Fuel Supply Patents (Class 244/135R)
  • Patent number: 6149102
    Abstract: A mounting system includes a restraint pan into which an auxiliary fuel tank is placed, a harness extending over the fuel tank, and a pair of brackets each having a corner receptacle for engaging a corner of the fuel tank. The corner receptacles are each reinforced by a gusset. Each bracket includes two arms having a pair of holes that align with each other. The first holes receives a bolt, making a pivoting joint between the arms and the second holes receive a removable pin for aligning the two arms in a locked position. Each end of the brackets is a clevis for engaging a cargo ring. The harness includes a pair of straps interconnected by a web and ratchets for tightening the straps. The pan prevents horizontal movement of the fuel tank, the harness resists vertical movement of the fuel tank, and the brackets prevent vertical motion and tipping motion of the fuel tank.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 25, 1998
    Date of Patent: November 21, 2000
    Assignee: Robertson Aviation LLC
    Inventors: John Richard Marasco, James R. Van Horn
  • Patent number: 6136267
    Abstract: A fuel ignition arrester system that has a feedback control to maintain the fuel/air mixture in the ullage of a fuel tank above the flammability range. The system uses a photoelectric detector to signal when the fuel/air mixture concentration falls or rises to a predetermined concentration value. The predetermined value is selected to be higher than the upper limit of the flammability range so that the fuel/air mixture is maintained above the range and, thus, incombustible. A fuel pump and piping system with nozzles is arranged to inject fuel into the ullage when the concentration falls to the predetermined value and to stop injecting fuel when the concentration rises to the predetermined value. A flammability detection system includes the detector and a controller that produces an annunciating signal when the fuel/air mixture concentration is equal to or between the upper and lower limits of the flammability range.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 24, 1998
    Date of Patent: October 24, 2000
    Assignee: Bergman Consulting Engineers
    Inventor: Jacob Bergman
  • Patent number: 6123295
    Abstract: An improved fuel tank for a lifting body re-entry vehicle having a particular external shape comprising four elongated lobes each having an external surface, each of the external surfaces having selected cylindrical and conical shapes, the lobes being selectively mateable to form a combined external configuration having a multiplicity of cylindrical and conical shapes conformable to at least a portion of the external shape of the vehicle. The cylindrical and conical shapes have variable radii at selected cross-sections thereof, such radii being selected for forming the external configuration. In a particular embodiment, the fuel tank has an initial portion, a midsection portion and a final portion and the cross-sectional shape of the initial portion of the fuel tank is that of two overlapping circles whose centers are positioned above one another, each of the circles being formed by two of the four lobes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 20, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 26, 2000
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventors: Mark Harry Wexler, Peter Andrew Buck, Timothy D. Iwanczyk
  • Patent number: 6119985
    Abstract: A reusable rocket airplane which may be utilized to launch satellites and other payloads into space. The airplane may also be used for rapid surface to surface flight. The reusable rocket airplane may be safely supplied with oxidizer in mid-air, achieve an altitude outside the Earth's atmosphere, and return safely to be used again. The rocket airplane utilizes unique concepts to secure its gas turbine engines for high speed flight, minimize fluid spillage during mid-air oxidizer transfer, as well as employs design features advantageous to the economical building and reuse of the rocket airplane.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 7, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 19, 2000
    Assignee: Pioneer Rocketplane Corporation
    Inventors: Mitchell B. Clapp, Robert M. Zubrin
  • Patent number: 6113032
    Abstract: A system is provided for delivering liquid propellant in a booster stage of a launch vehicle. The system includes an arrangement of tanks and valves to direct a first supply of liquid propellant during ascent of the booster stage and a second supply during descent of the booster stage. In disclosed embodiments, tanks may be arranged in series or parallel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 25, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 5, 2000
    Assignee: Kistler Aerospace Corporation
    Inventors: David B. Cochran, Charles D. Limerick
  • Patent number: 6076769
    Abstract: A fuel containment area, and method of forming the same are disclosed herein. A fuel containment area is defined in part by a vehicle interior structure, such as an aircraft wing. Portions of the fuel containment area are provided with elastomeric partial bladders or appliques to bridge sections of the vehicle interior structure, to provide additional container integrity, and/or to segregate fuel from certain areas of the vehicle interior, e.g., about electrical components, mechanical leakages, or high temperature areas. The appliques are sealed to the vehicle interior by flexible transition joints to define a continuous, hybrid fuel container.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 8, 1999
    Date of Patent: June 20, 2000
    Assignee: Northrop Grumman Corporation
    Inventor: David Paul Gallegos
  • Patent number: 6047923
    Abstract: An aircraft having a central fuselage, a first side fuselage positioned immediately adjacent to and independent of the central fuselage, and a second side fuselage positioned immediately adjacent to and independent of the central fuselage located on the opposite side of the first side fuselage is disclosed. All of the engines powering the aircraft are located either on the wings outboard of the side fuselages or in the rear of the aircraft aft of the wings. Further, the aircraft may include wings positioned laterally from both side fuselages which may be partially retracted during flight.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 13, 1995
    Date of Patent: April 11, 2000
    Assignee: Trimbach Turbine, Ltd.
