Launching Patents (Class 244/63)
  • Patent number: 10875645
    Abstract: A telepresence drone that is configured to navigate through an environment includes a frame, a propulsion system comprising propellers and motors coupled to the frame, an electronic control unit in communication with the propulsion system, and a hull positioned outside of the frame and the propulsion system. The hull includes a plurality of openings through which the propulsion system acts on air to navigate through the environment.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 28, 2018
    Date of Patent: December 29, 2020
    Assignee: Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.
    Inventor: Danil V. Prokhorov
  • Patent number: 10875648
    Abstract: A payload loading system is disclosed. The payload loading system includes a UAV and a loading structure. A retractable tether is coupled to a payload coupling apparatus at a distal end and the UAV at a proximate end. A payload is loaded to the UAV by coupling the payload to the payload coupling apparatus. The loading structure of the payload loading system includes a landing platform and a tether guide. The tether guide is coupled to the landing platform and directs the tether as the UAV approaches and travels across at least a portion of the landing platform such that the payload coupling apparatus arrives at a target location. The payload is loaded to the payload coupling apparatus while the payload coupling apparatus is within the target location.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 11, 2018
    Date of Patent: December 29, 2020
    Assignee: Wing Aviation LLC
    Inventors: Jim Schmalzried, Jesse Blake, André Prager, Evan Twyford
  • Patent number: 10843817
    Abstract: Systems and methods for recovering unmanned aircraft and controlling post-recovery motion of the aircraft are disclosed herein. An aircraft recovery system for handling an unmanned aircraft in accordance with one embodiment of the disclosure includes a base portion and an elongated aircraft capture member having a first end movably coupled to the base portion and a second, free end opposite the first end. The aircraft capture member includes a first portion and a second portion at a distal end of the first portion and positioned to intercept an unmanned aircraft in flight. The first and/or second portions are generally flexible. The system further includes an energy capture and dissipation assembly operably coupled to the aircraft capture member and positioned to receive at least a portion of the landing forces from the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 12, 2018
    Date of Patent: November 24, 2020
    Assignee: Insitu, Inc.
    Inventors: Robert Gilchrist, III, John Stafford, Brian D. Dennis, Allen Smith, Jaime Mack, Steven M. Sliwa, Bradley Louis Schrick, Robert Hughes
  • Patent number: 10836406
    Abstract: A drone railway system comprises a rail comprising a contact surface and an interconnect member having a drone connecting end and a rail engaging end, wherein the rail engaging end comprises a contacting member. The rail engaging end is selectively engageable with the rail so the contacting member can contact the contact surface and selectively disengageable with the rail so the drone and interconnect member can fly away from the rail, whereby the drone and interconnect member are able to travel along the length of the rail when the rail engaging end is engaged with the rail. A method of flying a drone comprises engaging a rail with the drone by contacting a contact surface of the rail with a contacting member associated with the drone; traveling along a length of the rail with the contacting member contacting the contact surface of the rail; selectively disengaging the drone from the rail; and flying away from the rail.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 11, 2018
    Date of Patent: November 17, 2020
    Inventors: Peter Lum, Tiffany Lum
  • Patent number: 10793265
    Abstract: An expendable rotary wing unmanned aircraft capable of storage in a cylindrical housing includes a longitudinally extending body having an upper end and a lower end; and a pair of counter-rotating coaxial rotors each located at respective ends of longitudinally-extending body, wherein each rotor includes two or more blades, each blade rotatably coupled to a remainder of the rotor at a hinged joint and thereby extending along a length of the body in a storage configuration and extending radially outward from the body in a flight configuration.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 30, 2018
    Date of Patent: October 6, 2020
    Assignee: The Government of the United States of America, as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventor: Steven K. Tayman
  • Patent number: 10730640
    Abstract: A launch system including a tower having a platform affixed to the apex of the tower; at least one rotary ring, the at least one rotary ring including an inner-edge and an outer-edge circumscribing an inner-radius and an outer-radius of the at least one rotary ring respectively. A coupling-mechanism is configured to mate the inner-edge of the at least one rotary ring to the outer-edge of another of the at least one rotary ring. A gyroscopic stabilization device is configured to maintain a planar-relation between more than one rotary rings. A transverse-channel spans a diameter of the at least one rotary ring defining a path for cargo to traverse the diameter of the at least one rotary ring. The launch system is configured to utilize a centrifugal force generated by rotating the at least one rotary ring to launch a cargo into atmosphere.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 14, 2018
    Date of Patent: August 4, 2020
    Inventor: Milivoj Plisic
  • Patent number: 10696385
    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 16, 2017
    Date of Patent: June 30, 2020
