Electric Course Control Patents (Class 244/175)
  • Patent number: 8924137
    Abstract: According to aspects of the embodiments, there is provided an apparatus and method to synchronize trajectories from independent systems such as from a flight management system and the ground Air traffic control during the entire history of a flight. Since a number of trajectory discrepancy factors will intervene during the lifetime of a flight, such as a change in flight intent, controller intervention, or large deviations of the actual flight from the predicted trajectory due to prediction errors, there is need to dynamically monitor these deviations and control a dynamic synchronization cycle. A dynamic trajectory synchronization algorithm attempts to bring each of the systems back into balance whenever a disturbance causes an imbalance.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 14, 2012
    Date of Patent: December 30, 2014
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventors: David So Keung Chan, Joel Klooster, Sergio Torres
  • Patent number: 8918280
    Abstract: A method for providing trajectory planning for an aircraft based on constraint processing is disclosed. The method may be performed utilizing a computer or processor onboard the aircraft that is en route, through all phases of flight, to an end location. The trajectory planning method may comprise receiving a set of constraints during the flight of the aircraft; analyzing the set of constraints to determine an optimal trajectory between a current location of the aircraft and the end location, the optimal trajectory is determined based on compliance with the set of constraints; and dynamically adjusting the flight of the aircraft based on the optimal trajectory.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 17, 2011
    Date of Patent: December 23, 2014
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventor: Richard E. Heinrich
  • Patent number: 8903569
    Abstract: The present invention discloses a method for controlling a high-lift device or a flight control surface of an aircraft or spacecraft, especially with a system according to the present invention, comprising the steps of receiving, at least one first control unit, a command signal from a commander unit via a data network, providing a primary control signal to at least one secondary control unit via the data network, wherein the primary control signal depends on the received command signal, receiving, at the at least one second control unit, a sensor signal of one or more sensors of the high-lift device or flight control surface, and providing a secondary control signal to one or more actuators of the high-lift device or flight control surface, wherein the secondary control signal depends on the received sensor signal. Furthermore, the present invention discloses a system and an aircraft or spacecraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 6, 2012
    Date of Patent: December 2, 2014
    Assignees: Airbus Operations GmbH, Airbus Operations (S.A.S.)
    Inventors: Ina Ruckes, Marc Fervel, Tobias Sebastian Rumpf
  • Publication number: 20140346280
    Abstract: A system for controlling an aircraft control parameter including a control interface including a mobile element configured to move on a travel, of which at least two portions are separated by a neutral position; a return element bringing the mobile element back to the neutral position when it is not actuated; and an interaction element, and a control unit configured to memorize an item of information corresponding to a first position of the mobile element at an instant of activation of the interaction element; and generate a setpoint of the aircraft control parameter, as a function of a control associated with the first position of the mobile element for which said information has been memorized; or a current position of the mobile element, when this current position is situated on the same portion of travel as the first position and is more remote than the latter from the neutral position.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 21, 2014
    Publication date: November 27, 2014
    Applicant: AIRBUS OPERATIONS S.A.S.
    Inventors: Florian Constans, Josep Boada-Bauxell, Pierre Scacchi
  • Patent number: 8897932
    Abstract: Disclosed is a flight control support device which sets a flight restricted area W along a terrain, thereby achieving improvement in safety of a small aircraft A and sufficiently securing the degree of freedom of flight course selection of a pilot. The flight control support device includes a terrain information acquirer, an aircraft information acquirer, a flight restricted area setter which sets the flight restricted area W along the terrain on the basis of the terrain information acquired by the terrain information acquirer and the aircraft information acquired by the aircraft information acquirer, and a flight control supporter which supports flight control of a flying object on the basis of the flight restricted area set by the flight restricted area setter.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 7, 2010
    Date of Patent: November 25, 2014
    Assignee: Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventors: Kosuke Komatsuzaki, Masatsugu Ishiba
  • Patent number: 8886368
    Abstract: The present invention discloses a control stick for controlling an UAV formed by a bar with buttons on the bar head and a GUI displaying airplane like icons providing feedback of current steering control status of a UAV.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 25, 2013
    Date of Patent: November 11, 2014
    Assignee: Prox Dynamics AS
    Inventors: Petter Muren, Dag Henning Paulsen
  • Publication number: 20140284429
    Abstract: An aircraft for unmanned aviation is described. The aircraft includes an airframe, a pair of fins attached to a rear portion of the airframe, a pair of dihedral braces attached to a bottom portion of the airframe, a first thrust vectoring module and a second thrust vectoring module, and an electronics module. The electronics module provides commands to the two thrust vectoring modules. The two thrust vectoring modules are configured to provide lateral and longitudinal control to the aircraft by directly controlling a thrust vector for each of the pitch, the roll, and the yaw of the aircraft. The use of directly articulated electrical motors as thrust vectoring modules enables the aircraft to execute tight-radius turns over a wide range of airspeeds.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 12, 2014
