Releasable, Externally Mounted Cargo Patents (Class 244/137.4)
  • Patent number: 10974831
    Abstract: An example system includes an aerial vehicle, a sensor, and a winch system. The winch system includes a tether disposed on a spool, a motor operable to apply a torque to the tether, and a payload coupling apparatus coupled to the tether and configured to mechanically couple to a payload. The system also includes a repositioning apparatus configured to reposition the payload coupling apparatus in at least a horizontal direction. A control system is configured to control the aerial vehicle to deploy the payload coupling apparatus by unwinding the tether from the spool; receive, while the aerial vehicle hovers above the payload and from the sensor, data indicative of a position of the payload coupling apparatus in relation to the payload; and reposition, using the repositioning apparatus and based on the data, the payload coupling apparatus in the horizontal direction to mechanically couple to the payload.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 12, 2020
    Date of Patent: April 13, 2021
    Assignee: Wing Aviation LLC
    Inventors: Andre Prager, Trevor Shannon, Adam Woodworth
  • Patent number: 10935351
    Abstract: A selectable force gas generator (SFGG) includes support material of honeycomb structure and a gas collection chamber contained in a housing. Gas-generating propellant cells are partially embedded in the support material. Each of the gas-generating propellant cells includes a steel jacket having a convex portion exposed to the gas collection chamber. The steel jacket has an orifice through the convex portion. Each propellant cell includes a propellant packet contained in the jacket. Each propellant cell includes a fire wire electrically connectable to an electrically-fired initiator and electrically connected to the propellant packet. The fire wire transmits a firing signal that causes the propellant packet to produce gas. A cap is positioned between the propellant packet and the jacket. The cap has a tip that blocks the orifice of the jacket and the thickness of the jacket is sufficient to prevent sympathetic detonation of the propellant packet.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 16, 2020
    Date of Patent: March 2, 2021
    Assignee: United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Air Force
    Inventor: Jerry Provenza
  • Patent number: 10906783
    Abstract: A load placement system precisely places slung loads by allowing a helicopter pilot to essentially reel the load to the ground. The placement system uses lead lines on the slung load that can be connected to the ground by support personnel. A winch system is connected to the lead lines and guides the load to an intended location. The placement system eliminates at least some of the ground personnel previously needed for pulling the load to a target location and orientation. The placement system may eliminate substantially all ground personnel by using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to automatically connect the lead lines to the ground. The UAVs also may actively control the slung load while in flight to reduce pilot workload and enable higher transport speeds.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 20, 2018
    Date of Patent: February 2, 2021
    Assignee: COLUMBIA HELICOPTERS, INC.
    Inventors: Robert Lee Roedts, II, Steven Edmund Bandy
  • Patent number: 10858102
    Abstract: Container retention and release apparatus are disclosed. An example container retention and release apparatus includes a swaybrace to engage an exterior surface of a container. A latch is to attach to an internal receptacle of the container to retain the container. The latch is movable between a latched position to retain the container and an unlatched position to release the container. A drive is to move the latch between the latched position and the unlatched position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 26, 2018
    Date of Patent: December 8, 2020
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: Cory Gordon Keller, James V. Eveker, Thaddeus Jakubowski, Jr.