    Assignee: Hood Technology Corporation
    Inventors: Andreas H. von Flotow, Corydon C. Roeseler
  • Patent number: 10696419
    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: May 19, 2017
    Date of Patent: June 30, 2020
    Assignee: Hood Technology Corporation
    Inventors: Andreas H. von Flotow, Corydon C. Roeseler, Daniel Reiss
  • Patent number: 10556709
    Abstract: An energy-efficient launch system that utilizes the principles of whip dynamics to launch payloads at high speeds is described. The launch system may include a marine vehicle having an onboard power source. A tapered, superconducting cable may be retractably connected to the marine vehicle via a winch and electrically connected to the power source. One or more aerial vehicles may be coupled to and receive power via the cable. To launch a payload at the end of the cable, the marine vehicle, winch, and/or aerial vehicles may be operated in coordination to create, propagate, and accelerate a whip waveform along the cable toward the payload.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 6, 2017
    Date of Patent: February 11, 2020
    Assignee: Amazon Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Gur Kimchi, Louis LeRoi LeGrand, III
  • Patent number: 10518903
    Abstract: An aerial vehicle launcher including a rail having a first end and a longitudinal axis and a piston movable in a passageway formed in the rail, the piston connected to a carriage by at least two elongate flexible members. The carriage having a support device for releasably engaging the aerial vehicle. Upon the carriage and the aerial vehicle approaching one end of the rail, the support device controllably disengaging the aerial vehicle, permitting the aerial vehicle to be launched. A device is connected to a pressurized gas source, the device controllably providing pressurized gas from the pressurized gas source to the passageway for drivingly moving the piston, the carriage, and aerial vehicle along the rail for launching the aerial vehicle. The device includes a reservoir for holding pressurized gas, the reservoir being a conduit, the pressurized gas in the reservoir providing the driving force for launching the aerial vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 1, 2017
    Date of Patent: December 31, 2019
    Assignee: CIRCOR AEROSPACE, INC.
    Inventors: Russell S. Sirvis, Christopher R. Lovasco, Juan Vasquez, David W. Gass, Corey C. Jordan, Liron Dror, John Nellikunnel, Jeffrey Horning, Christopher Olsen
  • Patent number: 10464693
    Abstract: A payload launch system that uses an inflatable air bag ram to launch a payload, such as an unmanned aerial vehicle, from a launch chamber of a launch tube. The air bag ram seals with the interior surface of the launch tube to isolate a dump valve that controls the flow of compressed gas from a gas storage chamber into the air bag ram. The air bag ram sealing with the interior surface of the launch tube isolates the dump valve, both pre-launch and post-launch, from any water or debris carried in with water in which the payload launch system is disposed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 4, 2015
    Date of Patent: November 5, 2019
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventor: Russell M. Sylvia
  • Patent number: 10434885
    Abstract: A landing platform for an unmanned aerial vehicle, including a plurality of substantially funnel-shaped centering housings configured to cooperate with a corresponding plurality of projections of the aerial vehicle for reaching a predetermined landing position. The platform can include a mechanism for recharging the battery of the aerial vehicle and/or with an arrangement for serial data transfer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 5, 2014
    Date of Patent: October 8, 2019
    Assignee: TELECOM ITALIA S.p.A.
    Inventors: Roberto Antonini, Gian Piero Fici, Marco Gaspardone
  • Patent number: 10377504
    Abstract: A system for controlling aircraft movement includes a platform configured to support the aircraft. The system includes a securing mechanism coupled to the platform to releasably couple the aircraft onto the platform. The system includes a conveying system coupled to the platform. The conveying system configured to, with the aircraft coupled to the platform during take-off of the aircraft, move the platform to accelerate the aircraft. The conveying system configured to, during landing of the aircraft, decelerate the aircraft. The system includes a controller coupled to the securing mechanism and to the conveying system. The controller configured to communicate with the securing mechanism and with the conveying system to control acceleration of the platform during take-off of the aircraft and deceleration of the platform during landing of the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 14, 2018
    Date of Patent: August 13, 2019
    Assignee: The Boeing Corporation
    Inventors: Brett M Hoffstadt, William A. Harkness, Royal E. Meservy
  • Patent number: 10369975
    Abstract: A unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) base station for automated battery pack exchange and methods for manufacturing and using the same. The UAV base station includes a battery-exchange system disposed within a housing having a top-plate. The housing contains a battery array having a plurality of UAV battery packs and a mechanical mechanism for automatically removing an expended battery pack from a UAV that lands on the top-plate and replacing the expended battery pack with a charged battery pack. Thereby, the UAV base station system advantageously enables extended and autonomous operation of the UAV without the need for user intervention for exchanging UAV battery packs.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 24, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 6, 2019
    Assignee: SZ DJI TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD.
