout at least a portion of the thickness of the composite preform. Advantageously, the electrically conductive stitching is applied to the composite preform during the primary manufacturing process, rather than in a subsequent manufacturing step, to thereby help reduce the overall manufacturing cost of the structural panel. In one alternative embodiment a non-conductive polymer stitching is also applied throughout the entire thickness of the composite preform.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 14, 2003
    Date of Patent: January 17, 2006
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventor: Thomas Karl Tsotsis
  • Patent number: 6964723
    Abstract: A method for applying pressure to the area of a composite part masked by a secondary feature comprises the steps of positioning a pressure augmentation strip in contact with the masked area, securing a pressure transfer wedge on each of two sides of the secondary feature, such that pressure is transferred to the pressure augmentation strip during co-curing/co-bonding, and co-curing/co-bonding the composite part and the secondary feature. When the area between the composite part and the secondary feature is fairly large, the method can comprise the further steps of positioning a sine wave spring between the pressure augmentation strip and the secondary feature, injecting a structural paste adhesive into the voids around the sine wave spring, and curing the structural paste.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 4, 2002
    Date of Patent: November 15, 2005
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: William E. Lindsay, John R. Peeler
  • Patent number: 6896222
    Abstract: A lighter-than-air ship using hydrogen or other gas as a lift gas with at least one hydrogen fuel cell aboard. The fuel cell can draw hydrogen fuel from the lift gas reservoir to produce electricity both for the ship's use and optionally for propulsion. The waste product of the fuel cell is water which can be used for the needs of a crew on the ship. The hydrogen lift gas chamber, which can be compartmentalized for lift control, can be surrounded by a safety jacket filled with an inert gas and contain optional hydrogen and/or oxygen sensors.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 6, 2003
    Date of Patent: May 24, 2005
    Assignee: ORO Grande Technology LLC
    Inventors: Vasilios Dossas, Clifford H. Kraft
  • Patent number: 6877693
    Abstract: The invention concerns a lighter-than-air craft for transporting by air equipment and passengers, more particularly, it concerns an aircraft whereof the frame (1) made of light metal and erected vertically, contains and protects the passenger compartment (4) of the invention, and all the components of the invention which, by a mass-reducing assembly (2-8-9-11-19), uses light gas power for neutralizing the earth's gravitational pull. Electric motors actuating propellers (6-7) with multiple blades and powered by a mini-electric power unit (5) enable to counter the force of mean winds, so to lift the neutralized mass and control the aircraft movements. The aircraft wide external surfaces (11-12) are used as wing system, a sailboat keel being replaced by a gyroscope (10) stabilizing effect and by the thrust of the lateral propellers (6).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 22, 2000
    Date of Patent: April 12, 2005
    Inventor: Yves Barbarie
  • Patent number: 6843448
    Abstract: An airship is provided including a frame and first and second hulls pivotally connected to said frame. An airship second is provided including a frame, a gondola disposed within said frame, first and second hulls pivotally connected to said frame, and a propulsion system connected to said frame. Methods are provided for landing on water and refueling.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 27, 2003
    Date of Patent: January 18, 2005
    Inventor: Daniel W. Parmley
  • Patent number: 6793180
    Abstract: A system and method for constructing an airship hull is described, comprising a plurality of flexible members disposed lengthwise about the perimeter of the airship skin. The flexible members can be held in place in sleeves on the skin of the airship. The ends of the flexible members are drawn toward one another by tensioning means, causing the members to bow outwardly from a central axis and providing a rigid structure for the skin.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 5, 2002
    Date of Patent: September 21, 2004
    Inventors: Daniel Nachbar, John A. Fabel
  • Patent number: 6794012
    Abstract: A structural panel comprised of a composite preform having an electrically conductive stitching. The stitching forms an electrically conductive grid-like network on the structural panel to better dissipate electrical energy received in a lightning strike throughout at least a portion of the thickness of the composite preform. Advantageously, the electrically conductive stitching is applied to the composite preform during the primary manufacturing process, rather than in a subsequent manufacturing step, to thereby help reduce the overall manufacturing cost of the structural panel. In one alternative embodiment a non-conductive polymer stitching is also applied throughout the entire thickness of the composite preform.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 5, 2002
    Date of Patent: September 21, 2004
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventor: Thomas Karl Tsotsis
  • Patent number: 6766982