    Publication date: September 25, 2014
    Applicant: AURORA FLIGHT SCIENCES CORPORATION
    Inventors: ADAM WOODWORTH, Brandon Suarez
  • Patent number: 8838299
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a method of decoupling the mode of automatic following of the lateral profile and the mode of automatic following of the vertical profile of an automatic guidance system of an aircraft (A) flying on a reference trajectory (T). The mode of automatic following of the vertical profile is not disengaged immediately on disengaging the mode of automatic following of the lateral profile. After disengaging the mode of automatic following of the lateral profile, the mode of automatic following of the vertical profile is disengaged automatically only if at least one criterion of lateral separation between the current or short-term position of the aircraft and the lateral profile corresponding to the reference trajectory is satisfied, having regard to the position error.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 4, 2008
    Date of Patent: September 16, 2014
    Assignee: Thales
    Inventors: Guy Deker, Manuel Gutierrez-Castaneda
  • Patent number: 8818581
    Abstract: A method is described that includes performing a), b) and c) below with an electronic control unit of a parafoil: a) after being dropped from an airborne vehicle, wirelessly receiving the parafoil's desired landing location; b) determining a flight path for the parafoil that lands at the desired landing location; and, c) controlling the parafoil's flight path consistently with the determined flight path.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 8, 2011
    Date of Patent: August 26, 2014
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventors: Eugene Bourakov, Oleg Yakimenko
  • Patent number: 8818580
    Abstract: The dialog device includes a display screen, on which are displayed three graphic representations, which are respectively associated with the three control axes of the aircraft, each of said graphic representations comprising a plurality of portions, each of which is associated with a guidance mode of the associated control axis, so that all the possible guidance modes of the guidance system are thus represented, this representation highlighting the fact that the guidance modes are active exclusively on a given guidance axis.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 27, 2012
    Date of Patent: August 26, 2014
    Assignee: Airbus Operations SAS
    Inventors: Pascale Louise-Babando, Delphine Macdonald, Raphaëlle Ankaoua
  • Publication number: 20140231590
    Abstract: A system for performing an aerial display. The system includes a plurality of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and a ground control system with a processor executing a fleet manager module and with memory storing a different flight plan for each of the UAVs. The system further includes a marionette with a body and articulatable appendages attached to the body. The body and appendages are supported with tether lines extending between the marionette and the UAVs. Then, during a display time period, the UAVs concurrently execute the flight plans to position and articulate the marionette within a display air space. In some embodiments, the UAVs each is a multicopter, and each of the multicopters includes a local controller operating to move the multicopter through a series of way points defined by the flight plan associated with the multicopter.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 15, 2013
    Publication date: August 21, 2014
    Applicant: DISNEY ENTERPRISES, INC.
    Inventors: Robert Scott Trowbridge, James Alexander Stark, Clifford Wong
  • Publication number: 20140231591
    Abstract: An aircraft is provided with: an attitude control command calculating section which calculates an attitude control command for target attitude on the basis of a control stick operation amount; a gain value generating section which generates a gain value equal to or less than 1 which decreases as the control stick operation amount is larger; a multiplication section which multiplies the attitude control command for target attitude by the gain value; and a addition section which adds a rate damping control command to the attitude control command for target attitude multiplied by the gain value and outputs a result to a subtraction section for calculating an SAS command.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 12, 2012
    Publication date: August 21, 2014
    Applicant: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
    Inventors: Yosuke Higuchi, Takeshi Matsuda
  • Patent number: 8812180
    Abstract: The vertical profile management device includes a flight management system unit that selects a plurality of successive standard cruise sections, each comprising a level phase and a transition phase. The cruise sections are defined by a plurality of features, including waypoints corresponding to a section starting point and a section ending point, a transition type, a transition mode, a transition speed, a level altitude, and a level speed. The flight management system unit also joins together the successive cruise sections in order to form a vertical profile of a flight plan. The cruise sections are configured to be added, removed, or re-sequenced in the flight plan because each section ending point is configured to be the section starting point of a next cruise section in the series.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 16, 2012
    Date of Patent: August 19, 2014
    Assignee: Airbus Operations (SAS)
    Inventors: Maxime Wachenheim, Pierre Daste, Christophe Bouchet, Alexandre Lanoix, Romain Merat
  • Patent number: 8812176
    Abstract: A balloon is provided having a balloon envelope having a top portion and a bottom portion, a payload positioned beneath the balloon envelope, a moveable plate positioned atop the balloon envelope, a line attached to the moveable plate, and a control system configured to cause the line to be pulled to cause the moveable plate to be pulled towards the bottom portion of the balloon envelope such that the top portion of the balloon envelope is moved towards the bottom portion of the balloon envelope forcing gas out of the balloon envelope such that the balloon envelope is collapsed. The balloon may further include a drag plate positioned beneath the balloon envelope that serves to slow the descent of the payload to the earth.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 31, 2012
    Date of Patent: August 19, 2014
    Assignee: Google Inc.