    Inventors: Mingxi Wang, Yuan Lin, Hongju Li
  • Patent number: 10375359
    Abstract: A system and related method for tracking a moving subject via a ground-based or airborne peripheral device includes plugging an intelligent camera device to the unmanned vehicle, establishing a peripheral link by which the intelligent camera device can assume control of the unmanned vehicle's control systems. Based on analysis of images captured by the intelligent camera device, in addition to position data associated with the unmanned vehicle or with the subject, the intelligent camera device may autonomously maneuver the unmanned vehicle to track or follow the subject while maintaining the moving subject in a consistent framing orientation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 12, 2015
    Date of Patent: August 6, 2019
    Assignee: Trace Live Network Inc.
    Inventors: Paul Beard, Craig McDermott
  • Patent number: 10370121
    Abstract: A launcher for an unmanned aircraft may comprise: a launch rail, a carriage, pair of pulley drivers, and a cable and pulley system. The pulley drivers may produce opposing pulley drive forces, which may be converted into a single launching force via the cable and pulley system for launching the carriage. The cable and pulley system may comprise: launch rail pulleys, pulley block pulleys, cam pulleys, drive cables, and one or more winches. Embodiments of the launcher may apply a constant force to the aircraft uniformly over the launch distance, such that the unmanned aircraft may be propelled within a relatively short distance by applying energy to the aircraft in the smallest period of time and without exceeding the aircraft's acceleration limits.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 13, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 6, 2019
    Assignee: The Government of the United States of America as Represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventors: Shawn Kerry McGann, Nicholas McGaha, Alvin L. Quintana
  • Patent number: 10322820
    Abstract: An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system comprises a hangar structure configurable to mount on a host platform. The hangar structure comprises electrical circuits comprising a charging circuit and a communications circuit. The UAV system further comprises a plurality of stackable UAVs. The plurality of stackable UAVs comprise respective batteries and control circuits. The plurality of stackable UAVs are configured to cooperate with the charging circuit to charge the batteries and to cooperate with the communications circuit to communicate with the control circuits while the plurality of stackable UAVs are in a stacked configuration within the hangar structure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 14, 2017
    Date of Patent: June 18, 2019
    Assignee: SparkCognition, Inc.
    Inventors: Syed Mohammad Amir Husain, John Rutherford Allen
  • Patent number: 10287010
    Abstract: An aircraft has a fuselage, a first rotor assembly having a first rotor hub and first rotor blades pivotably coupled to the first rotor hub and a second rotor assembly having a second rotor hub and second rotor blades pivotably coupled to the second rotor hub. The first and second rotor blades have deployed configurations extending generally radially from the fuselage and stowed configurations extending generally parallel with the fuselage. A sequencing cam, positioned between the first and second rotor hubs, is coupled to the second rotor blades. The sequencing cam has a retracted orientation when the second rotor blades are in the stowed configuration and an extended orientation when the second rotor blades are in the deployed configuration in which the sequencing cam props support arms of the first rotor blades preventing transition of the first rotor blades from the deployed configuration to the stowed configuration.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 2, 2016
    Date of Patent: May 14, 2019
    Assignee: Bell Helicopter Textron Inc.
    Inventors: Frank Bradley Stamps, Eric Ricardo Gonzalez
  • Patent number: 10239639
    Abstract: An unmanned aerial launch vehicle (UAV) launch apparatus is disclosed that includes a UAV having an exterior surface, an aerial vehicle (AV) tab extending from the exterior surface, a tube containing the UAV, the tube including a tab stop configured to controllably hinder travel of the AV tab past the tab stop, and a pair of opposing tab guides configured to position the AV tab for travel over the tab stop.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 15, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 26, 2019
    Assignee: AEROVIRONMENT, INC.