  • Patent number: 10836477
    Abstract: The present disclosure provides various embodiments of a multicopter-assisted launch and retrieval system generally including: (1) a multi-rotor modular multicopter attachable to (and detachable from) a fixed-wing aircraft to facilitate launch of the fixed-wing aircraft into wing-borne flight; (2) a storage and launch system usable to store the modular multicopter and to facilitate launch of the fixed-wing aircraft into wing-borne flight; and (3) an anchor system usable (along with the multicopter and a flexible capture member) to retrieve the fixed-wing aircraft from wing-borne flight.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 14, 2017
    Date of Patent: November 17, 2020
    Assignee: Hood Technology Corporation
    Inventors: Andreas H. von Flotow, Corydon C. Roeseler, Daniel Pepin Reiss
  • Patent number: 10793273
    Abstract: The invention relates to an unmanned aerial vehicle having a dropping device (20) for a first load (21) and a second load (22). The dropping device (20) comprises an actuation element (31) which performs a first movement in order to drop the first load (21) and which performs a second movement in order to drop the second load (22). The invention also relates to an associated method.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 22, 2017
    Date of Patent: October 6, 2020
    Assignee: MICRODRONES GMBH
    Inventor: Falk Lowe
  • Patent number: 10780969
    Abstract: A buoyant aerial vehicle includes: a balloon configured to store a gas; a payload coupled to the balloon; and a propulsion unit coupled to the payload by a tether. The propulsion unit includes: a fuselage having a substantially longitudinal shape, a first end, and a second end; a primary airfoil coupled to the fuselage; a secondary airfoil coupled to the fuselage at one of the first end or the second end; and a thrust generating device disposed at one of the first end or the second end and configured to move the propulsion unit relative to the payload along a propulsion flight path. The movement of the propulsion unit imparts movement of the buoyant aerial vehicle along a vehicle flight path.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 21, 2017
    Date of Patent: September 22, 2020
    Assignee: Loon LLC
    Inventor: Siegfried H. Zerweckh
  • Patent number: 10710721
    Abstract: An airborne store support assembly includes an ejector housing assembly that receives a fluid-actuated ejector piston. Extension of the piston pushes apart an airborne store from an aircraft for separation after release. A selectable force gas generator (SFGG) includes a total number of more than one gas-generating unit in fluid communication with the ejector housing assembly to actuate the fluid-actuated ejector piston with a selected amount of force. A communication interface in communication with the SFGG supplies at least one firing signal that causes a selected subset of the more than one gas-generating unit that corresponds to the selected amount of force that is dynamically determined by a controller based on flight parameters of at least one of an attitude, a rate of motion, and a rate of acceleration of the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 14, 2018
    Date of Patent: July 14, 2020
    Assignee: United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Air Force
    Inventor: Jerry Provenza
  • Patent number: 10689113
    Abstract: An example system includes an aerial vehicle, a sensor, and a winch system. The winch system includes a tether disposed on a spool, a motor operable to apply a torque to the tether, and a payload coupling apparatus coupled to the tether and configured to mechanically couple to a payload. The system also includes a repositioning apparatus configured to reposition the payload coupling apparatus in at least a horizontal direction. A control system is configured to control the aerial vehicle to deploy the payload coupling apparatus by unwinding the tether from the spool; receive, while the aerial vehicle hovers above the payload and from the sensor, data indicative of a position of the payload coupling apparatus in relation to the payload; and reposition, using the repositioning apparatus and based on the data, the payload coupling apparatus in the horizontal direction to mechanically couple to the payload.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 21, 2017
    Date of Patent: June 23, 2020
    Assignee: Wing Aviation LLC
    Inventors: Andre Prager, Trevor Shannon, Adam Woodworth
  • Patent number: 10662897
    Abstract: The subject matter of this specification can be embodied in, among other things, a lock apparatus that includes a latch hook having a catch at a first latch end, a first pivotal mount at a second latch end opposite the first latch end, and a second pivotal mount, a rotary actuator configured to selectably rotate a rotor shaft in a first rotary direction and in a second rotary direction opposite the first rotary direction, a rotor arm coupled to the rotor shaft at a first arm end and extending radially outward from the rotor shaft to a second arm end opposite the first arm end, and a link arm pivotably connected to the second arm end at a first link end, and pivotably connected to the second pivotal mount at a second link end opposite the first link end.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 18, 2017
    Date of Patent: May 26, 2020
    Assignee: Woodward, Inc.