    Inventors: Clifford Biffle, Richard Wayne DeVaul, Joshua Weaver, Anton Valdemar Staaf, Eric Teller
  • Patent number: 8761961
    Abstract: A method for controlling an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) using an electronic device obtains movement data of the electronic device detected by an accelerometer of the electronic device, and converts the movement data of the electronic device to control signals. The method further sends the control signals to the UAV, and changes a flight status of the UAV according to the control signals.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 20, 2010
    Date of Patent: June 24, 2014
    Assignee: Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Hou-Hsien Lee, Chang-Jung Lee, Chih-Ping Lo
  • Patent number: 8761966
    Abstract: A six degree-of-freedom trajectory linearization controller (TLC) architecture (30) for a fixed-wing aircraft (46) is set forth. The TLC architecture (30) calculates nominal force and moment commands by dynamic inversion of the nonlinear equations of motion. A linear time-varying (LTV) tracking error regulator provides exponential stability of the tracking error dynamics and robustness to model uncertainty and error. The basic control loop includes a closed-loop, LTV stabilizing controller (12), a pseudo-inverse plant model (14), and a nonlinear plant model(16). Four of the basic control loops (34, 36, 40, 42) are nested to form the TLC architecture (30).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 25, 2010
    Date of Patent: June 24, 2014
    Assignee: Ohio University
    Inventors: Jianchao Zhu, Tony M. Adami
  • Publication number: 20140166816
    Abstract: Disclosed herein are example embodiments for automated hazard handling routine engagement. For certain example embodiments, at least one machine, such as an unoccupied flying vehicle (UFV), may: (i) detect at least one motivation to engage at least one automated hazard handling routine of the UFV; or (ii) engage at least one automated hazard handling routine of a UFV based at least partially on at least one motivation. However, claimed subject matter is not limited to any particular described embodiments, implementations, examples, or so forth.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 31, 2012
    Publication date: June 19, 2014
    Applicant: Elwha LLC, a limited liability corporation of the State of Delaware
    Inventor: Elwha LLC, a limited liability corporation of the State of Delaware
  • Publication number: 20140166817
    Abstract: Disclosed herein are example embodiments for inter-vehicle communication for hazard handling with an unoccupied flying vehicle (UFV). For certain example embodiments, at least one machine may: (i) receive one or more flight attributes from a remote UFV, with the one or more flight attributes indicative of one or more flight characteristics of the remote UFV; or (ii) adjust a flight path of a UFV based at least partially on one or more flight attributes received from a remote UFV. However, claimed subject matter is not limited to any particular described embodiments, implementations, examples, or so forth.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 19, 2012
    Publication date: June 19, 2014
    Applicant: Elwha LLC, a limited liability corporation of the State of Delaware
    Inventor: Elwha LLC, a limited liability corporation of the State of Delaware
  • Patent number: 8733707
    Abstract: A method is provided for establishing a physical reference inside an airplane representing the airplane's optimized line of flight based on the as-built orientation of aerodynamically significant features of the airplane. Values generated for aerodynamic pitch, roll and yaw representing the optimized line of flight are used to orient a tool reference surface outside the airplane. The orientation of the tool reference surface is recorded using an inertial reference unit placed on the tool reference surface. The tool reference surface and inertial reference unit are moved into the airplane where they are used to establish the physical reference on the airframe.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 17, 2008
    Date of Patent: May 27, 2014
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventor: Patrick B. Stone
  • Patent number: 8702033
    Abstract: An aircraft control system is described having an Automatic Monitoring System (“AMS”), an Aircraft Parameter Management Computer (“APC”), and a Flight Management Computer (“FMC”) to monitor the parameters of the aircraft automatically and to fly the aircraft without requiring a pilot to fly. The system respond to data within the systems and with data provided by a communication/navigation aid of the airport. The built-in systems of the aircraft process the data to allow pilotless operation of the aircraft along a predetermined route while maintaining proper spacing from prior art and other automated aircraft. An aircraft in accordance with the invention utilizes programmed software, electronics circuit and feedback system to fly the aircraft within the designated/destined routes and airports automatically while providing increased security by preventing accidents caused by incorrect or unauthorized human influence.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 24, 2011
    Date of Patent: April 22, 2014
    Inventor: Ruchit Kumar Regmi
  • Patent number: 8695921