    Inventors: Guan H Su, Marcos Henry Rodriguez
  • Patent number: 10118713
    Abstract: Embodiments of the present invention provide improvements to UAV launching systems. The disclosed launching system eliminates the use of hydraulic fluid and compressed nitrogen or air by providing an electric motor-driven tape that causes movement of a shuttle along a launcher rail. The shuttle is detachable from the motor-driven tape, such that stoppage of the tape can be separate from stoppage of the shuttle. Embodiments further provide a secondary arrestment strap. Further embodiments provide an anti-rollback latch system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 20, 2016
    Date of Patent: November 6, 2018
    Assignee: Engineered Arresting Systems Corporation
    Inventors: Andrew Tully, Dennis Page, Robert Withers, Kenneth Neeld, Richard L. Orner, Jr., Kirk F. Schneider, Scott J. Whitsel
  • Patent number: 10099803
    Abstract: Systems and methods for ground-based aircraft thrust systems are provided. A sled can be adapted to support at least wings and a fuselage of an aircraft. A guideway can be configured to receive the sled and move the sled along the guideway for assisted takeoff of the aircraft. A magnetic propulsion system can be configured to levitate the sled and propel the sled along the guideway independent of thrust provided by the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 23, 2016
    Date of Patent: October 16, 2018
    Assignee: EXHAUSTLESS, INC.
    Inventor: Steven P. Endres
  • Patent number: 10059465
    Abstract: A system for controlling movement of an aircraft includes a platform for supporting an aircraft. A clamp mechanism coupled to the platform to releasably couple the aircraft to the platform. The system further includes a conveying system coupled to the platform and configured to move the platform to accelerate or decelerate the aircraft coupled to the platform.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 19, 2014
    Date of Patent: August 28, 2018
    Assignee: THE BOEING COMPANY
    Inventors: Brett M. Hoffstadt, William A. Harkness, Royal E. Meservy
  • Patent number: 10053217
    Abstract: An unmanned aerial vehicle according to the present invention includes a housing mounted on a vehicle and having an inner space, the housing provided with a launching unit, an unmanned aerial vehicle accommodated in the housing and configured to be launched from the housing when a driving state of the vehicle meets a preset condition, wing units mounted to the unmanned aerial vehicle and configured to allow the flight of the unmanned aerial vehicle in response to the launch from the housing, an output unit disposed on the unmanned aerial vehicle, and a controller configured to control the wing units to move the unmanned aerial vehicle to a position set based on information related to the driving state when the unmanned aerial vehicle is launched, and control the output unit to output warning information related to the driving state.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 4, 2015
    Date of Patent: August 21, 2018
    Assignee: LG ELECTRONICS INC.
    Inventors: Taehoon Cho, Choonghwan Shin
  • Patent number: 9988844
    Abstract: A ram accelerator device may utilize rails arranged within a guide tube that may be emplaced downhole. The rails may serve to direct a hypervelocity projectile along the length of the guide tube. The rails may carry utilities or provide other services to operate the system. For example, electrical wiring for power, control signaling, and so forth, may be placed within the rails. In another example, gasses may be delivered by the rails.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 21, 2015
    Date of Patent: June 5, 2018
    Assignee: HYPERSCIENCES, INC.