    Abstract: An airship comprises a fuselage and a supporting structure positioned within the fuselage. An air passageway extends through the fuselage in an axial direction, with this air passageway having air inlet openings at the forward end of the airship with a first passageway tapering inwardly to provide a venturi in a mid region of the airship. A second passageway downstream of the venturi continues to the rear end of the airship where it flow-connects to a variable pitch rearwardly projecting air nozzle. An air turbine is mounted in the narrowest region of the venturi and is adapted to generate electricity. A plurality of adjustable air wings project outwardly from the surface of the fuselage, these air wings being arranged in circumferential rows. Cargo areas are provided at the bottom of the fuselage. A unique berthing post is used with the airship.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 29, 2003
    Date of Patent: July 27, 2004
    Inventor: Ernest Robert Drucker
  • Patent number: 6722611
    Abstract: An aircraft body structure is disclosed and has a skeleton frame including a plurality of interconnected frame elements. A skin layer is affixed to at least a portion of the frame elements. The skin layer has an exterior surface and an opposite interior surface. A composite reinforcing layer is affixed to at least a substantial portion of the interior surface of the skin layer. The composite reinforcing layer has a reinforcing material combined with a non-flammable polymer foam material in a variety of different manners.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 19, 2000
    Date of Patent: April 20, 2004
    Inventors: Kuang-Hsi Wu, Milton J. Torres
  • Patent number: 6708922
    Abstract: A modular unit 129 for forming an airship 100 includes an elongate spine 106 intended to extend along a longitudinal axis of the airship 100. The spine 106 includes a number of interconnecting elements 108 each of which has connection means 182 for being joined in end to end relationship with an interconnecting element 108 of an adjacent modular unit 129. Buoyant support means in the form of gas bags 105 are fixed relative to the spine and are positioned within annular spaces 132 and 134. The invention also extends to an airship 100 which may be formed from a number of modular units 129 connected end to end and with a central spine 106 extending between outer extremities 116 and 118. A gondola 101 is located within a lower half of annular space 102 such that an outwardly facing surface is flush with an outer surface of the airship 100.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 5, 1997
    Date of Patent: March 23, 2004
    Assignee: Cherokee Ltd.
    Inventor: Jonathan Hamilton
  • Publication number: 20040021037
    Abstract: A system and method for constructing an airship hull is described, comprising a plurality of flexible members disposed lengthwise about the perimeter of the airship skin. The flexible members can be held in place in sleeves on the skin of the airship. The ends of the flexible members are drawn toward one another by tensioning means, causing the members to bow outwardly from a central axis and providing a rigid structure for the skin.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 5, 2002
    Publication date: February 5, 2004
    Inventors: Daniel Nachbar, John A. Fabel
  • Patent number: 6592076
    Abstract: A collapsible airship batten assembly (20) is disclosed for airships (22). The assembly (20) is deployed upon inflation of the containment chamber, and is freely collapsible during the deflation process. The preferred embodiment includes the folding nose batten assembly (20), comprising a central deployment guide beam (50), a spoke hinge hub (56) rigidly affixed to the aft end of the central beam (50), a set of spokes (58), the first ends of which are adjustably connected to and emanating out from the spoke hinge hub (56), a nose spar hinge hub (46) slidably mounted on the central beam (50) for movement along the length of the beam (50), a set of nose spars (42), the first ends of which are attached to the exterior of the airship skin (36) and adjustably connected to the seconds ends of the spokes (58), and the second ends of the nose spars (42) translate inwardly to movably connect with the nose spar hinge hub (46).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 18, 2001
    Date of Patent: July 15, 2003
    Inventor: Alfred C. Barnes, III
  • Publication number: 20030106963
    Abstract: An under floor housing system for a passenger seat electronic units within an aircraft, where the aircraft includes a passenger cabin with a floor supporting the passenger seats and an air circulation system. Conventionally such electronic units are shoe box sized metal boxes hung under the passenger seats exposing them to damage, occupying valuable cabin space, and impeding access for servicing. The individual passenger seat electronic units are connected to a master control and communicate via conduits to a passenger interface accessible from an associated passenger sea. The units and interface are capable of providing passenger services such as: audio entertainment; video entertainment; telephone; intercom; television; video games; Internet; email; and electrical power supply for laptop computers. The under floor housing system has several individual housings recessed beneath the floor surface adjacent the passenger seats.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 7, 2001
    Publication date: June 12, 2003
    Applicant: INFLIGHT CANADA INC.