    Abstract: A method of aiding the piloting of an airplane ensures the availability of an automatic pilot and a thrust regulation system on board the airplane. To this end, the method includes determining first information by measuring the actual airspeed of the airplane, and this first information is used to control the automatic pilot and the thrust regulation system in a primary mode during normal operations of the airplane. When the first information is lost by becoming unavailable or unreliable, the automatic pilot and the thrust regulation system are each controlled in a secondary mode by control parameters determined using additional flight data independent from the actual airspeed of the airplane and the first information. Consequently, an alternative or redundant control is supplied for ensuring the continued operation of an automatic pilot without necessary intervention from crew members on board the airplane.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 23, 2011
    Date of Patent: April 15, 2014
    Assignee: Airbus Operations (SAS)
    Inventors: Thierry Bourret, Pascale Louise, Jean Muller, Xavier Dal Santo
  • Patent number: 8700306
    Abstract: Autonomous collision avoidance systems for unmanned aerial vehicles are disclosed. Systems illustratively include a detect and track module, an inertial navigation system, and an auto avoidance module. The detect and track module senses a potential object of collision and generates a moving object track for the potential object of collision. The inertial navigation system provides information indicative of a position and a velocity of the unmanned aerial vehicle. The auto avoidance module receives the moving object track for the potential object of collision and the information indicative of the position and the velocity of the unmanned aerial vehicle. The auto avoidance module utilizes the information to generate a guidance maneuver that facilitates the unmanned aerial vehicle avoiding the potential object of collision.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 4, 2013
    Date of Patent: April 15, 2014
    Assignee: L-3 Unmanned Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Davis S. Duggan, David A. Felio, Craig S. Askew
  • Patent number: 8676403
    Abstract: The present invention relates to methods of controlling the flight path of an aircraft to follow as closely as possible a predetermined four-dimensional flight path, such as when flying continuous descent approaches. A method of controlling an aircraft to follow a predetermined four-dimensional flight path is provided that comprises monitoring an actual along-track position and an actual vertical position of the aircraft relative to corresponding desired positions on the predetermined flight path. Throttle commands are generated based on deviations of the actual vertical position of the aircraft from the desired vertical position. Elevator commands are generated based on the deviation of the actual along-track position from the desired along-track position and on the deviation of the actual vertical position from the desired vertical position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 15, 2010
    Date of Patent: March 18, 2014
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: David Garrido-Lopez, Ramon Gomez Ledesma
  • Publication number: 20140027579
    Abstract: An unmanned aerial vehicle including a controller operating in a search mode of operation where a receiver of an acquisition sensor searches for a target and causes flight control surfaces to guide the vehicle in a downward spiral path, a terminal mode of operation where the acquisition sensor detects a target and causes flight control surfaces to direct the vehicle toward the target, and an activation mode of operation where a trigger sensor detects a target within a predetermined distance to the vehicle and the controller activates a responder.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 8, 2013
    Publication date: January 30, 2014
    Inventors: Gerald Miller, James Stewart
  • Patent number: 8616503
    Abstract: A system for controlling yaw associated with an airship may include one or more vertical control surfaces associated with the airship, a first power source and a second power source, each configured to provide a thrust associated with the airship, and a yaw control configured to receive an input indicative of a desired yaw angle. The system may further include a controller communicatively connected to the yaw control, the one or more vertical control surfaces, and the first and second power sources. The controller may be configured to receive an output signal from the yaw control corresponding to the desired yaw angle and to generate a control signal configured to modify a state associated with at least one of the one or more vertical control surfaces, the first power source, and the second power source, such that the airship substantially attains the desired yaw angle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 11, 2012
    Date of Patent: December 31, 2013
    Assignee: LTA Corporation
    Inventor: Pierre Balaskovic
  • Patent number: 8594864
    Abstract: A torque based power limit cueing system is provided and includes an engine computer to compile data relating to torque and additional information of each of one or more engines, an active stick by which tactile cueing are provided to a pilot and by which the pilot inputs control commands, a multi-function display (MFD) by which visible cues are provided to the pilot and a flight control computer (FCC) operably coupled to the engine computer, the active stick and the multi-function display, the FCC being configured to receive the data from the engine computer and to output tactile cue commands and visible commands in accordance with the torque and the additional information of each of the one or more engines to the active stick and the MFD, respectively.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 24, 2011
    Date of Patent: November 26, 2013
    Assignee: Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