    Inventors: Mark C. Russell, Timothy John Elder
  • Patent number: 9957064
    Abstract: An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platform includes a stationary base constructed and arranged to reside over a fixed location on a surface (e.g., a ground location, a ship's deck, a trailer or other vehicle, etc.). The UAV platform further includes a set of UAV interfaces constructed and arranged to interface directly with a UAV (e.g., a launcher, a net apparatus, etc.). The UAV platform further includes a turntable assembly which couples to the stationary base. The turntable assembly is constructed and arranged to couple to each UAV interface and control angular direction of that UAV interface over the fixed location. A method of operating a UAV platform includes deploying the UAV platform over a fixed location, preparing a UAV interface on a turntable assembly of the UAV platform, and rotating the turntable to control angular direction of the UAV interface over the fixed location.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 8, 2015
    Date of Patent: May 1, 2018
    Assignee: AAI Corporation
    Inventors: Stephen W. Miller, Zachary J. Smith, Peter J. Helman
  • Patent number: 9868548
    Abstract: An unmanned aerial vehicles take-off system may include at least one winch, at least one towline, at least one dolly on which at least one aircraft is mounted, and at least one battery of the at least one winch. At least one micro-controller unit is connected to the at least one winch, wherein the at least one microcontroller unit is configured to control the activation/deactivation of the at least one winch. An unmanned aerial vehicle take-off method is also disclosed that includes operating the at least one winch by means of at least one microcontroller unit connected to said at least one winch.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 1, 2015
    Date of Patent: January 16, 2018
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: Enrique Emilio Serrot Hauke, Eduardo Gabriel Ferreyra, Jose Luis Lemus, Jose Antonio Blanco Del Alamo, Nieves Lapena Rey
  • Patent number: 9783322
    Abstract: Embodiments of the present invention provide improvements to UAV launching systems. The disclosed launching system eliminates the use of hydraulic fluid and compressed nitrogen or air by providing an electric motor-driven tape that causes movement of a shuttle along a launcher rail.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 27, 2014
    Date of Patent: October 10, 2017
    Assignee: Engineered Arresting Systems Corporation
    Inventors: Andrew Tully, Dennis Page, Robert Withers, Kenneth Neeld, Richard L. Orner, Jr.
  • Patent number: 9776717
    Abstract: An apparatus comprises a base vehicle, a takeoff and landing system, a rack system, a refueling system associated with the base vehicle, and a controller. The rack system comprises a group of racks with slots in which the slots receive unmanned aerial vehicles, provide refueling connections that facilitate refueling of the unmanned aerial vehicles located in the slots, and provide data connections that facilitate data transmission with the unmanned aerial vehicles located in the slots. The refueling system refuels an unmanned aerial vehicle located in a slot using a refueling connection in the refueling connections. The controller communicates with the unmanned aerial vehicle using a data connection and control the refueling of the unmanned aerial vehicles by the refueling system while the unmanned aerial vehicle is in the slot, enabling exchanging data with the unmanned aerial vehicle and the refueling of the unmanned aerial vehicle simultaneously.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 2, 2015
    Date of Patent: October 3, 2017
    Assignee: THE BOEING COMPANY
    Inventors: Charles B. Spinelli, John Lyle Vian
  • Patent number: 9708077
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for launching unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) includes supporting the unmanned air vehicle on a surface vehicle, such as a dolly cart, for riding along a surface such as ground or water. A towline is connected to the surface vehicle and the towline is pulled to force the unmanned air vehicle in a forward direction at a speed sufficient for take-off. The towline may be pulled by a winch system. In some embodiments the UAV is positioned with a nose down angle on the surface vehicle. The nose down angle permits overspeed of the UAV and cart as it is pulled along the ground, as well as controlled take-off.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 30, 2015
    Date of Patent: July 18, 2017
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: Alfredo Criado, Grzegorz M. Kawiecki, Jose L. Lemus Martin, Eduardo G. Ferreyra, Sergio Pereira Mayan
  • Patent number: 9688402
    Abstract: A service unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) includes a flight system, a status component, a navigation system, and a recovery component. The flight system is for flying the service UAV. The status component is configured to determine that a first UAV is disabled. The navigation system is configured to fly the service UAV to a landing location of the first UAV in response to the status component determining that the first UAV is disabled. The recovery component is configured to recover one or more of a payload of the first UAV and a portion of the first UAV.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 9, 2015
    Date of Patent: June 27, 2017
    Assignee: ELWHA LLC
    Inventors: Jesse R. Cheatham, III, Hon Wah Chin, William David Duncan, Roderick A. Hyde, Muriel Y. Ishikawa, Jordin T. Kare, Tony S. Pan, Robert C. Petroski, Clarence T. Tegreene, David B. Tuckerman, Yaroslav A. Urzhumov, Thomas Allan Weaver, Lowell L. Wood, Jr., Victoria Y. H. Wood
  • Patent number: 9656765
    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: May 2, 2016
    Date of Patent: May 23, 2017
    Assignee: Hood Technology Corporation
    Inventors: Andreas H. von Flotow, Corydon C. Roeseler, Daniel Reiss
  • Patent number: 9567107
    Abstract: A gas gun launcher has a pump tube and a launch tube with a first end of the launch tube slidably inserted into a second end of the pump tube. The pump tube may hold a heat exchanger to heat a light gas used to launch a vehicle. A sliding seal can be employed to manage recoil and to retain the gas within the launch tube and the pump tube. A fast-closing muffler at the second end of the launch tube can conserve the light gas utilized for launching a vehicle, enabling the light gas to be recycled. A launch tube alignment system is preferably automatic, ensuring the survival of the launch vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 9, 2015
    Date of Patent: February 14, 2017
    Assignee: QUICKLAUNCH, INC.
