Airplanes, Weight Diminished By Bouyant Gas Patents (Class 244/5)
  • Patent number: 9751614
    Abstract: An aircraft has wings configured to twist during flight. Inboard and outboard propulsion devices, such as turbofans or other propulsors, are connected to each wing, and are spaced along the wing span. A flight controller independently controls thrust of the inboard and outboard propulsion devices to significantly change flight dynamics, including changing thrust of outboard propulsion devices to twist the wing, and to differentially apply thrust on each wing to change yaw and other aspects of the aircraft during various stages of a flight mission. One or more generators can be positioned upon the wing to provide power for propulsion devices on the same wing, and on an opposite wing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 31, 2015
    Date of Patent: September 5, 2017
    Assignee: The United States of America as Represented by the Administrator of NASA
    Inventors: Nhan T. Nguyen, Kevin Wayne Reynolds, Eric B. Ting
  • Patent number: 9284059
    Abstract: A hybrid aircraft (1) having a fuselage (2) extending longitudinally along an anteroposterior plane of symmetry (PSYM) from the rear (4) of the aircraft (1) towards the front (3) of the aircraft (1). The aircraft (1) has a rotary wing (6) carried by the fuselage (2) of a lift surface (10) fastened to the fuselage (2) and constituted by a first half-wing (11) and a second half-wing (12). The aircraft (1) has a first propulsion unit (30) carried by the first half-wing (11) and a second propulsion unit (40) carried by the second half-wing (12). Each propulsion unit (30, 40) includes at least one tractor propeller (31, 32, 41, 42), and at least one propulsion unit has two propellers (31-32, 41-42) on the same axis, each of said propellers rotating about an axis of rotation (AX) that is offset transversely from said anteroposterior plane of symmetry (PSYM).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 30, 2014
    Date of Patent: March 15, 2016
    Assignee: Airbus Helicopters
    Inventor: Pierre Prud'Homme-Lacroix
  • Patent number: 9272789
    Abstract: A hybrid aircraft (1) having a fuselage (2) extending longitudinally along an anteroposterior plane of symmetry (PSYM) from the rear (4) of the aircraft (1) towards the front (3) of the aircraft (1). The aircraft (1) has a rotary wing (6) carried by the fuselage (2) of a lift surface (10) fastened to the fuselage (2) and constituted by a first half-wing (11) and a second half-wing (12). The aircraft (1) has a first propulsion unit (30) carried by the first half-wing (11) and a second propulsion unit (40) carried by the second half-wing (12). Each propulsion unit (30, 40) includes at least one tractor propeller (31, 32, 41, 42), and at least one propulsion unit has two propellers (31-32, 41-42) on the same axis, each of said propellers rotating about an axis of rotation (AX) that is offset transversely from said anteroposterior plane of symmetry (PSYM).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 30, 2014
    Date of Patent: March 1, 2016
    Assignee: Airbus Helicopters
    Inventor: Pierre Prud'Homme-Lacroix
  • Patent number: 9266597
    Abstract: An airship hull is provided that is sufficiently light and cost effective so as to make lifting body type airships practical vehicles for carrying people and cargo. The present invention hull design includes three main structural features, i.e., a rigid internal main frame which carries all primary moment and shear loads induced in the vehicle, the vehicle's skin which forms a semi-rigid barrier membrane for the lighter-than-air lifting gas, and a rigid aeroshell frame interposed between the main frame and the skin. The aeroshell frame and skin, in combination, are referred to as the aeroshell. The aeroshell carries the aerodynamic pressure loads induced on the airship.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 1, 2011
    Date of Patent: February 23, 2016
    Assignee: WORLDWIDE AEROS CORPORATION
    Inventors: Igor Pasternak, Eugene Nemirovsky, Mansoor Kouchak
  • Patent number: 9096312
    Abstract: An aircraft (40). The aircraft (40) comprises a propulsion system comprising a pair of internal combustion engines (10) each driving an electrical power generator (56), each electrical power generator (56) being electrically coupled to a plurality of electrically driven propulsors (46). The propulsors (46) are located forward of a leading edge (45) of the wings (44) such that an airstream generated by the propulsors flows over the wings (44) in use. Each internal combustion engine (10) and electrical generator (56) is mounted on a respective wing (44) outboard of a center of thrust (70) of the propulsors (46) on that wing (44).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 10, 2014
