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Publication numberUS20070134999 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/512,280
PCT numberPCT/DE2003/001442
Publication dateJun 14, 2007
Filing dateMay 6, 2003
Priority dateMay 15, 2002
Also published asCA2485839A1, CA2507232A1, DE10392641D2, DE10392642D2, EP1503934A2, EP1503935A1, US20060073745, WO2003097438A2, WO2003097438A3, WO2003097439A1
Publication number10512280, 512280, PCT/2003/1442, PCT/DE/2003/001442, PCT/DE/2003/01442, PCT/DE/3/001442, PCT/DE/3/01442, PCT/DE2003/001442, PCT/DE2003/01442, PCT/DE2003001442, PCT/DE200301442, PCT/DE3/001442, PCT/DE3/01442, PCT/DE3001442, PCT/DE301442, US 2007/0134999 A1, US 2007/134999 A1, US 20070134999 A1, US 20070134999A1, US 2007134999 A1, US 2007134999A1, US-A1-20070134999, US-A1-2007134999, US2007/0134999A1, US2007/134999A1, US20070134999 A1, US20070134999A1, US2007134999 A1, US2007134999A1
InventorsReinhold Ficht, Markus Ficht
Original AssigneeReinhold Ficht
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Motor-driven inflatable boat, in particular for ice rescue, comprising mounted steering devices, control units and an air propeller propulsion device
US 20070134999 A1
Abstract
An engine-driven device comprising a keel-less boat body consisting of at least two parallel, spaced, inflated tube bodies (1, 2) and comprising a substantially rigid or firm bottom (6) which is disposed between said tube bodies. A propeller propulsion (25) together with the steering means (27) and with control means (31, 32) for the propulsion are mounted on the bottom, said propeller propulsion (25) being mounted in a raised position.
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Claims(20)
What is claimed is:
1. An engine-driven device comprising a keel-less boat body of at least two parallel inflated tube bodies (1, 2) disposed in a spaced relationship and a substantially rigid or firm bottom (6) disposed between said tube bodies, on which a propeller propulsion (25) is mounted in a raised position together with the steering means (27) for the boat and with control means (31, 32) for the propulsion.
2. An engine-driven device comprising a keel-less main body of at least two parallel, inflated tube bodies (1, 2) disposed in a spaced relationship and a substantially rigid bottom (6) which is mountable on a frame support (10), on which a propeller propulsion (25) is mounted in a raised position (20, 21).
3. A device as claimed in claim 1 or 2, characterized in that the propeller drive (25) is disposed in the stern area of the boat and is designed as a thrust propulsion.
4. A device as claimed in claim 1 or 2, characterized in that two propeller drives (25 a, 25 b) are provided in tandem arrangement one behind the other, the rear propeller drive (25 a), seen in the direction of motion, being designed as a thrust propulsion and the front propulsion drive (25 b) being designed as a traction propulsion.
5. A device as claimed in any of the preceding claims, wherein at least two controllable lateral rudders (27 a, 27 b) that are disposed symmetrically to the vertical longitudinal central plane of the vehicle are connected downstream of the thrust propulsion (25, 25 a).
6. A device as claimed in any of the preceding claims, wherein only the propeller (25) is mounted in a raised position and is connected with the drive engine(41) and/or the appertaining gearbox (42) through flexible drive elements such as belt (17), chain or toothed belt.
7. A device as claimed in any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the propeller blades are adjustable about their longitudinal axis—preferably up to a thrust reversal position.
8. A device as claimed in any of claims 1 to 3, characterized in that the propeller propulsion (25) with the engine (41) is disposed about an axis (41 b) in a rotatable or swivelling fashion, which is approx. vertical to the bottom (5, 6) for steering and/or slowing down.
9. A device as claimed in any of claims 2 to 8, characterized in that the propeller propulsion (25) is mounted on a base frame portion (11) by means of braces (20 a, 20 b) that are partly articulatedly connected and partly longitudinally adjustable in a raised position and adjustably with respect to a plane that is in parallel to the bottom (5, 6).