    Inventor: Harry E. Cartland
  • Patent number: 9514653
    Abstract: A service unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) includes a flight system, a status component, a navigation system, and a surveillance component. The flight system is for flying the service UAV. The status component is configured to determine that a first UAV is disabled. The navigation system is configured to fly the service UAV to a landing location of the first UAV in response to the status component determining that the first UAV is disabled. The surveillance component is configured to observe the first UAV and an area surrounding the first UAV.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 9, 2015
    Date of Patent: December 6, 2016
    Assignee: ELWHA LLC
    Inventors: Jesse R. Cheatham, III, Hon Wah Chin, William David Duncan, Roderick A. Hyde, Muriel Y. Ishikawa, Jordin T. Kare, Tony S. Pan, Robert C. Petroski, Clarence T. Tegreene, David B. Tuckerman, Yaroslav A. Urzhumov, Thomas Allan Weaver, Lowell L. Wood, Jr., Victoria Y. H. Wood
  • Patent number: 9505493
    Abstract: A system for facilitating automated landing and takeoff of an autonomous or pilot controlled hovering air vehicle with a cooperative underbody at a stationary or mobile landing place and an automated storage system used in conjunction with the landing and takeoff mechanism that stores and services a plurality of UAVs is described. The system is primarily characterized in that the landing mechanism is settable with 6 axes in roll, pitch, yaw, and x, y and z and becomes aligned with and intercepts the air vehicle in flight and decelerates the vehicle with respect to vehicle's inertial limits. The air vehicle and capture mechanism are provided with a transmitter and receiver to coordinate vehicle priority and distance and angles between landing mechanism and air vehicle. The landing and takeoff system has means of tracking the position and orientation of the UAV in real time. The landing mechanism will be substantially aligned to the base of the air vehicle. With small UAVs, their lifting capacity is limited.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 21, 2014
    Date of Patent: November 29, 2016
    Inventor: Brandon Borko
  • Patent number: 9470477
    Abstract: An unmanned aerial launch vehicle (UAV) launch apparatus is disclosed that includes a UAV (400) having an exterior surface, an aerial vehicle (AV) tab (510) extending from the exterior surface, a tube (440) containing the UAV (400), the tube (440) including a tab stop (515) configured to controllably hinder travel of the AV tab (510) past the tab stop (515), and a pair of opposing tab guides (700, 705) configured to position the AV tab (510) for travel over the tab stop (515).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 19, 2014
    Date of Patent: October 18, 2016
    Assignee: AEROVIRONMENT, INC.
    Inventors: Guan H Su, Marcos Henry Rodriguez
  • Patent number: 9359075
    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: January 15, 2015
    Date of Patent: June 7, 2016
    Assignee: Hood Technology Corporation
    Inventors: Andreas H. von Flotow, Corydon C. Roeseler, Daniel Reiss
  • Patent number: 9340301
    Abstract: Line capture devices for unmanned aircraft, and associated systems and methods are disclosed. A system in accordance with a particular embodiment includes a line capture device body having a line slot with an open end and a closed end. A retainer is positioned proximate to the line slot and has a rotor with a plurality of rotor arms positioned to extend at least partially across the line slot as the rotor rotates relative to the body. A joint rotatably couples the rotor to the body, and a ratchet device is operably coupled to the rotor to allow the rotor to rotate in a first direction and at least restrict the rotor arm from rotating in a second direction opposite the first. In other embodiments, the retainer can include other arrangements, for example, one or more wire-shaped elements.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 12, 2014
    Date of Patent: May 17, 2016
    Assignee: Insitu, Inc.