    Date of Patent: August 4, 2015
    Assignee: ROLLS-ROYCE PLC
    Inventor: Matthew Moxon
  • Patent number: 9026274
    Abstract: An apparatus is described comprising: at least one processor; and memory storing instructions that, when executed by the at least one processor, cause the apparatus to: regulate an operation of a motor based at least in part on a control imposed on an output torque of the motor and a rate of change of a speed of the motor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 31, 2012
    Date of Patent: May 5, 2015
    Assignee: Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
    Inventors: Jonathan Hartman, Timothy Fred Lauder, Russell L. Halstead, Christopher L. Winslow, Michael L. Hardy
  • Patent number: 8864068
    Abstract: A landing system for an air vehicle with vertical takeoff and landing capability is provided that comprises a set of selectively pressurizeable upper and lower air chambers surrounded by a connecting curtain assembly. The upper and lower air chambers are each continuous having elongated right and left cylindrical center sections interconnected by semicircular sections at each end. The landing system is connected to the air vehicle by a catenary system connected to the upper air chamber. The landing system can adjust pressure in each individual set of landing chambers such that the attitude of the vehicle can be adjusted to clear uneven ground or assist with loading and offloading. The system is capable of absorbing energy during vertical landings. After landing, the system is capable of providing suction between the air vehicle and the ground to stabilize the air vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 2, 2012
    Date of Patent: October 21, 2014
    Assignee: Worldwide Aeros Corporation
    Inventor: Igor Pasternak
  • Patent number: 8177159
    Abstract: A rescue aircraft having a rigid body with gas-filled envelopes and propulsion devices located inside rotatable aerodynamic toroidal modules. A longitudinal through passage in the lower part of the aircraft connects a crew cabin, a cargo-and-passenger compartment, fuel tanks, and accessories. The aircraft has exit hatches, mooring devices, and a gangway with railings and a removable cart. The aircraft also has a cross passage with exits onto its wings and a vertical passage with a pulley and other devices for lowering and lifting people and cargo. The lower part of the aircraft and hollow wings are filled with a foamed plastic for buoyancy and strength.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 22, 2009
    Date of Patent: May 15, 2012
    Inventors: Boris V. Khakimov, Alexandr N. Chernikov, German V. Demidov, Rustem Z. Khamitov
  • Patent number: 8113459
    Abstract: An aircraft comprising an elongated framework provided with propelling means and direction-control planes. The framework is coupled to a pneumatic chamber suited to be filled with lighter-than-air gas and comprising two tubular branches joined to form a V-shaped profile, with an aerodinamic-lift surface extending therebetween.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 7, 2005
    Date of Patent: February 14, 2012
    Assignee: Nimbus S.R.L.
    Inventor: Alfredo Capuani
  • Patent number: 8033497
    Abstract: An airship comprises a shell, a gas storage system, an air storage system, a cargo storage system, a heating system, and a propulsion system. The shell encompasses a volume. The gas storage system is located within the volume, wherein the gas storage system is capable of storing a lighter than air gas. The air storage system is located within the volume, wherein the air storage system is capable of storing heated air. The heating system is capable of heating air. The propulsion system is capable of propelling the shell during flight.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 2, 2008
    Date of Patent: October 11, 2011
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: David W. Kwok, Blaine Knight Rawdon, John Anthony Skorupa
  • Publication number: 20100140388
    Abstract: An aircraft air cushion landing system (2) includes a skirt (6) defining a plenum (22) on an underside of the aircraft, a plenum fan (26) arranged to induce an airflow into the plenum (22) and controller configured to control operation of the plenum fan (26). The controller includes a sensor (30) adapted to sense an imminent landing event and a fan control system (28) configured to automatically operate the plenum fan (26) to provide a first flow in a first direction out of the plenum (22) so that as the skirt (6) engages a landing surface air is being evacuated from the plenum (22). A method also operates such a system (2).