    Inventors: Aaron L. Greenfield, Alex Faynberg, Vineet Sahasrabudhe, John Rucci, Glen Knaust
  • Patent number: 8583352
    Abstract: A method and hold path computation system for automatically generating a hold path for an aircraft flying in a holding pattern, wherein the holding pattern is defined by one or more orbits within a selectable holding area are provided. The system includes a processor configured to receive a hold departure time indicating a time the aircraft is to leave the hold path to meet a required time of arrival (RTA) at a waypoint, determine a present position of the aircraft within the holding pattern, and determine an amount of time to complete a current hold orbit. The processor is also configured such that if the determined amount of time to complete a current hold orbit is less than or equal to the hold departure time, maintain the aircraft flying in the holding pattern and determine an amount of time by which to shorten the next orbit to exit the holding pattern at the hold departure time.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 22, 2010
    Date of Patent: November 12, 2013
    Assignee: GE Aviation Systems, LLC
    Inventors: Joel Kenneth Klooster, Joachim Karl Ulf Hochwarth
  • Patent number: 8548650
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a missile or munition with a hierarchical, modular, closed-loop flow control system, more particularly to aircraft or munition with flow control system for enhanced aerodynamic control, maneuverability and stabilization. The present invention further relates to a method of operating the flow control system. Various embodiments of the flow control system involve elements including flow sensors, active flow control devices or activatable flow effectors, and logic devices with closed loop control architecture. The sensors are used to estimate or determine flow conditions on the surfaces of a missile or munition. The active flow control device or activatable flow effectors create on-demand flow disturbances, preferably micro-disturbances, at different points along the various aerodynamic surfaces of the missile or aircraft to achieve a desired stabilization or maneuverability effect.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 25, 2012
    Date of Patent: October 1, 2013
    Assignee: Orbital Research Inc.
    Inventors: Troy S. Prince, Richard Kolacinski, Mehul Patel
  • Patent number: 8534599
    Abstract: A flight control system includes a dual stage actuator for moving a control surface. Each stage includes several control valves that are controlled independently to provide a desired redundancy. A flight controller generates a position command that is indicative of the position desired for the control surface. A first communication link is provided between several flight controllers to share information. Each of the flight controllers forwards the position command to actuator remote processing unit. The actuator remote processing unit receives position commands and generates a command signal that controls movement of the actuator using the control valves. Each of the actuator remote processing units is linked through a second communication link. Feedback and balancing of the different control valves is provided by the visibility accorded each actuator remote processing unit by the second communication link.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 31, 2011
    Date of Patent: September 17, 2013
    Assignee: Hamilton Sundstrand Corporation
    Inventors: Christopher Noll, Steven A. Avritch
  • Publication number: 20130233975
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for carrying out a symmetric deflection of the spoilers so as to reduce the lift of the aircraft during a takeoff roll thereby improving lateral and directional control on the ground.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 8, 2013
    Publication date: September 12, 2013
    Applicant: Airbus Operations (SAS)
    Inventors: Benoit JOALLAND, Martin DELPORTE
  • Publication number: 20130233964
    Abstract: A tethered unmanned aerial vehicle (“UAV”) may be outfitted with a sensor payload for data gathering. The tethered UAV may be tethered to a ground station for constricting the flight space of the UAV while also providing the option for power delivery and/or bidirectional communications. The tethered UAV's flight path may be extended by introducing one or more secondary UAVs that cooperate to extend the horizontal flight path of a primary UAV. The ground station, which may be coupled with the tethered aerial vehicle, may comprise a listening switch configured to determine a condition of the tether such that the supply of power to the tether may be terminated when tether damage or a tether severance is detected.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 7, 2012
    Publication date: September 12, 2013
    Applicant: AURORA FLIGHT SCIENCES CORPORATION
    Inventors: Adam Woodworth, James Peverill
  • Patent number: 8511602
    Abstract: A ducted fan air-vehicle capable of generating control moments. The ducted fan air-vehicle includes an air duct, a fan, a center body, a plurality of control vanes. The vanes are independently controlled and are deflected in the same direction but at different angles, thereby providing an increased control moments to the vehicle compared to the prior art. The increased pitching moment allows for additional control authority. Additional control authority is useful in forward flight and is especially desirable when the ducted fan air-vehicle is maneuvering in unsteady or turbulent winds or with various types of cargo that may effect the vehicle center of gravity location.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 28, 2010
    Date of Patent: August 20, 2013
    Assignee: Honeywell International Inc.