    Inventors: Matthew Robert Dickson, Craig Aram Thomasian
  • Patent number: 9290278
    Abstract: Systems and methods for launching space vehicles into orbit involve placing a space vehicle into a protective container. The protective container is placed on a sled in a maglev tunnel and then launched into the atmosphere. Once the protective container reaches a certain height the space vehicle is released from the protective container and the space vehicle then proceeds to the desired orbital position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 19, 2013
    Date of Patent: March 22, 2016
    Inventor: David G. Dillon
  • Patent number: 9211959
    Abstract: A system for launching an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from a moving platform, the system including: a platform configured to carry the UAV; one or more sensors configured to measure forces acting between the platform and the UAV in one or more directions; a mooring mechanism configured to moor the UAV to the platform; and a controller configured to: transmit at least one trimming command to the UAV based on measurements of the one or more sensors, and cause the mooring mechanism to release the UAV from the platform following the transmitting of the at least one trimming command, when the measurements of the one or more sensors indicate that a lift force is sufficiently close to a weight of the UAV.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 5, 2014
    Date of Patent: December 15, 2015
    Inventors: Igor Teller, Pavel Soifer
  • Patent number: 9156564
    Abstract: Systems and methods for ground-based aircraft thrust systems are provided. In particular, some embodiments use an electromechanical thrust assembly to accelerate aircraft using ground-based energy for takeoff. The assembly can include one or more sleds, one or more maglev tracks, and/or one or more linear motors. Airplanes are loaded onto a sled (e.g., a saddle-shaped sled) that supports and balances the airplane instead of the landing gear aboard the aircraft. The sled levitates above the ground using high-density permanent magnet arrays. Magnetic levitation forces are varied along the assembly to account for lift provided by airflow over the wings. An aircraft thrust system includes a magnetically levitated saddle-shaped sled with airbags that support an aircraft during takeoff acceleration coupled with a linear motor that spans the length of the distance needed for takeoff.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 22, 2013
    Date of Patent: October 13, 2015
    Assignee: EXHAUSTLESS, INC.
    Inventor: Steven P. Endres
  • Patent number: 9126699
    Abstract: Presented is a system to launch, carry and recover aerial vehicles with a portal circular synthetic runway formed by a moving pad which is equivalent to flying carpet in the ancient tale. Based on the fact that during the process of takeoff, landing or being carried, an aircraft only needs be supported from limited space directly underneath (or above) it, a pad (or a beam or a cable), which is acting as carriage and moving in unison with an aircraft, can be used to provide the same structural support as what's rendered by conventional runway or transportation vehicle. Circular structure of the synthetic runway makes such a device compact and portable.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 26, 2015
    Date of Patent: September 8, 2015
    Inventors: Eric R Fu, Lillian R Fu
  • Patent number: 9108744
    Abstract: A major portion, if not the whole, of passenger facilities are located underground to reserve a virtually building-free ground level for the most efficient movements of aircraft. A number of pairs of parked positions of aircraft for loading/unloading are arranged in each of a number of rows. Adjacent aircraft face in opposite directions to facilitate loading/unloading from and to a pair of passenger gates located below each pair of such parked positions and to also facilitate forward movement of aircraft to and from such parked positions. The resulting arrangement is compact and allows efficient movement of aircraft to and from runways while also minimizing the distances passengers travel in moving from a terminal to gates and in moving from one gate to another. Loading/unloading ramps are moveable between inactive positions out of the paths of aircraft and active positions for loading and unloading. Two such ramps can be provided for fore and aft loading of one aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 7, 2007
    Date of Patent: August 18, 2015
    Inventor: Arthur S. Takeuchi
  • Patent number: 9079671
    Abstract: Systems and methods for ground-based aircraft thrust systems are provided. In particular, some embodiments use an electromechanical thrust assembly to accelerate aircraft using ground-based energy for takeoff. The assembly can include one or more sleds, one or more maglev tracks, and/or one or more linear motors. Airplanes are loaded onto a sled (e.g., a saddle-shaped sled) that supports and balances the airplane instead of the landing gear aboard the aircraft. The sled levitates above the ground using high-density permanent magnet arrays. Magnetic levitation forces are varied along the assembly to account for lift provided by airflow over the wings. An aircraft thrust system includes a magnetically levitated saddle-shaped sled with airbags that support an aircraft during takeoff acceleration coupled with a linear motor that spans the length of the distance needed for takeoff.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 22, 2013
    Date of Patent: July 14, 2015
    Assignee: Exhaustless, Inc.