    Inventor: Patrick A. Lafferty
  • Patent number: 6024328
    Abstract: In a spacecraft that controls its position and attitude by a plurality of bipropellant thrusters, controlled ejection and vaporization of a single remaining propellant species generates a thrust force to adjust the spacecraft's position and attitude, thereby allowing an extension of the spacecraft's useful life after the other propellant has been exhausted.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 18, 1996
    Date of Patent: February 15, 2000
    Assignee: Hughes Electronics Corporation
    Inventor: John R. Ellison
  • Patent number: 6019316
    Abstract: The invention relates to a device for suspending a helicopter tank, the tank comprising a container which possesses a top wall, a bottom wall, and side walls forming a closed volume which is designed to be placed in a compartment of the helicopter, the compartment having at least one partition adjacent to the top portion of the container. The device comprises at least one fastening made of a material that absorbs energy by plastic deformation, which fastening is fixed firstly to the partition of the compartment and secondly to one of said walls of the container so that in the event of a violent shock it limits the displacement and the acceleration of the container relative to the partition of the compartment by plastic deformation of the fastening.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 13, 1998
    Date of Patent: February 1, 2000
    Assignee: Eurocopter
    Inventors: Pierre Sarlin, Christian Jean Raymond Giraud, Pierre Prud'Homme Lacroix, Francis Averous, Jean-Claude Bac
  • Patent number: 5996939
    Abstract: An aerial refueling system includes a pod assembly which is removably mounted for translation on an elongated pylon secured to the underside of an aircraft fuselage, whereby the pod assembly is moved relatively forward on the fuselage for stowage and relatively aftward on the fuselage for refueling operations. The pod assembly includes a pivotable, telescoping boom having control surfaces by which to aerodynamically position the boom's free end relative to the pod assembly. A coupling preferably establishes fluid communication between the boom and a fuel tank within the aircraft fuselage only when the pod assembly assumes the relatively-aftward refueling position on the pylon. A ram-air turbine on the forward end of the pod assembly provides all necessary power for the pod assembly, with wireless remote operation of all pod assembly functions preferably used to minimize the extent of alterations when installing the aerial refueling system on the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 28, 1998
    Date of Patent: December 7, 1999
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: John T. Higgs, William A. Gates, John H. Schuster, Clint A. Luttgeharm, Carl O. Crowdis
  • Patent number: 5983945
    Abstract: A liner for aircraft fuel tanks which limits the amount of fuel that can be spilled in the event of a crash. The liner is made of neoprene rubber with nylon reinforcing threads or other light-weight flexible material and is suspended within the fuel tank from a frame or from the tank itself. In normal operation the liner in effect floats in the fuel and is not subject to major stresses during flight since it does not carry the weight of the fuel. The liner can be retrofitted into existing aircraft with only minor modifications to the internal hardware in the tanks. It includes a valve in its discharge port that is either fully open for normal use, or is fully closed by the pilot when a crash is inevitable. The entire system (i.e. liner, frame, valves, etc.) is very small and lightweight, thereby adding minimal weight and fuel capacity loss penalties. The system can reduce the spillage from a ruptured wing tank by as much as 98%.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 4, 1996
    Date of Patent: November 16, 1999
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of Transportation
    Inventor: Robert F. Salmon
  • Patent number: 5975466
    Abstract: A variable displacement fuel tank for aircraft is provided. The variable displacement fuel tank may be disposed within an upper medial portion (12) of a fuselage (18) of an aircraft (10). In one embodiment, a variable displacement fuel tank (20) includes a fuel bladder (22) adapted to contain fuel and a plurality of panels (30, 34, and 36) coupled to the fuselage (18) and acting on the fuel bladder (22) to restrain and control the shape of the fuel bladder (22). The variable displacement fuel tank (20) also include a power drive system (26) that operates to move the plurality of panels (30, 34, and 36) through a continuum of positions between fully deployed and stowed in order to maintain substantially zero ullage within the fuel bladder (22).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 2, 1998
    Date of Patent: November 2, 1999
    Assignee: Northrop Grumman Corporation
    Inventors: Bryan D. Kahara, Richard T. Priestley, Kenneth E. Seho
  • Patent number: 5961079
    Abstract: A service system is arranged for at least one docking position for a craft, which requires the supply of various utilities and the discharge of waste. The system comprises a plurality of service boxes (3) lowered into the ground in the docking position. The service boxes each comprise a casing (9) and a cover (10) forming the top of the service box. The service boxes each accommodate a connecting device (22-26) for connecting an underground supply or discharge conduit (5) opening into the service box and connected to a utility source and a waste receiver, respectively, to a corresponding inlet and outlet, respectively, of the craft. At least one of the service boxes (3) comprises a cassette (15) accommodated in the casing (9), said cassette being liftable up from said casing when the cover (10) is removed, the connecting device (22-26) of the service box and the associated equipment, if any, being mounted in the cassette.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 24, 1997
    Date of Patent: October 5, 1999
    Assignee: Combi Box System Scandinavia AB
    Inventor: Lennart C. B. Jonsson
  • Patent number: 5961074