    Inventors: William T. Campbell, Armand Losinski, Jonathan Fleming
  • Patent number: 8492692
    Abstract: A sonar buoy includes a fuselage having a tube-like shape, one or more wings coupled to the fuselage, an engine coupled to the fuselage and operable to propel the sonar buoy through flight, and a guidance computer operable to direct the sonar buoy to a predetermined location. The sonar buoy further includes a sonar detachably coupled to the fuselage and forming at least a part of the fuselage, and a rocket motor detachably coupled to the fuselage. The one or more wings are operable to be folded into a position to allow the sonar buoy to be disposed within a launch tube coupled to a vehicle and to automatically deploy to an appropriate position for flight after the sonar buoy is launched from the launch tube. The rocket motor propels the sonar buoy from the launch tube and detaches from the fuselage after launch.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 29, 2011
    Date of Patent: July 23, 2013
    Assignee: Elbit Systems of America, LLC
    Inventor: Jeremy F. Fisher
  • Patent number: 8494761
    Abstract: A device and method aids the evaluation of a flight trajectory that is intended to be followed by an aircraft within a constrained environment. The method includes receiving information from a processing unit regarding stationary and moving obstacles, implementing a collision trial based on this information, and displaying any collision risks to the pilot on a display device in the cockpit. Consequently, a pilot can know within the constrained environment whether a flight trajectory needs to be modified to avoid potential collisions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 30, 2011
    Date of Patent: July 23, 2013
    Assignee: Airbus Operations (SAS)
    Inventors: Andrea Giovannini, Thomas Pastre
  • Patent number: 8467916
    Abstract: A method of a flight management system (FMS) of an aircraft for generating an equi-time point (ETP) for an emergency landing of the aircraft includes receiving at least two reference points for landing the aircraft upon an occurrence of an emergency. The method also includes determining an equi-distance point (EDP) for the aircraft by locating a first point on the remaining flight path of the aircraft which is equidistant from the at least two reference points. The method further includes generating an ETP for the aircraft by locating a second point on the remaining flight path such that time difference between any two of expected flight times of the aircraft from the second point to the at least two reference points is less than a threshold value.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 19, 2010
    Date of Patent: June 18, 2013
    Assignee: Airbus Engineering Centre India
    Inventors: Veeresh Kumar Masaru Narasimhulu, Dinesh Kumar Kushwaha
  • Patent number: 8463468
    Abstract: A method of a flight management system (FMS) of an aircraft for computing flight time from an equi-distance point (EDP to a reference point for an emergency landing of the aircraft includes receiving at least two reference points for landing the aircraft upon an occurrence of an emergency and determining a remaining flight path for the aircraft based on a current location of the aircraft and a flight plan serviced by the FMS. Further, the method includes generating the EDP for the aircraft by locating a point in the remaining flight path, and calculating an expected flight time of the aircraft from the EDP to each of the at least two reference points based on a plurality of factors affecting the flight time of the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 19, 2010
    Date of Patent: June 11, 2013
    Assignee: Airbus Engineering Centre India
    Inventors: Veeresh Kumar Masaru Narasimhulu, Dinesh Kumar Kushwaha
  • Patent number: 8457872
    Abstract: The invention relates to a method for managing the flight of an aircraft flying along a trajectory and being subject to an absolute time constraint (on a downstream point) or relative time constraint (spacing with respect to a downstream aircraft), the said aircraft comprising a flight management system calculating a temporal discrepancy to the said time constraint, wherein the said method includes the following steps: the calculation of a distance on the basis of the temporal discrepancy, the modification of the trajectory: if the temporal discrepancy to the time constraint corresponds to an advance, the lengthening of the trajectory by the distance; if the temporal discrepancy to the time constraint corresponds to a delay, the shortening of the trajectory by the distance.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 23, 2010
    Date of Patent: June 4, 2013
    Assignee: Thales
    Inventor: Guy Deker
  • Patent number: 8428793
    Abstract: According to an example embodiment, a method includes receiving an emergency status signal indicating that an aircraft is in an emergency condition, formatting a downlink message in response to receiving the emergency status signal, the downlink message describing the emergency condition and an autopilot response to the emergency condition, and transmitting the downlink message to a controller of the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 31, 2007
    Date of Patent: April 23, 2013
    Assignee: Honeywell International Inc.