    Inventors: Joseph Thomas Kopecek, Julian Sweet
  • Patent number: 10589851
    Abstract: The present disclosure provides various embodiments of a multicopter-assisted launch and retrieval system generally including: (1) a multi-rotor modular multicopter attachable to (and detachable from) a fixed-wing aircraft to facilitate launch of the fixed-wing aircraft into wing-borne flight; (2) a storage and launch system usable to store the modular multicopter and to facilitate launch of the fixed-wing aircraft into wing-borne flight; and (3) an anchor system usable (along with the multicopter and a flexible capture member) to retrieve the fixed-wing aircraft from wing-borne flight.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 13, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 17, 2020
    Assignee: Hood Technology Corporation
    Inventors: Andreas H. von Flotow, Corydon C. Roeseler, Daniel Pepin Reiss
  • Patent number: 10562646
    Abstract: A spacecraft includes a main body, a set of panels attached to a side of the main body, and a retaining the set of panels adjacent to the main body. The single-point release device includes a heater for generating heat to expand a thermally sensitive material, a membrane-based actuator for providing a linear movement based on a phase change of the thermally sensitive material contained in the membrane-based actuator, and a release fitting and a release rod for retaining and selectively releasing a pin based on the linear movement of the membrane-based actuator. The membrane-based actuator is configured to push the pin through the release fitting.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 20, 2017
    Date of Patent: February 18, 2020
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventor: John L. Gibb
  • Patent number: 10556682
    Abstract: A return device for retracting an attachment device of an aircraft. The attachment device is movable between a retracted storage position and a deployed working position, the return device tending to place the attachment device in the retracted storage position in the absence of an external load, while allowing the attachment device to move towards the deployed working position in the presence of an external load. The return device comprises resilient return means for exerting a traction return force on the attachment device and automatically bringing the attachment device into the retracted storage position; a force-reduction member for reducing the traction return force exerted by the resilient return means on the attachment device; and a line element having a first free end secured to the attachment device and a second free end secured to the force-reduction member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 28, 2017
    Date of Patent: February 11, 2020
    Assignee: AlRBUS HELICOPTERS
    Inventors: Pierre Mons, Florian Jimenez
  • Patent number: 10538331
    Abstract: A fastening system with a rotatable fastener that may secure an aircraft store to an aircraft and may rotate to reduce a drag coefficient of the aircraft store. Reducing the drag coefficient of the aircraft store may increase fuel efficiency of the aircraft store by requiring less energy to propel the aircraft store at a given speed or acceleration. The rotatable fastener allows the aircraft store to attach to the aircraft and to possess a low drag coefficient once the aircraft store is deployed. The rotatable fastener member may be configured to conform to attachment interface standards, such as Standardization Agreement (“STANAG”) 3842 or any other suitable aircraft store attachment interface standard.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 8, 2016
    Date of Patent: January 21, 2020
    Assignee: Raytheon Company
    Inventors: Bill K. Taylor, Keith A. Kerns, Michael S. Grygla
  • Patent number: 10538348
    Abstract: Provided herein are various improvements to satellite or payload deployment systems and equipment. In one example, a satellite deployment apparatus is provided. The satellite deployment apparatus includes opposing retention members configured to engage protrusions of a satellite and hold the satellite with respect to a baseplate. The satellite deployment apparatus includes at least one pusher element configured to preload a deployment force on the satellite against the opposing retention members when the protrusions of the satellite are captive in the opposing retention members, and a deployment mechanism configured to spread the opposing retention members responsive to triggering by an actuator system and release the protrusions of the satellite for deployment of the satellite away from the baseplate using at least the deployment force.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 19, 2016
    Date of Patent: January 21, 2020
    Assignee: Vector Launch Inc.
    Inventor: Brian James Riskas
  • Patent number: 10518883
    Abstract: A small store suspension and release unit uses a resiliently biased electrical connector assembly and/or resiliently biased feet pivotally attached to adjustable sway brace legs to apply an ejection impulse to a store after release from a suspension hook. A safety latch mechanism includes a pawl which engages a nib on the suspension hook assembly to prevent inadvertent release of the store if the suspension hook assembly becomes jammed, e.g., due to ice formation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 26, 2015
    Date of Patent: December 31, 2019
    Assignee: EDO MBM Technology Limited
    Inventor: James Lewendon
  • Patent number: 10509401