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 22, 2009
    Publication date: June 10, 2010
    Applicant: Air Cushion Landing Systems Limited
    Inventors: Russell John London, Malcolm John COX
  • Publication number: 20080185475
    Abstract: A solar-powered aircraft uses solar energy to electrolyze on-board water to produce hydrogen. The hydrogen fills various on-board tanks, causing the aircraft to become lighter than air. The hydrogen is also used to operate a fuel cell which provides power for electrical equipment, including a motor for turning a propeller. Water produced as waste by the fuel cell is recycled for use in the production of hydrogen. When hydrogen is removed from the tanks, either because it is consumed by the fuel cell or because it is compressed and pumped out of the tanks, air returns to the tanks, and the aircraft becomes heavier than air. The aircraft can thus be made to climb and descend by making it lighter than air, or heavier than air. The aircraft emits no harmful substances into the environment. The aircraft can remain aloft indefinitely, limited only by an insignificant amount of leakage of hydrogen and water.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 9, 2007
    Publication date: August 7, 2008
    Inventor: Howard J. Fuller
  • Patent number: 7219854
    Abstract: A “wing in ground effect” aerial vehicle includes a wing mounted on a fuselage, and two cycloidal propulsion units for providing lift, thrust and longitudinal control. Additional lift is provided by a lighter-than-air gas such as helium contained in the fuselage. Operationally, the two cycloidal propulsion units and the volume of lighter-than-air gas are concertedly regulated to achieve “wing in ground effect” flight. Importantly, the two cycloidal propulsion units may operate in one of several modes, to include a curtate mode, a prolate mode, and a fixed-wing mode. Additionally, the vehicle may hover. Also, a thruster unit is mounted on the fuselage for providing forward thrust in combination with, or in lieu of, the two cycloidal propulsion units.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 4, 2005
    Date of Patent: May 22, 2007
    Assignee: Information Systems Laboratories, Inc.
    Inventors: James H. Boschma, Jr., Michael McNabb
  • Patent number: 7073749
    Abstract: An airship deployment system comprises an airship of unique shape having laminar flow over this shape to enable low power propulsion, capable remote control, comprising an inflatable body; a propeller assembly for station keeping and repositioning said airship and capable of being folded into a compacted position and unfolded into an operational position; and a payload, comprising gas for inflating said inflatable body; and means for transferring data between said airship and a remote location; and a missile for carrying said airship in a compacted state to a predetermined location and altitude, and releasing said airship at said predetermined location and altitude. When said airship is released from said missile said inflatable body is inflated and said propeller assembly is unfolded into said operational position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 16, 2004
    Date of Patent: July 11, 2006
    Assignee: The Johns Hopkins University
    Inventors: Jerry A. Krill, Michael W. Roth, Frederick W. Riedel, Matthew R. Feinstein, William T. Mason, III, Margaret Ann Darrin, Rafal P. Szczepanowski, Vincent F. Neradka
  • Patent number: 7036768
    Abstract: A multi-purpose airship usable for multi-purposes with less maintenance cost is provided. The multi-purpose airship comprises an operator cabin (1) to which a work device of agricultural chemical scattering device (10) or the like is fittable, a rotor (4) fitted to a top of the operator cabin (1) and having rotor blades of plural stages (or coaxial rotors) of which fitting angle (or pitch) is adjustable to generate a lifting force and propulsive force, a balloon (5) detachably fitted to a top of the rotor (4) and filled with gas lighter than air to generate a lifting force, a stabilizing wing (2) elongating horizontally from each side of the operator cabin (1) and a propulsion device (3) comprising a propeller device or jet engine fitted to a distal end of the stabilizing wing (2) to vary a thrust direction between the horizontal direction and the vertical direction.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 30, 2004
    Date of Patent: May 2, 2006
    Inventor: Mutsuro Bundo
  • Patent number: 6982655