    Inventor: W. Jerry Mettes
  • Patent number: 8414260
    Abstract: A control system and method of controlling a propeller aircraft engine during takeoff limits the amount of engine power developed at the very beginning of the takeoff in order to maximize thrust and minimize rollout distances. The control system limits the amount of power developed by the engine, even in the face of a nominal demand by the pilot for maximum engine power. Instead, the control system provides something significantly less than full power at the beginning of takeoff and gradually increases the power developed by the engine to full power as the airspeed increases. This gradual increase from partial engine power toward full power helps prevent stalling of the propeller, thereby maximizing the effectiveness of the propeller and engine in assisting the aircraft to takeoff quickly. The control system is particularly helpful for taking off from high-altitude runways.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 25, 2006
    Date of Patent: April 9, 2013
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventor: James R. Johnson
  • Patent number: 8417395
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a missile or aircraft with a hierarchical, modular, closed-loop flow control system and more particularly to aircraft or missile with a flow control system for enhanced aerodynamic control, maneuverability and stabilization. The present invention further relates to a method of operating the flow control system. Various embodiments of the flow control system of the present invention involve different elements including flow sensors, active flow control device or activatable flow effectors and logic devices with closed loop control architecture. The sensors of these various embodiments are used to estimate or determine flow conditions on the various surfaces of a missile or aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 1, 2003
    Date of Patent: April 9, 2013
    Assignee: Orbitol Research Inc.
    Inventors: Troy Prince, Richard Kolacinski, Mehul Patel
  • Publication number: 20130048792
    Abstract: A turret assembly for attachment on the undersurface of an aircraft that reduces performance limitations due to gimbal lock and reduces the cross section profile of the assembly. The assembly includes a roll actuator including a drive shaft. A yoke having a cross member is coupled to the drive shaft and a pair of prongs. The yoke is rotated via the roll actuator and drive shaft along a roll axis oriented substantially parallel to the body of the aircraft. A turret is mounted on the prongs of the yoke. A tilt actuator is contained within the turret. The tilt actuator tilts the turret on a tilt axis relative to the yoke. The tilt axis is perpendicular to the roll axis.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 29, 2011
    Publication date: February 28, 2013
    Applicant: AeroVironment, Inc.
    Inventors: Thomas Szarek, Thomas Omer, Manolis Pavlos Dimotakis, Jefferson C. McBride
  • Publication number: 20130043353
    Abstract: A system for controlling yaw associated with an airship may include one or more vertical control surfaces associated with the airship, a first power source and a second power source, each configured to provide a thrust associated with the airship, and a yaw control configured to receive an input indicative of a desired yaw angle. The system may further include a controller communicatively connected to the yaw control, the one or more vertical control surfaces, and the first and second power sources. The controller may be configured to receive an output signal from the yaw control corresponding to the desired yaw angle and to generate a control signal configured to modify a state associated with at least one of the one or more vertical control surfaces, the first power source, and the second power source, such that the airship substantially attains the desired yaw angle.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 11, 2012
    Publication date: February 21, 2013
    Applicant: LTA CORPORATION
    Inventor: LTA CORPORATION
  • Patent number: 8376266
    Abstract: A method of controlling the yaw attitude of a hybrid helicopter including a fuselage and an additional lift surface provided with first and second half-wings extending from either side of the fuselage, each half-wing being provided with a respective first or second propeller. The hybrid helicopter has a thrust control suitable for modifying the first pitch of the first blades of the first propeller and the second pitch of the second blades of the second propeller by the same amount. The hybrid helicopter includes yaw control elements for generating an original order for modifying the yaw attitude of the hybrid helicopter by increasing the pitch of the blades of one propeller and decreasing the pitch of the blades of the other propeller, the original order is optimized as a function of the position of the thrust control to obtain an optimized yaw control order that is applied to the first and second blades.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 5, 2010
    Date of Patent: February 19, 2013
    Assignee: Eurocopter
    Inventors: Bernard Gemmati, Nicolas Queiras, Paul Eglin
  • Patent number: 8379087
    Abstract: Vehicle attitude is estimated relative to a ground surface over which the vehicle is traveling. An actual image of the ground surface over which the vehicle is traveling is compared with stored or predicted model images of the ground surface. The model images have corresponding known vehicle attitudes associated therewith. For one of the model images that most closely matches the actual image, the known vehicle attitude associated therewith is an estimate of an actual vehicle attitude relative to the ground surface over which the vehicle is traveling.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 16, 2007