10. A device as claimed in any of the preceding claims, characterized in that at least one seat (30) with display means and control means (31, 32) for the drive engine (13), lateral rudders (27), adjustment means for the propeller blades is fixedly disposed on an extension (12) of the base frame portion (11) in the direction of motion and is preferably detachable from the bottom (5, 6) as a unit with the support frame (10).
11. A device as claimed in claim 10, characterized in that the seat (30) is designed like a motorcycle seat in a boxlike fashion for one, two or more persons and contains the electric circuits and the fuel conveying means below the seat in an accessible and protected fashion.
12. A device as claimed in claim 10 or 11, characterized in that a handlebar (32) such as a motorcycle handlebar is provided for steering the device, whose steering angle movements are transmittable to the lateral rudders (27 a, 27 b) or to another steering means such as a live ring in an opposition direction for a rotatable or pivotable propeller propulsion in order to steer the boat into a curve in the same direction, said curve corresponding to the steering movement.
13. A device as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein a rudder that is adjustable between a position in which the boat immerses into the water and a position in which the boat emerges from the water and assists the steering of the vehicle in the water and is pivotable, in particular a steering blade (15), is disposed at the stern portion (H) of the bottom (6), said rudder being steerable by the control element (32) or another steering means, e.g. through sheathed cables (53), independently of or jointly with and in a direction opposite to that of the lateral rudder (27).
14. A device as claimed in claim 6, characterized in that a reverse gearbox (42) for changing the direction of rotation of the propeller and for slowing down is connected downstream of the drive engine (41).
15. A device as claimed in claim 12, wherein the steering angle movements of the bicycle handlebar are transmitted to the lateral rudders and/or the other steering means through sheathed cable that cross each other.
16. An engine-driven transport device comprising a keel-less main body consisting of at least two parallel, spaced, inflated tube bodies (1, 2), in which
a. a substantially rigid or firm bottom (6) is disposed between the tube bodies and connected to these tube bodies;
b. a propeller propulsion (25) and the steering means (27) and control means (31 32) for the propulsion are jointly mounted on the bottom in the stern area of the transport device, said propeller propulsion (25) being mounted in a raised position and in the form of a shroud propeller (26).
17. An engine-driven transport device comprising a keel-less main body consisting of at least two parallel, spaced, inflated tube bodies (1, 2), in which
a. a substantially rigid or firm bottom (6) is disposed between the tube bodies and connected to these tube bodies;
b. a firm frame (10) is detachably affixed in the rear area of the bottom (6);
c. a propeller propulsion (25) and steering means (27) and control means (31, 32) for the propulsion are jointly mounted on the frame, said propeller propulsion (25) being mounted in a raised position.
18. A device as claimed in the preceding claim, characterized in that a box-shaped seat (30) is disposed on an extension (12) of a base frame portion (11) in substantially parallel alignment to the direction of motion or to the inflated parallel tube bodies (1, 2).
19. A device as claimed in the preceding claim, wherein display means and control elements (31, 32) for the drive engine (13), lateral rudders (27), adjustment means for the propeller blades are fixed and preferably detachable as a unit with the frame support (10 from the bottom (5, 6).
20. A device as claimed in claim 18, characterized in that the seat (30) is designed for one, two or more persons like a motorcycle seat and that the electric circuits and the fuel conveying means are accessible below the seat and protected by the seat.
Description
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to an engine-driven locomotive device for transport purposes, in particular to a boat means, comprising a keel-less main body consisting of at least two parallel tube bodies disposed in a spaced relationship and a substantially rigid or firm bottom disposed between said tube bodies, on which a propeller propulsion (in a raised position) is mounted together with steering means for the body and control means for propulsion (claims 1 and 2).