    Inventor: Steven P. Endres
  • Patent number: 9073645
    Abstract: A system and method for recovering unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) uses the fact that many small UAVs can hover in a vertical or near-vertical attitude. An exemplary system includes two or more rollers rotatable about respective axes of rotation, a mechanism to capture a UAV, and a support to which the rollers are mounted in such a way as to place the axes of rotation in parallel in a common plane. When the plane is in a vertical orientation, the capture mechanism is enabled to capture a UAV positioned adjacent the rollers. By hovering the UAV in the vertical position there is no forward velocity or momentum, and hence the craft can more easily be captured and the motor can be shut down without damaging the UAV. Misalignment during recovery is mitigated by cushioning in the rollers and the ability of the capture mechanism to compensate for imperfect alignment.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 20, 2013
    Date of Patent: July 7, 2015
    Assignee: Raytheon Company
    Inventor: John T. Jacobs
  • Patent number: 9067691
    Abstract: A tow vehicle for aircraft comprises a nose gear support assembly that can be raised and lowered relative to the vehicle. The support assembly can comprise a base portion and nose gear support portion pivotal about an upright axis relative to the base portion. Bearings can be positioned inwardly of the periphery of the support portion to support the support portion on the base portion. The bearings can be positioned partially in pockets provided in the base portion and in recesses in the support portion. A torque sensor can be coupled to the base portion and support portion to provide an output signal indicative of the torque between these components. An indicator, such as an alarm, can indicate when the torque exceeds first and second thresholds and can remain on if a second higher threshold is exceeded until, for example, an authorized individual turns off the indicator.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 23, 2012
    Date of Patent: June 30, 2015
    Assignee: Lektro, Inc.
    Inventors: Charles R. Pugh, Donald C. Morrison
  • Publication number: 20150100182
    Abstract: A method for a fix-wing fighter to take off and land on an ultra-short distance is disclosed. In one embodiment, a method for a fighter to take off with an ultra-short distance may include providing a runway on a predetermined height, wherein the runway is shorter than a normal runway; disposing the fighter at said runway; and providing the fighter with an initial speed and the fighter is able to accelerate on said runway; wherein the fighter reaches its takeoff speed (which is smaller than a normal takeoff speed of the fighter) at the end of the runway, and is then accelerated by a combination of the flighter's acceleration and gravitational acceleration until the fighter reaches its normal takeoff speed.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 4, 2013
    Publication date: April 9, 2015
    Inventor: Shouqin Zhu
  • Publication number: 20150060600
    Abstract: Embodiments of the present invention provide improvements to UAV launching systems. The disclosed launching system eliminates the use of hydraulic fluid and compressed nitrogen or air by providing an electric motor-driven tape that causes movement of a shuttle along a launcher rail.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 27, 2014
    Publication date: March 5, 2015
    Inventors: Andrew Tully, Dennis Page, Robert Withers, Kenneth Neeld, Richard L. Orner
  • Patent number: 8955800
    Abstract: An aircraft capable of thrust-borne flight can be automatically retrieved, serviced, and launched using equipment suitable for a small vessel. For retrieval, the aircraft hovers over a base apparatus having one or more rails which bound a space into which the aircraft can safely descend. When the aircraft's measured position and velocity are appropriate, the aircraft descends promptly such that a spanwise component on the aircraft engages the rails. The teeth restrain the aircraft in position and orientation, while the rails bring the aircraft to rest. Articulation of the rails is used to park the aircraft in a servicing station. Connections for refueling, recharging, and/or functional checks are made in preparation for launch. Launch is effected by removing connections and restraints and articulating the rails to put the aircraft in an appropriate position and orientation. The aircraft uses its own thrust to climb out of the apparatus into free flight.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 19, 2012
    Date of Patent: February 17, 2015
    Assignee: Aerovel Corporation
    Inventors: Brian T. McGeer, Robert S. Coatney
  • Patent number: 8955791
    Abstract: A vehicle comprises a first stage supersonic aircraft, and a second stage hypersonic aircraft. The second stage aircraft is in tandem with the first stage aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 10, 2012
    Date of Patent: February 17, 2015
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: Thomas R. Smith, Kevin G. Bowcutt
  • Patent number: 8950704
    Abstract: A cold-launch device, including a high-energy gas resource, a gas cylinder, a control valve, a gas-liquid mixing cylinder having a cylinder body, the high-energy gas resource is connected to the gas cylinder whereby supplying energy thereto, and the gas cylinder is connected to an terminal of the gas-liquid mixing cylinder via the control valve and a connecting pipe.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 28, 2011
    Date of Patent: February 10, 2015
    Inventors: Xuanzhe Hu, Zhenhua Hu, Aiwu Hu