US 2216776 A
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Oct, 8. l940 E. HOFFMAN AERIAL TOWED TARGET 2 SheeEs-Sheety l Filed Sept. l0., 1935 EDM-449? 4. HOFFM/V Ff G .5.
oct. 8, 1940. lE HOFFMAN 2,216,776
AERIAL TfOWED TARGET Filed Sept. lO, 1935 2 SheetSV-Sheet 2 INVIA/TOR EDM/452.0 HoF/:M4N
Patented Oct. 8, 194G AERIAL TOWED TARGET Edward L. Hoffman, San Antonio, Tex. Application September 10, 1935, Serial No. 39,949
(Granted under the act of March 3, 1883, amended April 30, 1928; 370 0. G. 757) The invention described herein may be manufactured and used yby or for the Government for governmental purposes, without the payment to me of any royalty thereon. l
This invention relates to improvements in aerial display devices of the type adapted to be towed behind an airplane or other aircraft as a target in anti-aircraft or aerial gunnery.
The type of aerial towed target in practical use consists generally of a hollow streamlined body of iiexible fabric material having an open end or mouth into which the air rushes to innate or distend the body when the latter is towed behind the airplane. The mouth or open end of the target is usually about live feet in diameter and is maintained to permit inflation by a bracing and stiilening member, such as a metal ring. Due to the presence of such a large ring it is diiilcult to bundle or roll up the target into a small compact` mass for transportation and launching.
Among other things, therefore, it is an object of the invention to provide for the elimination, in a tow target structure, of the ring reinforcement and to substitute ltherefor novel means accomplishing the same purposes as the ring reinforcement and, in addition, providing for the ready and convenient bundling or packing of the target into a small roll or mass.
Briefly, the invention consists in the addition to the streamlined or usual cigar-shaped bag of a plurality of panels located forwardly of but sewn back into the mouth of the bag and meeting in a common seam coincident with the longitudinal.
axis of `the bag. In flight, the panels forma polygonal fin or airflow straightener. Through their employment,-the ring reinforcement heretofore inserted in the mouth of the target is entirely eliminated.
The above and other objects of the invention are attained by the novel construction, arrangement, and combination of parts hereinafter more fully described and pointed out with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein- Figure l is a view in perspective of an aerial tow target embodying the improvements of the invention.
Figure 2 is a side elevation of the front or fore i portion of the target.
Figure 3 is a vertical sectional view of the rear or aft portion of the target.
Figure 4 ls a vertical section on line 1 4 of Figure 3.
Figure 5 is a horizontal section on line 5--5 of Figure 3.
Figure 6 is a ver-tical section on line 6-6 of Figure l.
Figure '7 is a vertical section on line 1--7 of Figure 1.
Figure 8 is a vertical cross section of the open end or mouth of the target to show the iin or -panel structure thereof.
Figure 9 is a side view on an enlarged scale of the looped or towing end of the target.
t Figure 10 is a view in perspective of the structure shown in Figure 9.
Figure 11 is a section on line I l-I I of Figure l.
Figure l2 is a section on line l2--I 2 of Figure l0.
Figure 13 is a diagrammatic view of a modified form of air straightener construction.
Upon further reference to the drawings it will be `seen that the target of the present invention is composed of two sections, the fore part'or -front section A comprising in night a hexagonal fin or air straightener Iby means of which the air flow is directed into a substantially cigar-shaped or streamlined bag B comprising the aft portion of the target. Sections A and B are made of suitable flexible material, such as balloon cloth,
The bag tapers from a large unreinforced circular mouth l at its front end to a much smaller vent opening 2 at its rear end. It is composed of a plurality of panels 3 connected along their sides by lapseams and stitching as shown to advantage at 4 and 5 respectively in Figure 6.- The front and rear edge of each panel is doubled back and sewed down as shown at 6 in Figure 3 and at 1 in Figure 5, and enclosed in each of thel circumferential borders or hems thus formed at the mouth I and vent Zof the bag is a silk filler tape 8, the ends 8a and 8b of which overlap as shown to advantage in Figure 4.