    Date of Patent: February 19, 2013
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventor: Richard Rikoski
  • Patent number: 8380425
    Abstract: Autonomous collision avoidance systems for unmanned aerial vehicles are disclosed. Systems illustratively include a detect and track module, an inertial navigation system, and an auto avoidance module. The detect and track module senses a potential object of collision and generates a moving object track for the potential object of collision. The inertial navigation system provides information indicative of a position and a velocity of the unmanned aerial vehicle. The auto avoidance module receives the moving object track for the potential object of collision and the information indicative of the position and the velocity of the unmanned aerial vehicle. The auto avoidance module utilizes the information to generate a guidance maneuver that facilitates the unmanned aerial vehicle avoiding the potential object of collision.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 13, 2010
    Date of Patent: February 19, 2013
    Assignee: L-3 Unmanned Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: David S. Duggan, David A. Felio, Craig S. Askew
  • Patent number: 8366054
    Abstract: An unmanned aerial vehicle including a controller operating in a search mode of operation where a receiver of an acquisition sensor searches for a target and causes flight control surfaces to guide the vehicle in a downward spiral path, a terminal mode of operation where the acquisition sensor detects a target and causes flight control surfaces to direct the vehicle toward the target, and an activation mode of operation where a trigger sensor detects a target within a predetermined distance to the vehicle and the controller activates a responder.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 17, 2009
    Date of Patent: February 5, 2013
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventors: Gerald Miller, James Stewart
  • Patent number: 8332080
    Abstract: The invention relates to a method and device to assist in navigation in an airport sector. The inventive method and device make it possible to automatically calculate the points of intersection between the path of the flight plan and the zones having speed limitations all around an airport and calculate a speed profile conforming to these limitations. The inventive method and device also make it possible to use an automatic guidance automatically defining flight instructions corresponding to the calculated speed profile. Furthermore, the invention calculates predictions concerning the flight parameters.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 6, 2008
    Date of Patent: December 11, 2012
    Assignee: Thales
    Inventors: Manuel Gutierrez-Castaneda, Stéphane Paris
  • Publication number: 20120280087
    Abstract: In accordance with particular embodiments, a system includes a path creation module configured to create future flight paths for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Each future flight path comprises one or more branch points marking changes in the UAV's flight path. The system also includes a display that is configured to present a graphical user interface that may include a 3D view of a geographic area; flight paths; and a menu of commands. The system also includes a gamepad that may include two thumb-sticks to adjust the displayed geographic area and the perspective of the displayed geographic area. The gamepad also includes time buttons configured to scroll through a flight time that begins with a current actual time and ends with the end of the UAV's flight. The gamepad further includes buttons configured to select a command from the menu and to select a first future flight path of the one or more future flight paths to be sent to the UAV.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 3, 2011
    Publication date: November 8, 2012
    Applicant: Raytheon Company
    Inventors: Jason R. Coffman, Lee Solomon
  • Patent number: 8292234
    Abstract: A system operates to guide an aircraft to or along a route designed to maintain the aircraft within a safe glide distance of an acceptable —radar or radio coverage—area. The system uses a database of —radar or radio coverage—areas with glide characteristics of an aircraft to determine a route that minimizes travel time or other specified parameter, while keeping the aircraft within a safe glide distance of a —radar or radio coverage—area in the database meeting the —radar or radio coverage—requirements for the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 27, 2011
    Date of Patent: October 23, 2012
    Assignee: Hoshiko Limited Liability Company
    Inventor: Gary Stephen Shuster
  • Publication number: 20120248254
    Abstract: In the method of communication on a vehicle including an aircraft or a spacecraft, the vehicle transmits an electromagnetic signal from at least one transmitter on-board the vehicle directly to at least one receiver on-board the vehicle and with transmission taking place solely through an environment outside the vehicle. Transmission takes place several times over, and during transmission at least one member from the group including the transmitter and the receiver is set into movement relative to a support in direct contact with the member and with a portion of the vehicle carrying the member.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 22, 2012
    Publication date: October 4, 2012
    Applicant: AIRBUS
    Inventor: Jean-Paul DOMERGUE