Such a locomotive device is to be equally suitable for use, preferably rescue missions for saving persons, which comprises the transport of persons, on water and ice surfaces or even on rocky or pebble surfaces.

The control of the locomotive device is especially suited for rescue missions on water bodies such as lakes, whose body of water usually freezes up at least partly. Mostly, rescue missions with floating boats only are no longer possible in these cases. A rescue mission across a large ice surface is troublesome and time-consuming. This also applies to fire brigade missions from the mainland on an island, the water being frozen up. As opposed to this, a rescue mission is not hindered with the device according to the invention, it being possible to rapidly and safely carry out the mission carrying along any necessary rescue equipment and a rescue team, since the locomotive device can be moved with equal safety and speed and without the difficulties of transition both on ice and on water. During drive over roughnesses such as ice floes or a jagged ice surface, the main body cushions all impacts and prevents the becoming icebound of the locomotive device.

The area defined by the tube bodies is occupied by a relatively firm double bottom. The propeller propulsion and the appertaining elements such as a control means, steering means and seat(s), preferably as a unit, are mounted on this firm bottom, preferably by means of a frame support (claims 10 to 12).

Preferably, the propulsion is disposed in the stern area of the boat and is designed as a thrust propulsion (claim 3). It is of advantage in large and heavier designs to either use two propulsions in tandem arrangement (claim 4) or to only install the propeller in a raised position and to dispose a more powerful engine directly on the bottom and to connect the two with each other via a belt or chain or the like (claim 6).

Steering of the locomotive device can take place directly with the propulsion. However, in many cases, the thrust propulsion only requires two or three lateral rudders distributed in the transverse direction symmetrically to the axis of the propeller.

The invention is based on the object of further developing an engine-driven device of the type mentioned at the beginning in such a way that it can be easily, reliably and effectively used in the situations mentioned in the preamble to the specification. In this connection, it must be taken into consideration that difficult conditions may prevail during these missions such as the frequent alternation of water and ice surfaces, piled up ice, strong or gusty wind and the like. It must be possible to use the device under all weather conditions and the device must be capable of accurately and quickly heading for the sites of an accident.

An important prerequisite for achieving the objects aimed at is provided by claim 1 or 16, since all means and elements appertaining to the propulsion and control are jointly mounted on a substantially rigid bottom, said bottom, in turn, being connected to the two tube bodies. The joint mounting ensures that the propulsion and all appertaining elements remain in an optionally adjustable, but basically fixed mutual position irrespective of the flexibility of the tube bodies, even if the drive takes place over an e.g. very rough surface defined by pack-ice, pebbles and boulders or pebbly surfaces or the like, to which the tube bodies can adapt themselves in a largely flexible fashion. This is of great importance for a safe handling and an accurate control of the device in the case of difficult missions such as rescue actions. At the same time, the joint mounting of the means on the bottom together with its firm connection to the tube bodies provides for a safe and effective transmission of all forces of propulsion and steering to the two tube bodies. The design of the propulsion as a so-called shroud propeller serves, on the one hand, for protection towards the exterior and, on the other hand, the propulsion effect is considerably promoted and the steerability is improved, in particular in connection with several lateral rudders that are distributed symmetrically to the vertical longitudinal central plane of the device, which may be linked to the propeller shroud in direct neighbourhood to the propeller.

Claim 2 or 17 serves for the same purpose and, also, has the same effect. In this design, the propulsion and all appertaining means are jointly mounted on a frame which, in turn, is fixed in an easily detachable fashion to the bottom firmly connected to the tube bodies in a design with only a few, in particular four bolts.

Moreover, it is of importance for the intended difficult missions of the device to leave as much free space as possible on the bottom, the construction being compact so that the required rescue equipment, additional task force and rescued injured persons and, nevertheless, sufficient free space remains for the actual rescue work. This is attained in an especially advantageous fashion by claims 9 and 10.

On the one hand, essential elements and weights are focussed in the area of the longitudinal central line of the device and free space is created along the lateral boards thanks to this. Not only the driver, but also one or two or more further crew members find their seat on the box-like seat. Important additional equipment can be accommodated in a protected fashion underneath the box.

An especially simple control and steering even for less experienced crew members is attained by claims 12 or 18 to 20.

A safe and accurate steering and a safe braking of the device is of importance for the intended difficult missions. The housing frame for the propeller and the several lateral rudders which are mounted as closely to the propeller as possible, but, especially effectively, the measures according to claims 7, 8 or 14 also serve for this purpose.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

U.S. Pat. No. 5,112,257 certainly shows a vehicle that is to be usable on water and on ice. For this purpose, two tube bodies are inserted into a shell body and tied up with it by means of straps. Should the shell be flexible this would been that the distance of the tubes is changed, wherewith the entire rod-shaped structure for propulsion and steering that is strapped to the tube bodies with the straps would be distorted. The load of the propulsion and appertaining devices must be directly received by flexible tube bodies. Predominantly, the propulsion force of the drive is only transmitted into the bow area where the two tube bodies meet and, from there, it is transmitted to the ends of the tube bodies via an inflated tyre to the ends of the tube bodies. The vehicle is hardly steerable on difficult, irregular ice surfaces, in particular in view of the difficult weather conditions that prevail at the same time. Due to the attachment of the propulsion and control means directly on the tube bodies, the free space necessary for rescue missions and the appertaining means are missing on the device.