    Abstract: A method and system for delivering pressurized propellants to a rocket engine, that has significant advantages over the current state-of-the-art. One of the propellants, the "pressurizing propellant", is at least partially vaporized and the vapor is in pressure communicating relationship with other propellants on board the rocket-propelled vehicle. This vapor pressure pressurizes the propellants to a sufficient degree that they can be charged directly to the rocket engine, or the pressure may be boosted through pumps, if required. Moreover, the pressurized vapor may be used in other applications on board the vehicle, such as orbital adjustment, attitude control, station keeping, and the like. In several embodiments, the propellants are contained in variable volume reservoirs, exemplified by bladders and diaphragms. These variable volume reservoirs are preferably not subjected to tensile stresses when expanded, and are preferably designed for controlled volume reduction, when being drained of propellant.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 12, 1998
    Date of Patent: October 5, 1999
    Assignee: The University of British Columbia
    Inventor: Bruce P. Dunn
  • Patent number: 5934618
    Abstract: An aircraft fuel tank construction for providing enhanced fuel tank survivability and aircraft structural integrity when the fuel tank is penetrated by an exploding projectile, utilizes selective placement of low density, fluid-displacing material to create a low shock impedance region which decouples protected fuel tank structure from the destructive effects of a shock wave. The low shock impedance region may be formed using closed cell foam, or using isolators comprising bladders inflated with a compressible, inert gas. Such bladders should have a wedge shape and a wedge angle of at least 15 degrees. Precise shape is less important with closed cell foam. Polymethylacrilimide has been shown to be particularly effective for this purpose. Finite element analysis is useful in tuning the design of actual low shock impedance regions for actual aircraft designs.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 1, 1995
    Date of Patent: August 10, 1999
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: Stuart E. Kari, Gerould K. Young
  • Patent number: 5934621
    Abstract: A method and system for use as a modeling tool accurately estimates propellant remaining aboard a spacecraft at the completion of a transfer orbit by iterating mass flowrate in a linear optimized fashion until the difference between a predicted .DELTA.V and observed .DELTA.V is minimized. Actual flight pressure telemetry data is used to calculate a corresponding mass flowrate which must have been produced by a liquid apogee motor (LAM) for the spacecraft to reach the desired position. A thruster specific impulse value (ISP) is derived from ground test data to allow computation of the amount of propellant consumed during transfer orbit. When this value is subtracted from the known initial propellant load, the propellant remaining at the beginning of life (BOL) of a satellite can be calculated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 8, 1997
    Date of Patent: August 10, 1999
    Inventors: Stan Kent, Tania M. Ventura, Jacqueline V. Hoang, Craig A. Langenfeld
  • Patent number: 5927651
    Abstract: An expandable fuel cell (72) for an aircraft (70) has a flexible structure (126) having a perimeter (124) attached to an airframe of the aircraft (70). The flexible structure (126) has an empty position, in which the flexible structure (126) approximately conforms to a moldline (76) of the aircraft (70), and a full position, in which the flexible structure (126) forms a smooth curvilinear protrusion from the moldline (76) of the aircraft (70). A fuel bladder (152) is positioned between the flexible structure (126) and the airframe.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 15, 1997
    Date of Patent: July 27, 1999
    Assignee: McDonnell Douglas
    Inventors: Paul Francis Geders, John David Groeneveld, Robert Henry Wille
  • Patent number: 5904729
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for generating visual information for an operator in a first aircraft and a pilot in a second aircraft regarding the second aircraft's position relative to a first aircraft. A 3-D camera system (72) generates a real time 3-D video image of the second aircraft. A selecting device (82) provides selection of a stored geometric model based on the second aircraft type. A display monitor (83) displays the generated real time 3-D video image and the selected geometric model. A matching device (84) matches the displayed geometric model to the displayed real time 3-D video image. A processor (84) determines the position of the second aircraft relative to stored zone information according to the matched geometric model and generates control signals according to the determined second aircraft position. Director lights (88) mounted on the outside of the first aircraft display position information visible to the pilot of the second aircraft according to the generated control signals.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 4, 1997
    Date of Patent: May 18, 1999
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventor: Dennis E. Ruzicka
  • Patent number: 5890675
    Abstract: A process and device for damping vibrations or preventing their appearance in aircraft airframes in transonic flight. The aircraft has a fuselage carrying on each side a fixed wing (7) provided with at least one propulsion motor. At least one wing (7) is provided with an additional fixed weight (12-14) so arranged that there is more added weight on one side of the aircraft than on the other, the weight being disposed within the volume delimited by the wing (7). Different weights can be added to opposite sides of the aircraft, or all the added weight can be concentrated in one wing, the weight is as close to the end of the wing as possible, beyond the motor or outermost motor of the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 15, 1997
    Date of Patent: April 6, 1999
    Assignee: Aerospatiale Societe Nationale Industrielle
    Inventors: Michel Lacabanne, Thierry Martinage
