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Publication numberUS2702680 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 22, 1955
Filing dateFeb 23, 1951
Priority dateFeb 23, 1951
Publication numberUS 2702680 A, US 2702680A, US-A-2702680, US2702680 A, US2702680A
InventorsHeinemann Edward H, Mayo Alfred M, Walpole Harold L
Original AssigneeHeinemann Edward H, Mayo Alfred M, Walpole Harold L
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Pilot's escape capsule
US 2702680 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

1955 E. H. HEINEMANN ETAL 2,702,680

PILOT'S ESCAPE CAPSULE 4 Sheets-Sheet l Filed Feb. 23

I N V EN TORS [dward/if/ez'nemann, AlfredMMayafi E. H. HEINEMANN vET AL PILOT'S ESCAPE CAPSULE 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTORS IZ/Vayo BY raldL.WaZ ole fdwardfiU/ezhemann,

Feb. 22, 1955 Filed Feb. 23

Feb. 22, 1955 E. H. HEINEMANNI ET AL 2,702,680

PILOTS ESCAPE CAPSULE 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Feb. 23, 1951 INVEN TORS [dward M/Ieinemann, AlfredM/Va 0 g BY flarola LMfa [page Feb. 22, 1955 E. H. HEINEMANN ETAL 2,702,680

PILOTS ESCAPE CAPSULE Filed Feb. 23, 1951 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 5 1 INVENTORS fdward Ml/ez'nemzrvz, Alfred/11 4030 PILOTS ESCAPE CAPSULE Edward H. Heinemann, Alfred M. Mayo, and Harold L.

Walpole, Los Angeles, Calif., assignors, by mesne assignments, to the United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy Application February 23, 1951, Serial No. 212,296

9 Claims. (Cl. 244140) The invention relates to emergency escape means for airplanes in flight. More particularly this invention is directed to an airplane and an escape capsule or pod which is completely enclosed and which may be pressurized and insulated. A pilot using the capsule to get free of his craft will be safely dropped from very high altitudes where the rarified atmosphere and extreme cold will normally destroy life quickly.

According to the invention, the cockpit capsule is blown from the plane when a release control is pulled by the pilot. Stabilizing tail fins prevent the device from tumbling through the air, and a large parachute drops it to earth.

Normal cockpit instruments and controls are carried in the capsule, which is clamped to the fuselage. When the release control is pulled a JATO propulsion unit builds up enough pressure to release clamps holding the capsule, disconnects all electrical wiring and mechanical linkages in the cockpit, extend the tail fins and eject the capsule.

Prior to the present improvements it was known to use jettisonable nose sections, bottom escape with chutes from the cockpit, and ejection seats. Of these the ejection seat is at present the most widely accepted. The speed for safe application of the ejection seat is limited in that no protection from air blast is provided except for the face curtain. High decelerating forces occur as a result of high drag-Weight ratios. Recent data supports the opinion that the present ejection seats are adequate only to speeds of 520 knots and to altitudes of approximately 45,000 feet.

During operation of the present improvements after ejection, the forward speed of the capsule decreases and the stabilizing fins become less effective. When this occurs a small drogue parachute is autmatically fired to help stabilize the capsule. The drogue chute in turn develops enough tension to pull open the door of the main parachute retaining portion and the main parachute is then pulled out for use.

In case the main parachute becomes ripped or fouled the pilot can leave the capsule during descent by sliding the overhead canopy forward. He would then use his personal parachute.

When the cockpit capsule lands at sea the main parachute may be released and an automatic or manual device simultaneously will lower the sealed battery of the plane into the water. The relatively heavy battery acts as a stabilizer by lowering the capsules center of gravity. The battery may continue to be used to supply 1 power for a radio to direct rescue operations by proper insulating of parts. Survival gear and emergency rations may be stowed in the capsule.

The cockpit unit or pod has the additional advantage that it floats in water and can serve as a boat for pilots ejected over the ocean. In case of a crash-land at sea the cockpit unit can be separated from the rest of the fuselage and float away while the plane itself sinks.

An object of the invention is to provide an escape capsule for aircraft which may be ejected during flight of the plane.

Another object is to provide an escape capsule having stabilizing means for use during descent of the capsule.

Another object is to provide air escape capsule which may serve as a boat for an ejected or crash-land pilot.

Another object is to provide a buoyant escape capsule which may be stabilized after landing on water by devices capable of lowering the center of gravity of the capsule.

These and other objects will be manifest from a consideration of the following description claims and draw ings in which:

Fig. 1 is a side elevation, partly in section, which schematically shows the general arrangement of parts and the manner in which the ejectable cockpit or capsule is mounted in the aircraft.

Fig. 2 is a view of the capsule locking and releasing mechanism as seen from the line 2-2 of Fig. 1.

Fig. 3 is an exploded view of an Oldham shaft coupling which forms the mechanical linkages such as the foot pedal connection to the body of the aircraft and which separates as illustrated on ejection of the capsule.