FR-A 2,323,573 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,148,757 show rigid, profiled boat bodies, in which hollow spaces serving as floating bodies are provided. In both cases, the greatest part of the bottom surface is needed by the propulsion and control means and for the accommodation of the crew. WO-A 01/12501 starts from a different objective, namely to provide components that can be assembled to manifold shapes in order to obtain vehicles with different lengths or widths and different propulsions for different purposes. A joint attachment of the propulsion and all means for steering and control on the bottom is not provided, in particular not by means of a frame that occupies only a small part of the bottom surface. The propulsion is not attached in a raised position, its attachment and the allocation of the control and steering means being anyhow not revealed by the WO publication with the exception of the separate arrangement of a panel according to FIG. 36 thereof.

The invention is explained in greater detail in the following by means of schematic drawings and examples of embodiment.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a locomotive device with main body and propeller propulsion.

FIG. 2 shows a top view of the main body with supporting frame supported on the bottom.

FIG. 3 shows a cross-section through the main body at the approximate height of the propulsion.

FIG. 4 shows a top view of the propulsion in tandem design.

FIG. 5 shows a further modified example of embodiment of the propulsion.

FIG. 6 shows a lateral view of a further detail.

FIG. 7 shows a cross-section of a further detail.

The boat body of the keel-less locomotive device consists, as is shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, substantially of a catamaran-like arrangement of two parallel tube bodies 1 and 2. Said tube bodies can be connected to each other at their ends pointing in the driving direction by means of a bow portion (9) consisting of a tube section or a rod. In each case, the front portions of the bodies 1 and 2 are upwardly inclined in the driving direction 49 in order to thus facilitate the transition from water to ice.

The tube bodies are connected to each other by means of a double bottom 5/6 that is firmly connected to the bodies (at 5 a). The bottom serves as a supporting and mounting bottom and is correspondingly dimensioned. For protection against friction, strips 7 and/or 8 are affixed to the underside of the tubes and the bottom 5/6, which consist of a wear-resistant, but resilient material and increase the lateral stability and steerability of the vehicle.

A frame mounting 10 is attached to the bottom 6 in a(n) (easily) detachable fashion, on which, in the example of embodiment, all parts of equipment of the vehicle may be mounted and which can be affixed to the bottom in a(n) easily detachable fashion, e.g. bolted by means of four bolts. In the represented example, the mounting 10 consists of a rear portion 11 and a front portion 12.

In the represented example, four supporting braces, two rear ones 20 a and two front ones 20 b, for a mounting platform 14 for the raised arrangement of the propeller propulsion are supported on the rear portion 11, which are designed in a limited articulated and length-adjustable fashion in order to be able to adjust the mounting platform and, thus, the axis of rotation of the propeller 25 vis-à-vis a plane that is in parallel to the bottom. An internal combustion engine 13 with gearbox, lubricant tank, propeller 25 and other additional means is mounted on the platform 14. The blades of the propeller 25 are adjustable about their longitudinal axis and surrounded by an annular housing frame 26, i.e. a “shroud propeller”. In the case of a corresponding design of the shroud, an increase of the thrust effect of the propeller can be achieved.

Preferably, two or three lateral rudders 27 a, 27 b are supported on the rear side of the frame 26 in a swivelling fashion, which, in each case, are synchronously pivotable about an approximately perpendicular axis, which can be controlled through sheathed cables or the like (not shown) by a control unit 31/32.