It will be noted that thediameter of the bag is constant from the mouth l rearwardly for a distance fr, Fig. 3, approximately a third of the length of the bag, and sewn back into the mouth of the bag is the fore part A of the target, the said fore part being so constructed, as hereinafter explained, as to form in flight a polygonal Afin or air straightener which serves to maintain the size and shape of thev opening or mouth and at-the same time directs and guides the air flow along the channels at the angles of the fins and into the bag to cause inflation thereof. The air pressure Within the bag keeps all parts taut. Through the employment of the air straightener A, lthe stiff ring reinforcement heretofore inserted in the mouth of the target is entirely eliminated and by constructing the air straightener of a flexible material the same as, or similar to, the balloon cloth material of the bag, a target is provided which is perfectly flexible and which can be rolled upon itself or otherwise done up into a. bundle without difiiculty for convenience in transporta# tion and launching.
The air straightener A may be composed of three fabric diaphragms or panels 9 meeting in a common seam l0 coincident with the longitudinal axis of the target and arrangedto provide six n units as shown in Figures 1 and 10,
or six separate panels 9a may be stitched together as shown in Figure 13. In either case, the panels diminish Vin width from their rear constant diameter portions II, which are inserted into the bag less than the full distance x, until they closely approach the axis of the target at their outer ends I2 a substantial distance forwardly of the bag opening I. The material along the sides and ends of the panels is folded back and stitched upon itself to provide suitable borders or hems, the borders or hems at the outer ends I2 having a silk filler tape I3 while each of the side borders or hems has a silk tape I4 on the outside thereof and stitched thereto for the full length of the tapered edge. The tapes I4 pass on the outside of the bag and beyond'the end of the panels as shown at I4a and are secured to the rear portions I I of the panels through the fabric of the bag by stitching I5 as seen in Fig. 1l. For this purpose, the tapes i4 and the hemmed part of the panel rear portions Il are twisted or folded over, as shown at I6 and Il respectively, to lie in planes at right angles to the planes of their respective panels.
The forward or leading end I2 of the air straightener is provided with a loop for connection with the ring or hook of-a tow line. Upon reference to Figures 9 and 10, it will be observed that the loop is conveniently formed of three silk tapes I8, I9 and 20, carried by the middle vertical panel and the left and right side panels respectively. opposite end portions disposed over and along the tapes I4 at the hemmed edges of the panel with which it is associated, the panel and tapes being firmly secured by the stitching 2I. The portions of the tapes I8, I9 and 20 which overhang or extend forwardly of the leading end I 2 of the air straightener A are nested, one within the other, and provide a composite loop 22, the members of which are secured by the stitching 23.
From the foregoing description, it is believed that the nature and advantage of the improveme'nts will be readily appreciated and it is to be understood, also, that various modifications and alterations I n the structure and design of the invention may be resorted to within the scope of the appended claims.
1. In an aerial target to be towed behind aircraft and including a hollow inflatable bag, an air straightener located forwardly of but at its rear end extending back into the mouth of the bag and comprising a plurality of elongated fabric panels meeting in a common seamcoincident with the longitudinal axis of the target and in radial arrangement about said seam to provide an elongated polygonal fin, said panels being secured to the bag along the side edges of their respective bag-inserted portions, and a plurality of tapes secured together at their opposite terminals to the outer ends of the panels to form individual loops', said loops being nested one within another and secured together to provide a single composite towing loop substantially at the axis of the target.
2. An aerial member to be towed behind aircraft which comprises a plurality of flexible fabric panels connected along their sides by lap seams and stitching to form a hollow streamlined sleeve having a large unreinforced opening or mouth at its front end and a much smaller vent opening at its rear end, and a plurality of flexible fabric panels located forwardly of but extending Each loop-forming tape has its back into the mouth of the sleeve and meeting in a common seam coincident with the longitudinal axis of the sleeve to provide a polygonal fin or air straightener, the segments of the panels which extend within the sleeve being respectively provided with doubled back side edge portions flattened against and secured to the sleeve at the lap seams thereof and providing the sole bracing and stiifening means whereby the open end or mouth of the sleeve is maintained in flight to permit inflation of the sleeve.