  • Patent number: 5845879
    Abstract: The invention discloses a deployable, inflatable conformable fuel tank assembly constructed to be installed at a certain location on an aircraft and to be retained at that certain location throughout the entire flight operation of the aircraft. The fuel tank assembly is constructed to be movable between a first, deployed aerodynamic configuration in which the assembly can hold a supply of liquid fuel, and a second, stowed aerodynamic configuration in which the exterior surface of the assembly conforms to a surface of the aircraft underlying the assembly.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 28, 1995
    Date of Patent: December 8, 1998
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventor: Duane Lowell Jensen
  • Patent number: 5839693
    Abstract: A refuelling system for aircraft, and in particular to a cellular system for refuelling long range aircraft crossing oceans. A floating refuelling station for aircraft includes at least one container hull which is movable and a sloping platform supported by the container. The sloping platform has at least one runway thereon for take off and landing of aircraft. The container hull may be used to store aviation fuel for refuelling the aircraft, the movability of the hull may be used to orient the runway with respect to the direction of the wind and the runway has a ramp section inclined at an angle to help slow down landing aircraft and/or to help speed up aircraft taking off. The height of the runway above the sea surface needs to be sufficient to accommodate any loss of buoyancy due to outpourings of gas from the sea bed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 28, 1997
    Date of Patent: November 24, 1998
    Inventors: Michael Stalaw, Ilana Hecht
  • Patent number: 5833172
    Abstract: An arrangement of outlet devices for releasing into the atmosphere cryogenic, combustible exhaust vapors in the near-surface, flow-swept, outer area of aircraft, land vehicles and watercraft. The arrangement provides at least one outlet device on the top side of a component at the top end of a pylon, which is favorable in terms of flow, in the free, undisturbed air flow. Each outlet device is arranged, designed and oriented such that the exhaust vapor is released in at least one directed jet oriented to the rear or to the rear and upward, with or without a lateral component, and is kept away from air inlets, hot exhaust gas jets and other sources of ignition, as well as from surfaces of components.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 15, 1996
    Date of Patent: November 10, 1998
    Assignees: Daimler-Benz Aerospace AG, Tupolev AG
    Inventors: Franz Grafwallner, Peter Luger, Helmuth Peller, Martin Muller, Valentin V. Malyshev, Sergei B. Galperin, Andrew E. Kovalev, Alexsander S. Shengardt
  • Patent number: 5823478
    Abstract: One of the propellants used in a bipropellant rocket engine has a vapor pressure sufficiently high under prevailing condition to generate vapor at a pressure sufficiently high to pressurize both the volatile component and the second rocket propellant and provide substantially the sole means for forcing the two rocket propellants from their storage to the rocket engine. In the preferred arrangement, both the components will be stored within the same pressure vessel, one preferably being contained within an expandable/collapsible bladder.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 17, 1995
    Date of Patent: October 20, 1998
    Assignee: The University of British Columbia
    Inventor: Bruce P. Dunn
  • Patent number: 5816539
    Abstract: An orbital assist module and an interstage for a launch vehicle. The orbital assist module includes a cylindrical outer wall and a support structure secured to an inner surface of the cylindrical outer wall. The support structure defines a plurality of fuel tank supporting zones, at least one of the zones supporting a fuel tank by means of securing formations. A plurality of nozzles are connected to the fuel tanks by means of fuel lines and a plurality of valves are mounted in the fuel lines. The interstage comprises a cylinder having a leading and a trailing end and an explosive connector at the leading end for connecting the interstage to a trailing end of a launch vehicle motor. A connecting bracket is secured to the trailing end of the cylinder for connecting a second launch vehicle motor to the cylinder.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 4, 1995
    Date of Patent: October 6, 1998
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventors: Allan L. Chan, James J. Connors, Kenneth W. Epstein, Robert M. Heath, Gene Spencer Ogden, Michael B. Prewitt, Michael Wong, Edward W. Szeto, David P. Kennon, Michael J. Vogel, Larry Y. Hsu, Daniel H. Hada, Douglas B. Pereyda, Robert J. MacDonald
  • Patent number: 5799684
    Abstract: A frangible hydraulic fuse includes a fitting secured to a sleeve by a plurality of frangible pins. In normal operation, hydraulic fluid flows through the fuse through radial ports of a sleeve to which the fitting is engaged by the frangible pins. A compression spring urges a poppet slideably positioned in the sleeve to a position out of engagement with the radial ports. Upon rupture of the frangible pins, the fitting is released and hydraulic fluid may flow unimpeded through the radial ports creating a pressure drop which causes the slideable poppet to move to a position overlying and closing the radial ports.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 14, 1996
    Date of Patent: September 1, 1998
    Assignee: Aeroquip Corporation
    Inventor: George B. Cluett
  • Patent number: 5788184