    Abstract: Provided is an information processing device that is capable of switching between a state in which a device is carried and a state in which the device is not carried in a more suitable form in accordance with a state or situation in which the device is used. The information processing device includes an acquisition unit that acquires information on a user and a controller that executes a control process for moving a device that can be carried by the user so that the device changes between a carry state in which the device is carried by the user and a non-carry state in which the device is not carried by the user on the basis of the information on the user.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 30, 2015
    Date of Patent: December 17, 2019
    Assignee: SONY CORPORATION
    Inventors: Yoshiki Takeoka, Manabu Kii, Yasuhide Hosoda, Toshiyuki Kawamura
  • Patent number: 10507939
    Abstract: Disclosed is a non-legged reusable air-launched carrier rocket mounted on a mid-line pylon of a supersonic fighter or a bomber fuselage and its length is not limited by the front undercarriage of the carrier aircraft. The rocket body has opposite upper and lower elongated openings at the position of the front undercarriage of the carrier aircraft. When running, the upper cover and lower cover of the openings open to the rocket body to form a vertical passage, so that the front undercarriage can be normally placed down. After taking off, the upper cover and lower cover close to form a cavity in the rocket body, and the cavity is then filled with liquid from the liquid tank in the carrier aircraft. The configuration is similar to the Roton carrier rocket.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 5, 2018
    Date of Patent: December 17, 2019
    Inventor: Peng Li
  • Patent number: 10435155
    Abstract: A method to load stores on an aircraft, the method may be controlled by one or more controller and may include one or more acts of loading stores onto corresponding lift portions; determining a relative position of the aircraft; positioning the stores relative to the determined position of the aircraft; and securing the stores to corresponding hardpoints (HPs) of the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 19, 2018
    Date of Patent: October 8, 2019
    Inventor: Victor A Grossman
  • Patent number: 10384782
    Abstract: A method for an airborne payload system includes receiving, from a sensor on a payload line, information about the payload line, wherein the payload line comprises a first end wound about a main reel of a winch system and a second end configured to couple to a payload. The method further includes providing instructions, based on the received information, to the unmanned aircraft and the winch system in order to control a position of the second end of the payload line.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 28, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 20, 2019
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventors: Matthew Curran, Dustin E. Gamble
  • Patent number: 10368192
    Abstract: A proximity relation is determined in various example embodiments. A method can comprise: acquiring a proximity relation between devices and at least one visible light source associated with each device of the devices in at least one moment; and determining a proximity relation of the devices according to the proximity relation between the devices and at least one visible light source associated with each device of the devices in at least one moment. A solution is thus provided for determining a proximity relation without acquiring actual geographic locations of the devices, which improves security and protects user privacy.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 5, 2015
    Date of Patent: July 30, 2019
    Assignee: BEIJING ZHIGU RUI TUO TECH CO., LTD
    Inventor: Jia Liu
  • Patent number: 10358216
    Abstract: An aircraft store ejector systems and subsystems thereof. Embodiments can include a two-reservoir re-pressurization system wherein a remote reservoir is used to maintain desired pressure in a local ejector reservoir. The system can include a release valve having a vent valve and valve piston. The release valve can control release of pressurized gas to a pitch control valve. The pitch control valve can be configured to distribute the pressurized gas between two or more ejector piston assemblies. One or more of the ejector piston assemblies can include multiple concentric piston stages and piston chambers, the piston chambers configured to contain a volume of gas. The ejector piston assemblies can be configured to compress the volume of gas within the piston chambers as the piston stages are extended out from the aircraft. Such compression can provide a return force to the piston stages.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 28, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 23, 2019
    Assignee: MARVIN ENGINEERING CO., INC.
    Inventors: Lee Allen Tobias, Sohrab John Talebian, Robert Ronald Evans
  • Patent number: 10268193
    Abstract: The present disclosure discloses a method of using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) comprising a housing, a processor, a positioning unit, a sonar unit, a launching unit and a fishhook unit in fishing. The method comprises manipulating the UAV to fly to a designated destination determined by the processor according to one of a received wireless communication and a preset program, adjusting the sonar unit to a predetermined height by the positioning unit, determining a coordinate corresponding to a signal detected by the sonar unit as a fishing region when the signal is consistent with a predetermined value, launching bait to the fishing region by the launching unit, releasing a fishhook from the fishhook unit to the fishing region, and manipulating the UAV to hover or return by the processor according to one of a received wireless communication and a preset program.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 9, 2017
    Date of Patent: April 23, 2019
    Assignee: NINGBO PELICAN DRONE CO., LTD.