3. A device for aerial display comprising an inflatable fabric bag, an air catcher composed of elongated radially disposed fabric panels extending from a point forwardly of the mouth of the bag to a point Within the mouth of the bag with the external portions of the panels respectively tapered to diminish in width until they approach the axis of the bag at their forward extremities, said panels having doubled back edge portions along their respective sides and ends, the doubled back edge portions along the sides of the bag-inserted segments of the panels being flattened against and secured to the bag to reinforce and stiifen the mouth thereof, and reinforcing tapes secured directly to the doubled back side edge portions of the external segments of the panels and passing on the outside of the bag and beyond the bag-inserted ends of the panels, said tapes being attened against the bag and secured to the internal flattened edge portion of the panels through the material of the bag.
4. An aerial target to be towed behind aircraft and composed of an elongated fabric sleeve having a large and a normally substantially unstiffened circular mouth at one end and a considerably smaller and axial vent opening at its opposite end, the diameter of the sleeve being constant from the mouth inwardly for a distance approximately a third of the length of the sleeve and thereafter gradually decreasing toward the axial vent opening, and a polygonal n of fabric 'materialhaving an end portion of constant diameter disposed within the mouth of the sleeve in contact with and secured to the constant diameter portion of the sleeve for less than the full length of the constant diameter portion ofthe said sleeve to stiffen and reinforce the mouth of the sleeve, said fin extending outwardly of the mouth of the sleeve for a distance slightly less than half or approximately two fifths the total length of the target and decreasing in diameter from its said end portion to its outer end to provide a tapered air straightener for guiding and directing air flow into the sleeve when towed to cause inflation thereof.
5. An aerial tow target comprising an inflatable body composed of a plurality of elongated fabric panels connected together by lap seams and stitching to provide a collapsible fabric cylinder having a large mouth at the forward end and a vent at the rear end, the material at the ends of the cylinder being'doubled back and sewed down to provide circumferential stiflening rims of several thicknesses of fabric at the mouth and the vent respectively, and an air straightener for directing air through the cylinder composed of a plurality of fabric diaphragms radiating from a common seam and shaped to provide fabric vanes of long substantially right-angled triangular contours having their base portions disposed diametrically across the mouth of the cylinder at the inside of the forward end of the cylinder and having their apices disposed to meet in a common point, the material at the ends and along the sides of the vanes being folded back and stitched upon itself to provide stiifening fabric borders on the several vanes, each vane having that portion of its side border which is on the inside of the cylinder folded over and fiattened against a lap seam of the cylinder, and exterior tapes stitchedover the side borders for the full lengths of the exposed portions of the respective vanes and passing on the outside of the forward end of the cylinder and over the lap seams thereof, the said tapes and the fiattened borders of the vanes being secured through the fabric of the cylinder and the seam by stitching.
6. An aerial tow trailer comprising an inflatable collapsible fabric sleeve open at both ends for the-passage of air therethrough, and an air catcher and stabilizing member at the air entrance end of the sleeve providing the sole stiifening and reinforcement for the sleeve whereby the said forward end of the latter is maintained in flight to permit inflation of the sleeve, said member comprising radially disposed fabric panels meeting in a common seam coincident with the tow axis of the sleeve and at their rear ends ex-4 tending slightly into the air entrance end of the sleeve and having doubled-back outer longitudinal edge portions flattened against and secured to' the sleeve.