    Abstract: An aircraft fuselage insulation blanket of the flexible type including an insulator core (24), including a predetermined volume contained by a vented flexible blanket casing (26) having a vented plurality of seam joined tailored panels (30), in which the seams are hermetically sealed. The panels include a flexible encasement material (29), having at least direct sealing properties to form hermetic seals (33), including at least a flexible plastic barrier film (52). The casing (26) has at least one vent (34), attached to at least one hermetic joined gas flow adapter (36), to displace air and to be connected by gas flow connector (38) to a substantially inert gas pressure source (39), to inflate blanket (14). Pressure source (39) includes a modular control (37), by which the blanket can be regulated to a predetermined substantially positive pressure relative to the cabin compartment (10) atmosphere's pressure, to displace and to occlude moist air from the blanket.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 4, 1997
    Date of Patent: August 4, 1998
    Inventor: Robert G. Eddy
  • Patent number: 5785276
    Abstract: An improvement in an airplane mounted aerial refueling boom wherein the boom assembly mounting permits motion about three axes. A first pivot attached to the fuselage of the airplane provides for radial or azimuth motion of the boom about a vertical or yaw axis of rotation essentially normal to the air stream. The second axis of motion, the pitch axis, is located below the airplane fuselage and perpendicular to the yaw axis so that the pitch axis rotates with any yaw motion of the boom and allows vertical displacement of the boom. Vertical and yaw displacement takes place in a conventional fashion. The third axis of motion, the roll axis, is located in-plane with and perpendicular to the pitch axis. This roll axis is coincident with the longitudinal centerline of the boom structural tube and a helical rotary actuator that produces a commanded roll motion as a function of pitch and yaw motion of the boom assembly.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 22, 1995
    Date of Patent: July 28, 1998
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventor: Dennis E. Ruzicka
  • Patent number: 5765610
    Abstract: An aircraft fueling nozzle includes a nozzle body supporting a valve seal and valve poppet movable between an open and closed position. The nozzle body supports a trio of extending index pins together with a trio of spring-biased movable lock pins extending toward the receptacle end of the nozzle body. A nozzle collar is rotatably supported by the nozzle body and defines a trio of inwardly extending inclined ribs which receive and engage a conventional fueling adapter upon a to-be-fueled aircraft. A lock pin alignment ring is secured upon the upper edge of the nozzle body and defines apertures through which the index pins and lock pins extend. The apertures receiving the lock pins are elongated defining straight parallel sides while the apertures receiving the index pins are circular.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 29, 1996
    Date of Patent: June 16, 1998
    Inventor: Albert W. Brown
  • Patent number: 5760712
    Abstract: A fuel time indicator which is removably mountable about a fuel tank selector switch for monitoring and displaying tank usage times for each of a plurality of fuel tanks is disclosed. The fuel time indicator comprises a portable frame including a switch position sensor for monitoring a plurality of positions of the fuel selector switch and generating a corresponding switch position signal. A timer generates a timing signal indicative of elapsed time. A controller responsive to the position signal and the timing signal generates tank usage times for each of the fuel tanks by selectively aggregating elapsed times. Visual indications of the tank usage times are provided by a display.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 4, 1996
    Date of Patent: June 2, 1998
    Assignee: American Circuit Technology, Inc.
    Inventor: Douglass J. Sauer
  • Patent number: 5746397
    Abstract: An aircraft defueling system includes a fuel jettison port (10) extending between the bottom side of a fuel tank (11) an the exterior of an aircraft. The port is sealed with a glass closure (12). A cylinder (13) with a piston (17) therein is positioned above the glass closure. A pressurized inert gas bottle (23) is connected to an expandable chamber (28) between the top ends of the cylinder and the piston. A metering port (27) is arranged on the side of the cylinder below the piston. Just prior to an unavoidable crash, a valve (25) on the gas bottle is opened to force the piston downwardly, so that the glass closure is broken by a conical bottom extension (18) on the piston. The piston is moved past the metering port. The inert gas is released into the fuel tank through the metering port, so as to pressurized the fuel tank and rapidly jettison the fuel through the port.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 14, 1996
    Date of Patent: May 5, 1998
    Inventors: Topper DeField, Brent DeField
  • Patent number: 5738304
    Abstract: A fuel tank has an outlet fuel line with a valve adjacent the tank. The valve is air operated open and spring biased toward closed. A frangible envelope surrounds the fuel tank and is pressurized from the same air line as that to the valve so loss of air pressure in the envelope leads to closing of the valve in case of a crash situation that causes the envelope to rupture.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 10, 1997
    Date of Patent: April 14, 1998
    Inventor: John B. Tavano
  • Patent number: 5660358
    Abstract: Fuel supply system for multijet airplanes using cryogenic fuel with one tank or one tank group for each engine or for all engines on one side of the longitudinal central plane of the airplane, and, if desired, with an additional, common tank or an additional, common tank group for all engines. A transfer line with shut-off valve leads from each tank/tank group associated with a defined engine or with the engines of one side of the airplane to at least one other tank/tank group and/or, if desired, to the tank/tank group common to all engines. If desired, at least one transfer line leads from the common tank/tank group to at least one other tank/tank group.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 28, 1995
    Date of Patent: August 26, 1997
    Assignees: Daimler-Benz Aerospace AG, Tupolev AG
    Inventors: Franz Grafwallner, Peter Luger, Helmuth Peller, Martin Muller, Valentin V. Malyshev, Sergei B. Galperin, Igor V. Golov
  • Patent number: 5595224