    Inventor: George R. Smallhorn
  • Patent number: 6536710
    Abstract: Disclosed is an apparatus and method for supporting the center stowage bins, center monuments, aircraft systems, and overhead modules, such as attendant rests, for commercial aircraft. Use of an overhead lattice support structure provides an efficient structural support system for the passenger luggage center stowage bins, and also provides the necessary overhead space to accommodate modules, such as crew rests, as well as essential aircraft systems, including ducts, tubes, electrical wiring, and electrical equipment. The overhead lattice support structure also simplifies aircraft assembly operations by allowing more systems (ducting and electrical) to be pre-installed in a back shop rather than in a final assembly line.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 6, 2002
    Date of Patent: March 25, 2003
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: Phillip J. Bobzien, Michael D. Jacoby, Jeffrey S. Janes, Robert M. Dowdell
  • Patent number: 6533221
    Abstract: The invention concerns a launch vehicle comprising a shroud (1a, 5a) supporting auxiliary propellers (2, 3) applying in operation excess flow of stresses to the shroud (1a, 5a), said device comprising means for coupling the payload (4) with the launch vehicle shroud. The invention is characterized in that the coupling means are designed to ensure a mechanical coupling between the payload (4) and the shroud along the direction of the launch vehicle longitudinal axis (X), and to cause them to be disengaged along radial and tangential directions. The invention is useful for neutralizing the effects on the payload of excess stresses applied on the launch vehicle shroud by the auxiliary propellers (2, 3).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 5, 2001
    Date of Patent: March 18, 2003
    Assignee: Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales
    Inventor: Pascal Hubert
  • Patent number: 6527223
    Abstract: An airship for lifting and transporting loads, particularly heavy loads. The lifting ability of the airship is given by lighter than air gas contained in bags located between two parallel horizontal platforms constructed in lightweight geodesic fashion, the platform and bag assembly being raised and lowered by means of respectively injecting and exhausting the gas into and from the bags, the whole, together with the lifted object, being moved and steered through the atmosphere by the combined means of conventional powered propeller units and a curtain circumferential to and rotated about the platforms thus using the Magnus Effect.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 5, 2002
    Date of Patent: March 4, 2003
    Inventor: Richard Warfield Mondale
  • Patent number: 6494404
    Abstract: A passenger airplane container system comprises a pod. The pod has a hollow generally cylindrical configuration. The pod further has a horizontal divider. The horizontal divider separates the pod into a passenger area and a baggage area. An airplane is provided. The airplane has a central pod receiving region with a closure device. The closure device is movable between an open orientation and a closed orientation. The open orientation so allows for the movement of a pod into the receiving region. The closed orientation securely encompasses the pod. In this manner the pod is securely contained for takeoff and flight and landing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 14, 2001
    Date of Patent: December 17, 2002
    Inventor: John C. Meyer
  • Publication number: 20020000492
    Abstract: When stiffening members, such as stringers and frame members, are welded onto a skin sheet to form an aircraft fuselage shell, a crack originating in the skin sheet tends to propagate through the weld joints into the stiffening members. In order to prevent crack propagation into a stiffening member, the stiffening member is reinforced with a web doubler plate or a tension band made of high strength steel or titanium alloys or fiber-reinforced composites. The doubler plate is riveted or adhesively bonded onto a stiffening member web, or the tension band is crimped into the stiffening member web. The resulting fuselage shell structure has crack stopping properties and thus an increased residual strength, so it can be used with welded joints at all areas of the fuselage shell, including the top and sides as well as the bottom of the fuselage.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 30, 2000
    Publication date: January 3, 2002
    Inventor: Hans-Juergen Schmidt
  • Patent number: 6315242
    Abstract: A propulsion system for a non-rigid and at least semi-buoyant vehicle, the vehicle including a pressure stabilized gasbag having a gondola mounted on the bottom thereof. The gasbag further includes catenary curtains extending from the top of gasbag to the bottom of the gasbag and attached thereto. In detail, the propulsion system includes a first pair of tubular members attached, preferably pivotally attached, by one of their ends to the gondola and which extend through the air bag and exit out the top thereof and having propulsion units, preferably turbo-prop engines, attached to their opposite ends. A second pair of tubular members is attached by one of their ends to the gondola, preferably pivotally attached, and extends into the gasbag and having their opposite ends terminating therewithin. A horizontal tubular member extends through the gasbag and has its ends extending out of the sides thereof and is attached to the opposite ends of the second pair of tubular members in the middle thereof.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 21, 1999
    Date of Patent: November 13, 2001
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventors: David B. Eichstedt, John P. Morehead, John B. Kalisz
  • Patent number: 6311925
    Abstract: A lighter than air airship is disclosed that has an internal weight supporting structure. The weight supporting structure allows the airship to enjoy the advantages of both static and dynamic lift. The airship disclosed herein is lifted by both lighter than air gasses as well as wings attached to the internal weight supporting structure. A cargo container for use with the airship is also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 10, 1999
    Date of Patent: November 6, 2001
    Assignee: Ohio Airships, Inc.
    Inventor: Robert L. Rist
  • Patent number: 6302357
    Abstract: This invention relates to a pressure stabilized inflated air transport vehicle having means for limiting crack propagation in the hull envelope whereby leakage of the gas in the haul due to the crack will not exceed the gas pressure maintaining means.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 28, 2000
    Date of Patent: October 16, 2001
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventor: John B. Kalisz