    Abstract: Method and indicator for displaying information showing the airspeed tolerance margins for an aircraft. The indicator comprises a central processing unit which selects, from a plurality of longitudinal scales, the longitudinal scale representative of the current aerodynamic configuration of the aircraft and a display means which presents on a display screen the selected longitudinal scale, which is mobile in the longitudinal direction, and whose position on the display screen depends on the current angle of attack of the aircraft, shown by a characteristic marker in a fixed position on the display screen across the longitudinal scale, the latter scrolling up and down relative to the characteristic marker as a function of the current angle of attack of the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 16, 2004
    Date of Patent: January 3, 2006
    Assignee: Airbus France
    Inventors: Pascal Vialleton, Martin Delporte, Jean-Christophe Reinmuth, Jacques Rosay
  • Patent number: 6892981
    Abstract: The Duffel Bag Airplane is an inflatable flying wing unmanned airborne vehicle (UAV). The fuselage will house everything but the wings. The wing can be rolled up around the fuselage into a small package when deflated for easy transportation, such as by being carried in a duffle bag. Fabric construction, a small internal combustion engine with cooled exhaust, and wing warping controls combine to make the airplane inexpensive and extremely stealthy. All the usual signatures have been suppressed, which allow it to be used to make observations from close range under combat conditions. Control of this airplane is accomplished by warping the wings and is supplemented with stability augmentation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 8, 2003
    Date of Patent: May 17, 2005
    Inventor: Jay Lipeles
  • Patent number: 6860449
    Abstract: An aircraft has a flying wing and two wingtip hulls installed on the wingtips of the flying wing. Both of the wingtip hulls contain lighter-than-air gas to generate static lift. These wingtip hulls not only contribute to lift-generating but also help the aircraft achieve roll stability and control. Forward propulsion systems are installed at the upper-front positions of the flying wing. When vertical and/or short take-off and landing (V/STOL) capability is required, one or more lift-fan propulsion systems can be installed on the flying wing. The lift-fan propulsion systems can either be driven by their own engines or by the power transmitted from the forward propulsion systems. Payload can be carried inside the flying wing or be hung under or held above the flying wing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 16, 2002
    Date of Patent: March 1, 2005
    Inventor: Zhuo Chen
  • Patent number: 6848647
    Abstract: A method wherein a vehicle is capable of movement on or over land, and/or on, over, or under water. Various body, wing, tail, and/or outrigger shapes facilitate movement and develop lift. Buoyancy or semi-buoyancy is developed utilizing various chambers to contain controlled volumes of gaseous or liquid substances. Motion is augmented by propulsion or repulsion mechanisms, including pressurized liquid stream jet (PJET) propulsion. The vehicle is capable of modifying its shape and/or the curvature of various parts, such as wings, tails, and/or outriggers, by manipulating the internal skeleton, the internal compartments supporting the external surfaces, and/or the internal pressure of the shape. Control Agents with mechanized or manual support manage the vehicle's operations controlling various movement particular information, as well as baseline algorithms, such as wind speed, currents, and location.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 4, 2002
    Date of Patent: February 1, 2005
    Assignee: Testing Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: H. Victoria Albrecht
  • Publication number: 20040118969
    Abstract: Disclosed is an aircraft, configured to have a wide range of flight speeds, consuming low levels of power for an extended period of time, while supporting a communications platform with an unobstructed downward-looking view. The aircraft includes an extendable slat at the leading edge of the wing, and a reflexed trailing edge. The aircraft comprises a flying wing extending laterally between two ends and a center point. The wing is swept and has a relatively constant chord. The aircraft also includes a power module configured to provide power via a fuel cell. The fuel cell stores liquid hydrogen as fuel, but uses gaseous hydrogen in the fuel cell. A fuel tank heater is used to control the boil-rate of the fuel in the fuel tank. The fuel cell compresses ambient air for an oxidizer, and operates with the fuel and oxidizer at pressures below one atmosphere. The aircraft of the invention includes a support structure including a plurality of supports, where the supports form a tetrahedron that affixes to the wing.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 20, 2003