    Abstract: A retractable, concealable peripheric gas station for refuelling in particular military vehicles, which is connected to a main station supplying it both with fuel and hydraulic fluid and has an outer metal tank (10) closed by an upper cover (11) hinged thereto, a metal frame (14) hinged under the cover so as to pivot between a lowered rest position and a raised operating position, a take-up reel (15) for a hose supplying fuel, and a hydraulic assembly (24) operating between the frame and the tank under control of the oleodynamic main station which causes the frame to pivot between the lowered and raised positions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 2, 1995
    Date of Patent: January 21, 1997
    Inventor: Gaetano Cutore
  • Patent number: 5582366
    Abstract: A self-contained fueling module (10) provides the exact amount of hydrazine necessary to fuel a satellite (50) prior to launch. The fueling module (10) includes a propellant tank (14), a vacuum tank (12) and a pressurant tank (16). The propellant tank, filled with hydrazine, is shipped to the launch site where it is installed in the fueling module. Prior to launch, the fueling module is connected to the satellite and the hydrazine is driven with Helium pressurant into the satellite fuel tank. The Helium also pressurizes the satellite fuel tank to flight pressure. Any remaining fuel is evacuated from the connections (45) and fuel transfer lines (42) with the vacuum tank. Personnel do not have to wear self-contained atmospheric pressurized environment (SCAPE) suits because there is no risk of hydrazine exposure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 19, 1995
    Date of Patent: December 10, 1996
    Assignee: Motorola, Inc.
    Inventors: James E. Hamant, John R. McBride, David H. Cubbage
  • Patent number: 5575441
    Abstract: The present invention provides a device for preventing the venting of fuel vapor to the atmosphere and liquid fuel spillage on military aircraft having vent/dump outlets thereon. On the F-15 fighter aircraft, for example, a dump mast is located on the trailing edge of a wing. The dump mast, externally, consists of a oblong walled outlet which is slanted consistent with the trailing edge. An adaptor is placed over the walled outlet and may be held in place by straps or clips. The adaptor has a reducer further attached thereon for the purpose of connecting to a standard hose. The hose therefrom may be returned to the fuel truck for collection of vapor or dumped fuel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 28, 1994
    Date of Patent: November 19, 1996
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Air Force
    Inventors: James R. Gervais, Walter S. Lambert
  • Patent number: 5562130
    Abstract: A self-contained, hermetic module for the transport of hazardous fluids such as space craft fuels. The module includes a base and a removable cover hermetically sealed to the base. The combination of the base and the cover define an enclosure. Located within this enclosure are a pressurized gas cylinder, a fuel tank and an evacuated vessel. An inert gas contained within the pressurized vessel expels a fuel contained in the fuel tank to fill the space craft. The evacuated vessel purges all lines and conduits to prevent hazardous fluids from escaping to the environment.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 16, 1995
    Date of Patent: October 8, 1996
    Assignees: Olin Corporation, Anderson Columbiana Trading of Texas
    Inventors: Robert D. Peha, James A. Dreyfuss, Richard McNealy
  • Patent number: 5558303
    Abstract: A method and apparatus are provided for de-icing an aircraft of the type having wings and fuel storage in the wings. Hot fuel is provided for fueling the aircraft. The hot fuel is at elevated temperatures which are sufficiently high enough to transfer heat from the fuel, through a fuel tank extending within the wings, and to the exterior of the wings to de-ice the aircraft. A storage tank stores the fuel, and a heater heats the fuel to elevated temperatures. An intermediate thermal transfer system having a secondary thermal fluid transfers heat from a primary power source to the fuel. Further, a substantial volume of the secondary thermal fuel may be maintained at elevated temperatures to provide a sufficient thermal reserve capacity for heating the fuel upon demand.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 27, 1994
    Date of Patent: September 24, 1996
    Inventors: Terence L. Koethe, Richard M. Wilson, Gary L. Reid
  • Patent number: 5499784
    Abstract: The invention relates to a system for the flight refueling of at least one first aircraft provided with an intermediate fuel intake means connected to at least one fuel tank, by a second aircraft equipped with an intermediate fuel supply means connected to at least one fuel supply tank and which can be connected to the intermediate fuel intake means so as to permit, with the aid of at least one fuel pump, the transfer of fuel contained in the tank(s) of the second aircraft to the tank(s) of the first aircraft. This system includes at least one camera positioned below the aircraft, at least one multimode display to display at least one image from a camera and symbology information such as fuel data information used during the refueling operation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 11, 1994
    Date of Patent: March 19, 1996
    Assignee: Aerospatiale Societe Nationale Industrielle
    Inventors: Henri Crabere, Gilbert Mitonneau, Julien Maury
  • Patent number: 5451015
    Abstract: A dual-purpose bulkhead structure functions to support normal aircraft operational loads and to absorb energy in a controlled manner during a crash. An integral fuel tank comprises a fuel compartment and a crashworthy flexible fuel cell. The fuel compartment includes two dual-purpose bulkheads and crushable foam disposed between the sides of the fuel cell and the bulkheads and sides of the fuel compartment. The foam limits fuel pressure loads on fuel compartment bulkheads and sides during a crash, thereby preventing their failure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 18, 1993
    Date of Patent: September 19, 1995
    Assignee: Bell Helicopter Textron Inc.