    Inventor: Tao Gan
  • Patent number: 10144511
    Abstract: Various embodiments of the present disclosure provide a helicopter-mediated system and method for launching and retrieving an aircraft capable of long-distance efficient cruising flight from a small space without the use of a long runway.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 31, 2014
    Date of Patent: December 4, 2018
    Assignee: Hood Technology Corporation
    Inventor: Andreas H. von Flotow
  • Patent number: 10131430
    Abstract: A method to load stores on an aircraft, the method may be controlled by one or more controller and may include one or more acts of loading stores onto corresponding lift portions; determining a relative position of the aircraft; positioning the stores relative to the determined position of the aircraft; and securing the stores to corresponding hardpoints (HPs) of the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 30, 2017
    Date of Patent: November 20, 2018
    Inventor: Victor A. Grossman
  • Patent number: 10086942
    Abstract: A system comprising: a low observable aircraft (2) having its external surfaces oriented at a limited number of directions; a device (12) mounted to the aircraft (2) outside the external surfaces of the aircraft (2); and a fairing (10) located outside the external surfaces of the aircraft (2), the fairing (10) being releasably coupled to the one or more external surfaces of the aircraft (2), at least part of the fairing (10) being spaced apart from one or more of the external surfaces of the aircraft (2) so as to define a chamber between the fairing (10) and that one or more external surfaces of the aircraft (2). The device (12) is wholly located within the chamber. One or more external surfaces of the fairing (10) are oriented in the same direction as at least one external surface of the aircraft (2).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 21, 2016
    Date of Patent: October 2, 2018
    Assignee: BAE SYSTEMS PLC
    Inventor: Andrew Charles White
  • Patent number: 10023312
    Abstract: A helicopter-hoist system is described. The system may include: hoist equipment, illumination systems, range-measuring equipment, camera(s), communication systems, display devices, processing/control systems including image-processing systems, and power-management systems. The system may also include a smart-hook for measuring a load on the hook. Based on the measured load on the cable, the lighting may be illuminated in different manners. In another aspect, the system may communicate with display devices, which render images of a mission to helicopter crew members or other observers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 9, 2015
    Date of Patent: July 17, 2018
    Assignee: Breeze-Eastern LLC
    Inventors: Brad Repp, Brad Pedersen, Ezra Johnson, Chad Cariano, Chad Dize
  • Patent number: 9944394
    Abstract: A load beam for an aerial vehicle comprises an elongate beam with a radial slot and a lug extending from the radial slot. A hook is pivotably connected to the lug. There is a first arm pivotably connected to the beam and a second arm pivotably connected to the beam. The first arm may be pivotably connected to a first mount and the second arm may be pivotably connected to a second mount. A pivot axis of the first arm relative to the elongate beam may be substantially parallel to a pivot axis of the first arm relative to the first mount. A pivot axis of the second arm relative to the elongate beam may substantially parallel to a pivot axis of the second arm relative to the second mount.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 18, 2015
    Date of Patent: April 17, 2018
    Assignee: Boost Human External Cargo Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Derek Thomas, Jeff Yarnold
  • Patent number: 9938001
    Abstract: A passive control system can be implemented that converts an active control system on a multi-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to a passive control system. In the event that a system health of an active control system on the UAV is compromised, or in other instances, a passive control mechanism can be deployed to restore at least some in-flight stability. In various examples, the passive control system can monitor UAV attitude, velocity, and position to determine an active control system health. In other examples, the passive control system may receive an indication from the active control system itself. In some examples, the passive control mechanisms may include increasing an offset of a center of thrust and the center of gravity of the UAV. In other examples, the passive control mechanisms may include deploying control surfaces that induce a drag force that impedes translational and rotational movement.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 28, 2015
    Date of Patent: April 10, 2018
    Assignee: Amazon Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Gershon Parent, Paul Viola
  • Patent number: 9878792
    Abstract: A stowage carousel for handling cargo aboard an aircraft is provided including a revolving conveyor having an inner ring facing a passenger cabin of the aircraft and an outer ring facing a fuselage of the aircraft. Stowage compartments are associated with the revolving conveyor. The stowage compartments are configured to receive the cargo. The stowage compartments are rotatable within the aircraft with the revolving conveyor. The revolving conveyor is situated within the aircraft partially in the passenger cabin and partially in at least one of an upper crown and a lower lobe of the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 2, 2015
    Date of Patent: January 30, 2018
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventor: Darren C. McIntosh
  • Patent number: 9845158