    Publication date: June 24, 2004
    Inventors: Paul B. MacCready, Bart D. Hibbs, Kyle D. Swanson, Robert F. Curtin
  • Publication number: 20040084565
    Abstract: A method wherein a vehicle is capable of movement on or over land, and/or on, over, or under water. Various body, wing, tail, and/or outrigger shapes facilitate movement and develop lift. Buoyancy or semi-buoyancy is developed utilizing various chambers to contain controlled volumes of gaseous or liquid substances. Motion is augmented by propulsion or repulsion mechanisms, including pressurized liquid stream jet (PJET) propulsion. The vehicle is capable of modifying its shape and/or the curvature of various parts, such as wings, tails, and/or outriggers, by manipulating the internal skeleton, the internal compartments supporting the external surfaces, and/or the internal pressure of the shape. Control Agents with mechanized or manual support manage the vehicle's operations controlling various movement particular information, as well as baseline algorithms, such as wind speed, currents, and location.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 4, 2002
    Publication date: May 6, 2004
    Inventor: H. Victoria Albrecht
  • Patent number: 6565037
    Abstract: An aircraft includes an aircraft body that retains gas that is lighter than air and rotates about a vertical axis, and a cargo carrier attached to the body so that the carrier does not rotate with the body. The aircraft includes one or more propulsion devices that cause the aircraft body to rotate and to move laterally through air. The propulsion devices use gas retained in the aircraft body as fuel. One or more wings may extend from the body, which control the vertical motion of the aircraft during travel. A computerized navigation system is provided with the aircraft to permit the aircraft to be preprogrammed to travel a desired travel path, or to permit the aircraft to be remote controlled. The electronic components of the aircraft are powered by one or more power supplies, which may also act as ballast weights to raise the center of gravity of the aircraft as it spins, and to maintain tension on the aircraft body as fuel is consumed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 4, 2002
    Date of Patent: May 20, 2003
    Inventor: Gregory P. Tonkovich
  • Publication number: 20020070312
    Abstract: Disclosed is an aircraft, configured to have a wide range of flight speeds, consuming low levels of power for an extended period of time, while supporting a communications platform with an unobstructed downward-looking view. The aircraft includes an extendable slat at the leading edge of the wing, and a reflexed trailing edge. The aircraft comprises a flying wing extending laterally between two ends and a center point. The wing is swept and has a relatively constant chord. The aircraft also includes a power module configured to provide power via a fuel cell. The fuel cell stores liquid hydrogen as fuel, but uses gaseous hydrogen in the fuel cell. A fuel tank heater is used to control the boil-rate of the fuel in the fuel tank. The aircraft of the invention includes a support structure including a plurality of supports, where the supports form a tetrahedron that affixes to the wing.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 11, 2002
    Publication date: June 13, 2002
    Inventors: Paul B. MacCready, Bart D. Hibbs, Robert F. Curtin, Kyle D. Swanson, Paul Belik
  • Publication number: 20020070313
    Abstract: Disclosed is an aircraft, configured to have a wide range of flight speeds, consuming low levels of power for an extended period of time, while supporting a communications platform with an unobstructed downward-looking view. The aircraft includes an extendable slat at the leading edge of the wing, and a reflexed trailing edge. The aircraft comprises a flying wing extending laterally between two ends and a center point. The wing is swept and has a relatively constant chord. The aircraft also includes a power module configured to provide power via a fuel cell. The fuel cell stores liquid hydrogen as fuel, but uses gaseous hydrogen in the fuel cell. A fuel tank heater is used to control the boil-rate of the fuel in the fuel tank. The aircraft of the invention includes a support structure including a plurality of supports, where the supports form a tetrahedron that affixes to the wing.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 11, 2002