    Inventors: James D. Cronkhite, Victor L. Berry, Michael R. Smith
  • Patent number: 5441219
    Abstract: A method for making a pressure tank includes procuring a metallic feed pipe (12) with a substantially cylindrical outer surface (312), a bore (21), and, at an attachment end thereof, an annular ring (350) protruding from the cylindrical outer surface. A dissolvable mandrel (410) in the shape of the desired tank or pressure vessel is made. The mandrel includes a neck portion (412, 414) dimensioned to fit within the bore of the feed pipe. If necessary, the outer surface of the mandrel is rendered electrically conductive, as for example by metal sputtering or evaporation, or by electroless deposition. A thin layer (328) of ductile metal is then electrolytically deposited over the outer surface of the mandrel, extending onto the outer surface of the feed pipe in the pipe-to-tank coupling region, closely fitting over the annular ring, to thereby form a tank liner. A composite reinforcing shell (322) is formed around the liner, and extending over the liner in the coupling region.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 27, 1993
    Date of Patent: August 15, 1995
    Assignee: Martin Marietta Corporation
    Inventor: Robert A. Rauscher, Jr.
  • Patent number: 5427334
    Abstract: A method for making a storage tank with an integral vane starts with a feed pipe. A thin, flat vane has a shape which defines an inner and outer curve extending between attachment and second ends. The outer curve of the vane is dimensioned to lie just within the inner periphery of the tank, spaced therefrom by a particular gap. The attachment end of the vane is affixed to a first part of a coupling region of the feed pipe, with the pipe axis lying in the plane of the vane. The vane-pipe combination is placed in the cavity of a mold having the desired interior shape of the tank, with the edge of the outer curve of the vane spaces away from the wall of the mold by the desired gap. A dissolvable, hardenable liquid is injected into the mold and hardened. The mold is removed, leaving a soluble mandrel in the shape of the cavity of the tank. A copper coating is applied to the mandrel and the pipe, to form a metal liner including a neck extending over the feed pipe.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 17, 1993
    Date of Patent: June 27, 1995
    Assignee: Martin Marieta Corporation
    Inventor: Robert A. Rauscher, Jr.
  • Patent number: 5427333
    Abstract: The variable speed drogue for use with an inflight aerial refueling system includes a refueling coupling for receiving a refueling probe. A plurality of trailing edge support arms are pivotally mounted to the trailing edge portion of the refueling coupling, projecting rearwardly, and a plurality of leading edge support arms are pivotally connected to the refueling coupling forward and outward of the trailing edge support arms. A drogue canopy is connected between the trailing ends of the leading and trailing edge support arms, presenting a projected area, to provide drag. A plurality of cord linkages are secured at one end to the leading edge of the drogue canopy, and are connected at their other end to a rear cord ring mounted to the trailing edge portion of the refueling coupling member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 26, 1994
    Date of Patent: June 27, 1995
    Assignee: West Coast Netting, Inc.
    Inventor: William L. Kirkland
  • Patent number: 5404923
    Abstract: The apparatus for the automated fueling of a launch vehicle includes a mobile fuel line platform assembly for carrying a fuel line assembly. A gross mechanical actuation mechanism provides gross positioning of the platform assembly relative to a fuel tank inlet. A micro-positioning mechanism provides micro-positioning of the fuel line assembly relative to the fuel tank inlet. A floating plate assembly securely connects the fuel line assembly to the fuel tank inlet. Leak detector detects any leaks in the connection between the fuel line assembly and the fuel tank. The present invention augments existing space program hardware thereby removing human involvement and increasing vehicle/environment safety.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 26, 1993
    Date of Patent: April 11, 1995
    Assignee: Rockwell International Corporation
    Inventors: Brian S. Yamamoto, Oleg A. Chaikovsky, Davoud Manouchehri
  • Patent number: 5402968
    Abstract: A collapsible fuel tank system for use on aircraft and the like includes a plurality of nestable shell sections which, when assembled in proper edgewise orientation, form a shell for the fuel tank. A nose cone and a number of shell-reinforcing bulkheads are axially spaced within the fuel tank and have a ring-and-groove construction for facilitating manual assembly of a fuel tank. A preassembled fuel management system includes an elongated flexible liner encapsulating the bulkheads and having snap connections for quick attachment to the shell interior. All of the components of a plurality of fuel tanks are housed in a single container for shipping and handling purposes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 2, 1993
    Date of Patent: April 4, 1995
    Assignees: Brunswick Corp., Alcoa Composites, Inc.