    Abstract: A battery containment pod including a body formed of a lightweight material. The body has an aerodynamic exterior shape and an interior cavity formed in the lightweight material, the size and shape of the interior cavity designed to accommodate one or more battery packs. A smooth exterior coating covers the exterior shape of the body, and an attachment structure formed in or on the body allows the body to be coupled to a flight vehicle. Other implementations are disclosed and claimed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 17, 2014
    Date of Patent: December 19, 2017
    Assignee: X Development LLC
    Inventors: Kyle A. Liske, Matthew A. Nubbe
  • Patent number: 9821919
    Abstract: A toggle assembly includes a first joint member having a first lug and a second lug, a second joint member, and a third joint member. The second joint member has a first arm that receives a first rolling element, a second arm that receives a second rolling element, a third arm, and a fourth arm. The second joint member is pivotally connected to the first joint member via a first pin that extends through the first lug, the first rolling element, the second rolling element, and the second lug. The third joint member has a third lug and a fourth lug disposed opposite the third lug. The third joint member is pivotally connected to the second joint member via a cross rod pin that extends through the third lug, the third arm and the fourth arm.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 11, 2016
    Date of Patent: November 21, 2017
    Assignee: HAMILTON SUNDSTRAND CORPORATION
    Inventors: Stephen Michael Bortoli, Gary Sasscer
  • Patent number: 9718547
    Abstract: A system and method for determining length of load sling assembly in an aircraft, includes receiving, with a processor, information via one or more sensors regarding a load length during a delivery and descent state, the load length comprising length of a load sling assembly and a load height; controlling, with the processor, a minimum altitude of operation of the aircraft that ensures that the load does not touch the ground or obstacles during one or more of a flight plan, during decent, or during delivery; determining, with the processor, when a load has touched a ground in response to the receiving of the load length information; and releasing, with the processor, the load from the load sling assembly when the processor determines that the load has touched the ground.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 11, 2015
    Date of Patent: August 1, 2017
    Assignee: SIKORSKY AIRCRAFT CORPORATION
    Inventors: Jesse J. Lesperance, Thomas Zygmant
  • Patent number: 9703295
    Abstract: Certain exemplary embodiments can provide a system, machine, device, manufacture, circuit, composition of matter, and/or user interface adapted for and/or resulting from, and/or a method and/or machine-readable medium comprising machine-implementable instructions for, activities that can comprise and/or relate to, providing a guided descent from a release zone and toward an entry zone.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 14, 2015
    Date of Patent: July 11, 2017
    Assignee: Barron Associates, Inc.
    Inventors: David Anthony Neal, III, Kevin Marlan Ehlmann, William Thomas Gressick, Alec Jacob Devine Bateman, Kenneth Richard Horneman
  • Patent number: 9663228
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for handling cargo. A cargo handling system may be positioned relative to the cargo. The cargo handling system may comprise a frame structure and an engagement system. The frame structure may be configured to change in a number of dimensions to encompass the cargo. The engagement system may be configured to engage the cargo. The number of dimensions of the frame structure may be adjusted to encompass the cargo. The cargo may be engaged with the engagement system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 23, 2014
    Date of Patent: May 30, 2017
    Assignee: THE BOEING COMPANY
    Inventor: Richard L. Kulesha
  • Patent number: 9630715
    Abstract: An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is disclosed that includes a retractable payload delivery system. The payload delivery system can lower a payload to the ground using an assembly that secures the payload during descent and releases the payload upon reaching the ground. The assembly can also include a bystander communication module for generating cues for bystander perception. While the assembly securing the payload is being lowered from the UAV, the bystander communication module can generate an avoidance cue indicating that bystanders should avoid interference with the assembly. The assembly also includes sensors that generate data used, at least in part, to determine when the descending assembly is at or near the ground, at which point the assembly releases the payload. The bystander communication module can then cease the avoidance cue and the UAV can retract the assembly.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 31, 2016
    Date of Patent: April 25, 2017
    Assignee: X Development LLC
    Inventors: Leila Takayama, Matthew Ball, Joanna Cohen, Roger William Graves, Mathias Samuel Fleck, Andrew Lambert, James Ryan Burgess, Paul Richard Komarek, Trevor Shannon
  • Patent number: 9629263
    Abstract: An apparatus includes a multifunction shelf rotatably coupled to a chassis at one or more pivot points. The chassis includes a sub-chassis mounted in a first end of the chassis and connected to one or more connectors within the chassis. The multifunction shelf includes one or more first lever arms extending away from a pivot point. The multifunction shelf also includes one or more second lever arms, each second lever arm connecting to a first lever arm and extends in a direction at a first angle to the connected first lever arm. The multifunction shelf also includes one or more camming features each coupled to a second lever arm and the sub-chassis. Rotating the one or more first lever arms away from the chassis applies a force through each corresponding camming feature to the sub-chassis to disconnect the sub-chassis from the chassis.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 10, 2015
    Date of Patent: April 18, 2017
    Assignee: LENOVO ENTERPRISE SOLUTIONS (SINGAPORE) PTE. LTD.