In the shown example of embodiment according to FIG. 1 and FIG. 3, a box seat 30 as in a motorcycle is mounted on the front portion 12 of the frame support, on which the driver and one or more persons can sit astride one behind the other. The seat may be hinged or detachable, in order to make an access to the electric circuit and the fuel pump with accessories possible, which are accommodated in the box in a protected fashion. The already mentioned control and steering unit is disposed in front of box 30, ail control elements necessary for the operation of the vehicle and the engine being disposed on said control and steering unit in similar fashion as in a motorcycle. In the example, a motorcycle handlebar 32 for controlling the lateral rudders 27 a, 27 b is in particular provided, which is connected to the actuating means of the lateral rudder through sheathed cables that cross each other.

According to FIG. 6, a rudder 15 may be provided that is connected to the handlebar 32 in parallel to the lateral rudder 27 and can be lowered between a standby-position and an effective position in order to support control in the water. The blade 15 is connected to a liftable and lowerable swivelling support 51 that can slide up and down in a sleeve 51 a and is rotatably connected to it through a toothing, while the sleeve itself is rotatably mounted and connected to the sheathed cables 53 of the control 32 through lateral arms 52. Everything is mounted on the frame support 10.

In order to improve the lateral stability of the vehicle when it drives on ice, cutting-edge-like runners 38 to 40 in flexible holders 36, 37 may be provided on the tube wall 35 as is shown by FIG. 7. Their length is small as compared with the length of the bodies.

The vehicle can be constructed in various sizes in order to be able to accommodate the varying number of assistants and auxiliary equipment. In order to obtain the necessary propulsion force in larger and heavier vehicles, two propeller propulsions 25 a and 25 b, in each case with engines 44 and 45 and gearbox, may be provided in tandem arrangement. In this connection, the rear propeller drive is designed as a thrust propulsion and the front one in the direction of motion 49 is designed as a tractor propulsion, as is shown in FIG. 4. Instead of this, it is also possible to mount the propeller 25 in a raised position, but separately from gearbox 42 and engine 41, and to provide a flexible drive connection 16, 17, 43 with belts or chains or the like, as is shown in FIG. 5. Then, a more powerful engine 41 can be directly mounted on the frame 12. A controllable gearbox 42 may also be provided, which may even be designed as a reverse gearbox in order to be able to reverse the direction of rotation of an adjustable propeller for slowing down the vehicle. This may be of importance since the vehicle develops a high speed on ice. It may also be useful for a rescue mission, if the vehicle can also be moved backwards by means of engine force or if it is to be slowed down.

Something like that can also be achieved if the propulsion as a whole is disposed pivotably or rotatably about a perpendicular axis 41 b as this is only outlined in FIG. 5. For instance, a live ring 41 a that is controllable via an adjusting means might be provided between frame 11 and engine 41 so that the vehicle can also be steered and also be slowed down at the same time with the propulsion. In the case of smaller vehicles, engine and propeller may also be mounted on one end of a swivel arm that can be rotated with its other end about a perpendicular axis in a controlled fashion.

In FIGS. 4 and 5, a housing arrangement situated around the propeller may also be provided as this is explained in FIG. 1. Its geometrical shape may also be adapted to an improvement of the air flow (e.g. in the sense of a venturi design), it may only be provided with planks on part of its circumference, based on a supporting frame, which has a minimum distance from the outer ends of the propellers 25, 25 a, 25 b.

It is evident that the vehicle is of a simple structure and of a comparatively low weight. It can be easily handled and it can accommodate additional equipment and persons. It is equally suited for driving on water and ice and, consequently, it can be used in a multi-purpose fashion, even under difficult conditions such as storms and thunderstorms.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US20130189883 *Apr 27, 2012Jul 25, 2013Billy D. MillerAir-propelled watercraft having an inflatable hull
Classifications
U.S. Classification440/37, 114/345
International ClassificationB63C9/32, B63H25/38, B62B15/00, B63B7/08, B62B13/00, B63H7/02, B62B13/06, B63H7/00
Cooperative ClassificationB63B7/082, B62B13/06, B62B15/006, B62B15/00, B63H7/02, B63H25/382, B63C9/32
European ClassificationB62B15/00I, B62B13/06, B63C9/32, B63H7/02, B62B15/00, B63B7/08B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 9, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: FICHT, REINHOLD, GERMANY
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:FICHT, MARKUS;REEL/FRAME:018729/0522
Effective date: 20050725