7. An aerial tow trailer comprising a longitudinally elongated inflatable collapsible fabric sleeve open at both ends for the passage of air therethrough, a plurality of radially disposed fabric panels meeting at the air entrance end of the sleeve in a common seam coincident with the tow axis of the sleeve, said panels at their rear ends extending slightly into the air entrance of the sleeve and at their forward ends extending outwardly of the sleeve for a distance less than the length of the sleeve, the rear end portions of the panels which extend within the sleeve having doubled-back outer side-edge positions flattened against and secured to the sleeve to internally stien and reinforce the latter at its air entrance end, and reinforcing tapes on the outside of the sleeve and secured to the said attened edge portions of the panels through the material of the sleeve.
8. A towing loop for an aerial tow target comprising a plurality of tapes secured at their respective opposite ends to the target to form individual loops, said loops at their outer ends being nested one within another and secured together to provide a single composite towing loop.
9. An aerial trailer comprising an elongated sleeve-like structure having a relatively long collapsible sleeve-like main body portion open at both ends, and -a plurality of parallel air current directing sleeve-like cells opening into the forward end of the sleeve-like body, each of said cells being open at its fore and aft ends,.and means for maintaining the leading open end portions of said cells in substantially parallel relation with one another in flight.
10. In an aerial tow target the combination of an elongated sleeve having a passageway therethrough open at both ends, means at the entrance end of the sleeve to direct the air in a stabilized stream through said sleeve, and other means associated forwardly of and with said last mentioned means to provide a positive and uniform action thereof.
11. In an aerial tow target the combination of trance end ofthe sleeve to direct the air in a stabilized stream into and through said sleeve, and a fin construction associated forwardly of and with said last mentioned means and with said sleeve to provide positive and uniform action thereof.
12. In an aerial tow target the combination of an elongated sleeve having a passageway therethrough open at both ends, means at the entrance end of said sleeve to divide the air stream into a plurality of stabilized streams, and other means associated forwardly of and with said stream dividing means to provide positive and uniform action` of said last mentioned means.
13. In an aerial tow target the combination of an elongated sleeve having a passageway therethroughopen at both ends, means at the entrance end of said sleeve to divide the air stream into a plurality of stabilized streams, and a radial n construction associated forwardly of and with said last mentioned means to provide positive and uniform action thereof.
14. An aerial trailer comprising as the major body portion thereof an elongated sleeve having a passageway therethrough for direction of air stream flow therethrough, and a plane iin connected at the forward open end of the sleeve and extending forwardly therefrom `for a less distance than the length of the sleeve, said iin at the forward end thereof being adapted to be connected to a tow cable.
15. An aerial trailer comprising an' elongated sleeve-like structure having a relatively long collapsible sleeve-'like main body portion open at both ends, and a plurality of parallel air current directing sleeve-like cells opening directly into the forward end of thel sleeve-like body, each of said cells being open' at its fore and aft ends.
16. An aerial trailer comprising an elongated sleeve-like structure having a relatively long collapsible sleeve-like main body open at both ends, a plurality of grouped parallel air current directing sleeve-like cells which are shorter than the main body sleeve opening into said main sleevelike body at the forward end thereof, each of said.
cells being open at its fore and aft ends.
17. An aerial trailer comprising an elongated sleeve-like main body structure having a relatively long collapsible sleeve-like body open at both ends, ay plurality of parallel air current directing sleeve-like cells opening into the forward end of said sleeve-like body, each of said cells being open at fore and aft ends, the aft end of the main body sleeve being choked with a restricted spill opening.
18. An aerial tow trailerjfor target practice and the like comprising an elongated flexible and collapsible main body sleeve which is relatively long to permit use as a target when being towed from an aircraft, and asleeve-like arrangement of cells at the fore end of the main body sleeve and of appreciably less length than the main body sleeve for directing air flow into the main body sleeve.
19. An aerial trailer comprising a long narrow main body sleeve construction open at its fore and aft ends to permit the passage therethrough of an air stream, and a forwardly extending tapered bridle vane construction connected at the forward open .end of the sleeve construction including a-plurality of radially extending Plane vanes which radiate from the axis of the sleeve construction extended.
EDWARD L. HOFFMAN.