    Inventors: Anthony F. Katsaros, Brian M. Kerrigan, Timothy A. Meserth
  • Patent number: 9612327
    Abstract: Methods and apparatus are disclosed for persistent deployment of aerial vehicles. The present application discloses a mission control system that is configured to control and manage one or more aerial vehicles for deployment to and from one or more docking stations. The one or more docking stations may be configured with a battery swapping device for removing the depleted battery from an aerial vehicle and for refilling a charged battery into the aerial vehicle. The mission control system may be configured to generate a priority list used to determine the recharging order of the one or more aerial vehicles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 28, 2014
    Date of Patent: April 4, 2017
    Assignee: Identified Technologies Corporation
    Inventors: Richard Yang Zhang, Andy Wu
  • Patent number: 9567109
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for deploying a space structure. The space structure is secured to a base with release mechanisms that engage features of the space structure when the base is in a first position. The base is moved from the first position to a second position to deploy the space structure. The release mechanisms are moved at substantially a same time to disengage from the features and release the space structure from the base without imparting a transverse load to the space structure when the base moves from the first position towards the second position to deploy the space structure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 17, 2014
    Date of Patent: February 14, 2017
    Assignee: THE BOEING COMPANY
    Inventors: Thomas E. Robles, Trevor Scott Howard
  • Patent number: 9555887
    Abstract: A method to load stores on an aircraft, the method may be controlled by one or more controller and may include one or more acts of loading stores onto corresponding lift portions; determining a relative position of the aircraft; positioning the stores relative to the determined position of the aircraft; and securing the stores to corresponding hardpoints (HPs) of the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 17, 2015
    Date of Patent: January 31, 2017
    Inventor: Victor A. Grossman
  • Patent number: 9505496
    Abstract: An apparatus to aerially dispense payload containers from an aircraft is provided. The apparatus includes an outer portion, including an opening to allow a payload container to leave the apparatus when the payload container is in alignment with the opening. The apparatus also includes an inner portion, configured to rotate within the outer portion. The inner portion has one or more cutouts that retain the payload container. The apparatus further includes an actuator, coupled to the inner portion, and a processor circuit. The processor circuit commands the actuator to rotate the inner portion to cause the payload container to align with the opening.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 19, 2014
    Date of Patent: November 29, 2016
    Inventor: Michael Beaugavin Markov
  • Patent number: 9505495
    Abstract: An aircraft store ejector systems and subsystems thereof. Embodiments can include a two-reservoir re-pressurization system wherein a remote reservoir is used to maintain desired pressure in a local ejector reservoir. The system can include a release valve having a vent valve and valve piston. The release valve can control release of pressurized gas to a pitch control valve. The pitch control valve can be configured to distribute the pressurized gas between two or more ejector piston assemblies. One or more of the ejector piston assemblies can include multiple concentric piston stages and piston chambers, the piston chambers configured to contain a volume of gas. The ejector piston assemblies can be configured to compress the volume of gas within the piston chambers as the piston stages are extended out from the aircraft. Such compression can provide a return force to the piston stages.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 22, 2013
    Date of Patent: November 29, 2016
    Assignee: MARVIN ENGINEERING CO., INC.
    Inventors: Lee Allen Tobias, Sohrab John Talebian, Robert Ronald Evans
  • Patent number: 9415883
    Abstract: A canisterized satellite dispenser includes one or more of: a pair of guide rails that eliminate the requirement of a rectangular profile for the satellite; a preload system that secures the canisterized satellite during transport and launch, and releases to deploy the canisterized satellite; a constant-force spring to provide a uniform and predictable dispensing force; an external rectangular profile in each dimension; and internal support surfaces that simplify the design of canisterized satellites, particularly those with deployable components. Each canisterized satellite includes a pair of opposing flanges on a lower portion of the satellite that ride in a channel formed by the dispenser's guide rails and restraining flanges; no other support constraints are imposed. During travel and launch, the satellite flanges are held against the restraining flanges, rigidly fixing the satellite to the dispenser until the satellite is deployed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 2013
    Date of Patent: August 16, 2016
    Assignee: Planetary Systems Corporation
    Inventors: Walter Holemans, Ryan Hevner
  • Patent number: 9399508
    Abstract: An aircraft includes a fuselage, a wing, and a decoupled joint interconnecting the fuselage and the wing. The decoupled joint can be an active suspension system. A method of adapting an aircraft to attenuate forces between a main wing and a fuselage thereof includes providing a plurality of sensors upon the aircraft, configured for sensing motion and/or mechanical stress of the main wing and/or the fuselage and producing signals indicative thereof, and providing a plurality of active suspension elements interconnecting the wing and the fuselage, the active suspension elements being configured to move at least in response to the signals to adjust a position of the wing with respect to the fuselage.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 9, 2013