    Publication date: June 13, 2002
    Inventors: Paul B. MacCready, Bart D. Hibbs, Robert F. Curtin, Kyle D. Swanson, Paul Belik
  • Publication number: 20020005454
    Abstract: Disclosed is an aircraft, configured to have a wide range of flight speeds, consuming low levels of power for an extended period of time, while supporting a communications platform with an unobstructed downward-looking view. The aircraft includes an extendable slat at the leading edge of the wing, and a reflexed trailing edge. The aircraft comprises a flying wing extending laterally between two ends and a center point. The wing is swept and has a relatively constant chord. The aircraft also includes a power module configured to provide power via a fuel cell. The fuel cell stores liquid hydrogen as fuel, but uses gaseous hydrogen in the fuel cell. A fuel tank heater is used to control the boil-rate of the fuel in the fuel tank. The aircraft of the invention includes a support structure including a plurality of supports, where the supports form a tetrahedron that affixes to the wing.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 3, 2001
    Publication date: January 17, 2002
    Inventors: Paul B. MacCready, Bart D. .Hibbs, Robert F. Curtin, Kyle D. Swanson, Paul Belik
  • Patent number: 6196498
    Abstract: The invention is a non-ridged, semi-buoyant vehicle. In detail, the invention includes a pressure stabilized gasbag having front and rear ends and an aerodynamic shape capable of producing lift, and longitudinal, vertical and horizontal axis, the tail end of the gasbag extending outward along the horizontal axis from each side of the longitudinal axis toward said front end at an acute angle to the horizontal axis. A horizontal tail surface is mounted outboard of the rear end of the gasbag, having a trailing edge extending outward along the horizontal axis from each side of the longitudinal axis toward the front end at the acute angle to the horizontal axis. A horizontal ridged beam is mounted outboard of the rear end of the gasbag that extends outward along the horizontal axis from each side of the longitudinal axis toward the front end at the acute angle to the horizontal axis with the horizontal tail surface mounted to the beam. The preferred acute angle is approximately 20 degrees.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 21, 1999
    Date of Patent: March 6, 2001
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventors: David B. Eichstedt, John P. Morehead, John B. Kalisz
  • Patent number: 6164589
    Abstract: A partially buoyant aircraft capable of transporting very large cargo payloads comprises a lifting body with an exterior airfoil configuration that includes internal structural support members for an exterior skin, the skin defining an internal volume for storing the cargo, propulsion apparatus, flight stabilization apparatus on a portion of the lifting body, lift assisting apparatus carried within the lifting body, and landing gear arranged in close proximity to the longitudinal centerline of the lifting body. Each landing gear comprises a wheel supported by a cylinder set including upper and lower telescoping cylinders, the upper cylinders of the wheels being ported together to operate as a single element.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 17, 1999
    Date of Patent: December 26, 2000
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventor: John Kalisz
  • Patent number: 6016991
    Abstract: An aircraft utilizes a buoyant evacuated rotating envelope to provide at least a portion of the lift required. The rotating envelope may be in the form of a disk, cylinder or other suitable shape. In one embodiment, an evacuated rotating envelope in the form of a disk is utilized. The disk is provided with a central core tube with at least one jet engine mounted therein. The deflection of the exhaust causes rotation of the envelope. A non-rotating payload compartment is mounted to the rotating envelope by bearings. Structures are provided for deflecting the exhaust to be utilized for lateral propulsion as well as for stabilizing the payload compartment to prevent rotation. Two other embodiments utilize rotating cylinders which may be rotated either by a jet engine mounted within a core tube or by an off center jet engine which drives the cylinder.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 24, 1997
    Date of Patent: January 25, 2000
    Inventor: Charles S. Lowe, Jr.