    Inventors: Donald D. Baldwin, Randall V. Guest, Randall W. Nish, Robert G. Pearce
  • Patent number: 5305970
    Abstract: A centrifugal propellant depot positioned in outer space for storing and transferring cryogenic liquid propellants to and from transfer space vehicles which are adapted to transport cryogenic liquid propellants to the depot to receive the liquid propellants stored in the depot. The depot includes a plurality of contra-rotatable torus-shaped hollow storage tanks adapted to receive cryogenic liquid oxygen and hydrogen propellants that are carried in gas/liquid phase separation by rotational gravity. Transport rail members transversely bridge the storage tanks. A central docking hub is coupled to the transport rail members and disposed centrally of the rotating storage tanks. The docking hub may receive a transfer space vehicle on either of two opposing sides of the hub for transfer, via a transfer vehicle coupled to the rail members, outwardly to the storage tanks.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 12, 1993
    Date of Patent: April 26, 1994
    Assignee: General Dynamics Corporation, Space Systems Division
    Inventors: John W. Porter, William A. Johns, David A. Caudle
  • Patent number: 5301510
    Abstract: A self-powered, mobile maintenance apparatus for continuously supplying slush hydrogen as a powering fuel to an aerospace vehicle prior to take-off including a first apparatus for obtaining liquid hydrogen from the vehicle, a second apparatus for generating slush hydrogen, a third apparatus for delivering the liquid hydrogen obtained from the vehicle to the second apparatus for generating slush hydrogen so that the liquid hydrogen can be converted to slush hydrogen, pump apparatus communicating with the second apparatus generating slush hydrogen for developing a vacuum in a region of the second apparatus for generating slush hydrogen so that a solid hydrogen fraction is produced, and apparatus for delivering the slush hydrogen mixture to the aerospace vehicle to be used as the powering fuel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 25, 1992
    Date of Patent: April 12, 1994
    Assignee: Rockwell International Corporation
    Inventor: Sidney P. Glasser
  • Patent number: 5279323
    Abstract: In a liquid storage tank 10 for use on a spacecraft, a transfer apparatus 15 (comprising gathering vanes 33, an elongate array of fins 32, and a sponge structure formed from panels 31) functions to transfer liquid from the inner surface of the tank 10 to the vicinity of an outlet line 40. A screen 23 is disposed between the panels 31 and the outlet line 40. When wetted with liquid, the screen 23 prevents gas and/or vapor in the tank 10 from passing to the outlet line 40. A perforated plate 22 disposed between the screen 23 and the outlet line 40 causes liquid to pass from the tank 10 to the outlet line 40 in a regular and generally unbroken flow.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 19, 1991
    Date of Patent: January 18, 1994
    Assignee: Lockheed Missiles & Space Company, Inc.
    Inventors: R. K. Grove, Ronald W. King, Julie M. L'Heureux
  • Patent number: 5263329
    Abstract: In a tank 10 for cryogenic liquid to be used in a low-gravity environment (e.g., on a space vehicle), a liquid transfer apparatus 15 (which comprises an elongate array of fins 32 and a sponge structure formed from panels 31) functions to transfer cryogenic liquid from the interior of the tank 10 to a bowl structure 20 defining a reservoir region adjacent an outlet of the tank 10. A perforated plate 22 disposed between the sponge structure and the outlet of the tank 10 causes cryogenic liquid to pass through the outlet into an outlet line 40 in a regular and generally unbroken flow. To prevent any substantial amount of heat transfer into the reservoir region of the tank 10, the bowl structure 20 is separated from the inner surface of the tank 10 by a capillary distance in order to provide a thermally insulating space therebetween.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 23, 1991
    Date of Patent: November 23, 1993
    Assignee: Lockheed Missiles & Space Company, Inc.
    Inventors: R. K. Grove, Ronald W. King, Julie M. L'Heureux
  • Patent number: 5236152
    Abstract: The present invention provides for the integration of structural cooling and fuel treatment within hypersonic vehicles. This is achieved by channeling a hydrocarbon fuel to a portion of the aircraft structure and imparting via the heat sink effect sufficient heat to cause a pyrolysis of the hydrocarbon fuel. After pyrolysis, the resulting fractions are then utilized as a fuel by the vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 30, 1992
    Date of Patent: August 17, 1993
    Assignee: Rockwell International Corporation
    Inventors: Herbert R. Lander, Robert E. Schnurstein
  • Patent number: 5209115
    Abstract: A liquid detector for thin-walled tanks Operating in a zero gravity environment (e.g., outer space). The liquid detector includes a small heater, such as a 1-watt patch heater, and two thermistors positioned on either side of the heater and diametrically opposed to each other. The heater and two thermistors are located on the outside of a propellant tank of, for example, a satellite. One of the thermistors is positioned directly over a region where a propellant management device retains liquid. The other thermistor is spaced apart from the region, while the heater is proximate to the region. In operation, the heater is activated for a short period of time and the change in temperature at each of the two thermistors is observed. The temperature of a thermistor located over a spot having liquid propellant in contact with the tank wall will increase less than the temperature of the thermistor located at a spot where no liquid propellant is present.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 11, 1991
    Date of Patent: May 11, 1993
    Assignee: Intelsat
    Inventor: Donald L. Bond