    Date of Patent: July 26, 2016
    Assignee: THE BOEING COMPANY
    Inventors: Branko Lakic, Jonathan B Vance
  • Patent number: 9340284
    Abstract: The bottom surface of an aircraft, such as an Osprey V-22 propeller driven aircraft, has at least four distributed hook attachment points. A load suspension apparatus is attached to the four attachment points with elongated slings. The load suspension apparatus includes an upper rigid frame and a lower rigid frame of lesser dimensions. The lower frame is suspended from the upper frame with V-shaped slings. A cargo load is attached to the lower frame. The load suspension apparatus provides stable attachment of loads to tilt wing and rotary wing aircraft at high aircraft speeds, at transitions between high and low speeds and through aircraft turns.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 13, 2010
    Date of Patent: May 17, 2016
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventors: John G. Vorwald, Scott A. Sirchio, Frank A. Leban
  • Patent number: 9302788
    Abstract: The present invention is a stratospheric-airship-assisted orbital payload launching system that features with high reusability ratio, low cost, short launch-preparation time and robust reliability. The system consists of an airship-based stratospheric launch platform (1), a stratospheric-launched suborbital shuttle (2, SLSS) and an upper stage (3, a modified version of conventional upper stage or a spaceplane). The airship-based stratospheric launch platform (1) employs hydrogen and helium to provide buoyancy in its ascent and high-altitude cruise stages. Given the substantially lower ambient pressure, the usage of hydrogen at high altitude is much safer than on the ground. The SLSS (2) is mounted beneath the platform (1), and an assembly of payload (4) and upper stage (3) is loaded in the cargo bay (2B) of SLSS (2).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 20, 2014
    Date of Patent: April 5, 2016
    Inventor: Li Wan
  • Patent number: 9027976
    Abstract: A multi-purpose helicopter pendant hook assembly is provided. The pendant hook assembly allows cargo load attachment by a ground crewman from positions either on the load itself or standing on the ground next to the load. In both cases, a stand-off from the helicopter improves safety for the ground crewmen. The hook assembly combines the capability to pick up cargo and personnel, or both, simultaneously. This multi-purpose feature reduces the need for more than one helicopter during recovery operations. The pendant has multiple D-rings for attachment of personnel and has a communications link for ground crew to pilot communications. The hook assembly also has a flange and hook configuration which allows release of the cargo load while retaining the cargo net.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 12, 2014
    Date of Patent: May 12, 2015
    Inventor: Donald John Tollenaere
  • Publication number: 20150122949
    Abstract: Device for engaging and ejecting a load suspended below an aircraft, comprising at least two ejection pistons (4, 5) which are connected, on the one hand, to the load to be engaged/ejected and, on the other hand, to a control circuit (1) which comprises a pneumatic circuit (2, 3, 8), further comprising for supplying each ejection piston (4, 5) a hydraulic circuit (6, 7, 41, 51) which is interposed between the pneumatic circuit and the ejection pistons (4, 5).
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 29, 2014
    Publication date: May 7, 2015
    Inventor: Alain Thevenot
  • Patent number: 9021932
    Abstract: An aircraft store ejector systems and subsystems thereof. Embodiments can include a two-reservoir re-pressurization system wherein a remote reservoir is used to maintain desired pressure in a local ejector reservoir. The system can include a release valve having a vent valve and valve piston. The release valve can control release of pressurized gas to a pitch control valve. The pitch control valve can be configured to distribute the pressurized gas between two or more ejector piston assemblies. One or more of the ejector piston assemblies can include multiple concentric piston stages and piston chambers, the piston chambers configured to contain a volume of gas. The ejector piston assemblies can be configured to compress the volume of gas within the piston chambers as the piston stages are extended out from the aircraft. Such compression can provide a return force to the piston stages.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 10, 2012
    Date of Patent: May 5, 2015
    Assignee: Marvin Engineering Co., Inc.
    Inventors: Lee Allen Tobias, Sohrab John Talebian, Robert Ronald Evans
  • Patent number: 9016634
    Abstract: A payload cut-down mechanism having a pathway member having a first end and a second end attached to a balloon envelope, a line extending within the pathway member having first and second ends extending from the pathway member, where the first end of the line is releasably secured to a first actuated release mechanism attached to a payload, and a second end of the line releasably secured to a second actuated release mechanism attached to the payload, and wherein at least one of the first and second actuated release mechanisms are operable, upon receiving a signal, to release the first or second end of the line from one of the actuated release mechanisms and cause the payload to separate from the payload.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 30, 2013
    Date of Patent: April 28, 2015
    Assignee: Google Inc.
    Inventors: Daniel Ratner, Keegan Gartner