  • Patent number: 5683060
    Abstract: An air vehicle that includes a body lower portion, a body intermediate portion, body lower portion, a solar panel, elevating apparatus, gimbling apparatus, and inflatable landing gear. The body lower portion has a body lower portion outer surface and contains a body lower portion chamber. The body intermediate portion has a body intermediate portion upper surface and contains a body intermediate portion chamber. The body intermediate portion is connected to the body lower portion. The body upper portion contains a body upper portion chamber and is displaced a distance above the body intermediate portion. The solar panel has a solar panel outer surface and contains a solar panel void. The solar panel connects the body upper portion to the body intermediate portion. The elevating apparatus raises and lowers the air vehicle and is disposed within the body upper portion chamber.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 9, 1995
    Date of Patent: November 4, 1997
    Inventor: Miguel A. Iturralde
  • Patent number: 5527000
    Abstract: A duplex complementary carrier includes a flight vehicle floating above the ground, a control system moving on the ground for controlling movement of the flight vehicle, and a connecting system connecting between the control system and the flight vehicle. When the control system is moving on the ground, the flight vehicle above the ground is able to follow movement of the control system due to the connection provided by the connecting system such that the pressure of the control system on the ground and the frictional force of the ground on the control system are reduced by the buoyancy of the flight vehicle. The flight vehicle is able to move above the ground stably by the directing and guiding effects of the control system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 2, 1994
    Date of Patent: June 18, 1996
    Inventors: Yeong-Shyeong Tsai, Wang-Jr Li
  • Patent number: 5518205
    Abstract: A novel, high-altitude, solar powered aircraft, capable of staying aloft at high altitudes for many months or even years to conduct around the clock surveillance and/or reconnaisance, includes a forward wing with solar energy capturing cells, a rear wing, inflated pontoons for keeping the aircraft aloft, suspension wires attached to the pontoons, a gondola suspended from and connected to the wires, control apparatus for moving the gondola along the wires, shifting the weight of the aircraft and thereby enabling banking to optimize exposure of the solar cells to the rays of the sun. The gondola preferably contains a sensor suite, power generating and storage apparatus, and synthetic aperture radar imaging apparatus.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 6, 1994
    Date of Patent: May 21, 1996
    Assignee: Rockwell International Corporation
    Inventors: Stephen G. Wurst, Ray H. Bartlett, III, David S. Wright
  • Patent number: 5425515
    Abstract: The object of the invention is to provide an aircraft which is capable of being enhanced in speed and preventing a crash even when a propeller does not operate to provide thrust to the aircraft. A wing which is an envelope made of a flexible material is comprised on an upper side of a aircraft body, and is filled with a gas with a specific gravity less than that of air. Moreover, the aircraft body is provided with a propeller.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 3, 1994
    Date of Patent: June 20, 1995
    Inventor: Tokuzo Hirose
  • Patent number: 5351911
    Abstract: A flying disc capable of vertical takeoff, hovering, or powered horizontal flight. The aircraft configuration comprises a circular disc-like airfoil-shaped wing structure having a convex upper surface and a concave lower surface with a leading edge and a trailing edge. At least one thrust-producing unit is attached at each of the leading and trailing edges, respectively. A plurality of other thrust-producing units are mounted symmetrically about the circular wing structure. Each thrust-producing unit has attached thereto a thrust deflector assembly for angularly adjusting the thrust produced by the thrust-producing unit, thereby allowing the aircraft to fly both vertically and horizontally. A substantial volume of helium gas is stored encompassing the inner upper hull of the aircraft, thereby giving the flying disc greater lift capacity. The outer skin of the upper surface consists essentially of a plurality of solar panels for delivering power to a multiplicity of devices.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 6, 1993
    Date of Patent: October 4, 1994
    Inventor: George A. Neumayr
  • Patent number: 5104060
    Abstract: A closed-system hot gas device for flotation in the atmosphere having a rigid cap and flexible sides with an interior gas-heating element.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 19, 1990
    Date of Patent: April 14, 1992
    Inventor: Gregory R. Brotz
  • Patent number: 5005783
    Abstract: A variable geometry lighter-than-air craft which can change from a buoyant airship to a heavier-than-air craft by changing shape. The craft has a flexible envelope filled with helium or other lifting gas. Releasing or tightening the adjusting lines changes the envelope shape by adjusting the internal dimensions and extending or withdrawing wing expansion sections. The craft's shape can change from an ovoid shape for lighter-than-air flight to a winged shape for heavier-than-air flight. Controlling the craft's speed and trim regulates the aerodynamic lift.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 18, 1990
    Date of Patent: April 9, 1991
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Air Force
    Inventor: James D. Taylor
  • Patent number: 4982915
    Abstract: A fire-resistant foam having hydrogen-filled cells for use in airship/balloon envelopes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 1989
    Date of Patent: January 8, 1991
    Inventor: Gregory R. Brotz
  • Patent number: 4889297
    Abstract: A light aircraft for short distance takeoff and landing includes an airplane having a propeller provided on a rear pedestal thereof for producing vertical propulsion and an airship having a propeller provided on a rear pedestal thereof for producing vertical propulsion and also having a flight attitude sensor provided within an operating compartment thereof. The flight attitude sensor is always directed in the vertical direction, detects forward and rearward inclinations of the airship, and transmits signals corresponding to the inclinations to the two propellers, thereby rotating the two propellers to produce downward or upward propulsion to maintain the aircraft at the normal horizontal attitude at all times.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 4, 1988
    Date of Patent: December 26, 1989
    Inventor: Minoru Ikeda
  • Patent number: 4799629
    Abstract: A flying object for collecting solar rays comprises a disk-shaped flying body equipped with floating and propelling means installed at the outer circumferential portions thereof. The flying object can detect its direction of flight and keep its position constant by means of the plural floating and propelling means. In addition, the flying object has a solar ray collecting device, equipped with solar ray collecting lenses. The solar rays collected by the solar ray collecting device are guided through an optical conductor cable into the flying object.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 10, 1987
    Date of Patent: January 24, 1989
    Inventor: Kei Mori
  • Patent number: 4375280
    Abstract: A flying device capable of carrying man, which contains a wing, a fuselage, and means such as cables for attaching the wing to the fuselage so that the fuselage is suspended below the wing. The fuselage contains a propulsion unit and normally does not have wings for creating a lifting force as in ordinary aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 13, 1977
    Date of Patent: March 1, 1983
    Inventor: John D. Nicolaides
  • Patent number: 4014483
    Abstract: A lighter-than-air craft having a discus shape. A passenger compartment is located at the top center of the craft and a payload pod at the bottom center beneath the passenger compartment. The pod connects to the passenger compartment by a passageway which extends up through the center of the craft. Moreover, the pod is detachable from the craft, and can be raised or lowered to the ground, thus eliminating the need to land the craft in picking up or discharging passengers and cargo. The discus shape, together with a plurality of automatically controllable ailerons distributed about the circumference of the craft, improve the stability and control of the craft in flight.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 15, 1975
    Date of Patent: March 29, 1977
    Inventor: Roderick M. MacNeill
  • Patent number: 3993268
    Abstract: A winged aircraft, adapted to takeoff and land with its longitudinal axis at a very steep angle of inclination, including: balloons that have a center of buoyancy forward of the center of gravity and tend to turn the craft into the said steep angle; a controllable-thrust stern-elevating propeller in an upright wind tunnel, having a lift rearward of the center of gravity that in horizontal flight balances the torque of the balloons; and an elongated, stiffly resilient body frame of a multiplicity of inflated small tubes extending in the fore-and-aft direction, supported by longitudinally spaced, rounded ribs, disks or the like. This frame is round in the middle and somewhat streamlined at each end, its stern portion rearwardly sloping downward at its top and upward at its bottom. The assembly of tubes, preferably extending from the foremost to the rearmost parts of the frame, is flattened into substantially linear, horizontal shape at the rear portion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 19, 1975
    Date of Patent: November 23, 1976
    Inventor: Alvin Edward Moore
  • Patent number: 3970270
    Abstract: An aircraft capable of flying at very low velocities utilizing a wing envelope of an aerodynamic configuration having cells filled with a lighter-than-air gas. In one embodiment the buoyancy of the wing is slightly less than the total weight of the aircraft wherein forward movement is required to provide lift. In another embodiment the buoyancy is greater than the aircraft weight wherein forward motion is required to produce universal control without the release of gas or ballast. The wing envelope is formed of a plurality of trussed members radially extending from an axis producing a plurality of cells covered by a lightweight high strength skin material, the aircraft being characterized by high strength, economy and efficiency of construction and efficiency of lift at low speeds.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 11, 1974
    Date of Patent: July 20, 1976
    Inventor: Rene E. Pittet, Jr.