Fig. 4 is a detail view, partly in section, of the tail portion of the capsule and includes the drogue chute canister and the force sensitive means.

Fig. 5 is a detail view, partly in section, on the line 5- of Fig. l, and shows the position of the stabilizing fins relative to the fin actuating means.

Fig. 6 is a diagrammatic view of the fuselage and capsule in flight position and in the relative positions assumed by them immediately subsequent to ejection of the capsule.

Figs. 7, 8, 9 and 10 are diagrammatic views of the deployment of the drogue and main chute in their sequential order during descent of the ejected cockpit.

Fig. 11 is a diagrammatic view of the capsule suspended in mid-air by the main chute.

Fig. 12 is a diagrammatic view in water with the battery lowered the main parachute detached.

Referring to Fig. 1 of the drawing, the fuselage 10 of an aircraft supports an escape pod or capsule 11, by fixed cradle supports 12 and 13. During normal flight the escape capsule 11 constitutes the pilots cockpit. The capsule 11 is secured in position by the hold down release clamp assembly generally depicted at 14. A JATO unit 15 is secured in the capsule over the release clamp assembly 14. When the JATO unit is fired by the pilot it releases the hold down clamp and provides thrust to move the pod upwardly and rearwardly so as to clear the fuselage and tail of the plane.

As the capsule leaves the aircraft, pressure from the gas of the JATO rocket unit 15 forces a piston 17' in cylinder 16 rearwardly. The piston rod 17, Figs. 5 and 6, moves a cam lever 18 on each fin 19 and forces each of the three fins to a predetermined extended position against suitable stops 20. In moving the fins 19, the piston rod becomes radially located with respect to the cam levers 18 and prevents retraction of the fins. A gas conduit 21 connects the JATO unit 15 and the cylinder 16.

A second gas conduit 25, Fig. 4, from the JATO unit 15 leads to a drogue chute canister release mechanism 26. The drogue parachute is connected by cable 27 to a pivoted force sensitive main parachute release unit 28 which includes a detachable top portion. The top portion is secured to the drogue chute by knotting the cable so that it will not slip and will exert a tension on the top portion when the drogue chute has opened. The cable 27, as will be seen, is prevented from pulling out or releasing the main chute until the top or stem 71 of the force sensitive release unit 28 becomes detached.

The drogue chute release canister is fired from an off center position to insure clearing the fins 19. That portion of the cable 27 leading to main parachute is also off center for the same reason.

As before stated the escape capsule constitutes the pilots cockpit and includes rudder pedal 24, seat 29, stick 30 and panel 31. The stick 30 and panel 31 may be electrically connected to the fuselage 10 by sealed connectors 32 and 33 which are essentially standard AN electrical connector receptacles and plugs. They may be pulled apart on ejection of the capsule. They are normally held togetherby springs 34 between the plugs and fuselage structure's. All mechanical controls (some not shown) are transferred from the cockpit capknown per se. A shaft coupling will include a coupling member 35 having a central plate portion 36 from which angularly displaced projections 37, 38 extend. These extensions slide into recesses 39, 40 of the input and of the capsule floating to act as a keel, and

the total force necessary to separate..,the electrical and eontrol equ pment of a typical installation will ap roximate 500' to 600 pounds. The distance necessary to separate all connections is preferably less than two inches. Variation in the controls is contemplated including the use of a mechanical linkage from thestick to the fuselage.

The above describes the general operation. In Fig. 2 is shown the end' of the IATO unit and its annular nozzle 41. The nozzle has an annular flange 42 which is gripped by hooked toggle links 43, 44 which are carried by the T-shaped clevis 45,. fixed to the airplane fuselage 10.

"A piston 46 is 47 which rests on the top of the clevis 45 and surrounds the rod of piston 46. The toggle hooks 43, 44 are pivotally joined to a toggle linkage formed by the links 48 and 49. Accordingly on firing by the pilot through conventional firing means '50, the gas pressure from the JATO units 15 forces the piston 46 downwardly and activates the links 48, 49 to spread the hooks 43, 44 and release thepod. Suflicient tolerance of parts permit the locking position as shown and release as above described. I

The link 49 is preferably elongated and connected to a cable 51 which provides a manual release useful in crash landings on water and in assembly and maintenance work.

When the pilot fires the JATO unit gas begins to move through gas conduits 21, 25. As pressure quickly builds up in conduit 21 and cylinder 16, the piston 17' and piston rod 17 moves rearwardly, Figs. 4 and 5, and causes the three cam levers 18 to pivot about shafts 52. One of the fins 19 is integral with each of the cam levers and the fins move into locked stabilizing position against stops when .the piston rod 17 moves rearwardly. This action takes place immediately following ejection of the capsule.

Shortly after this the gas from the JATO rocket moving through conduit causes the pressure in chamber 55 of the drogue chute ejector to build up to approxi mately 200 p. s. i. This takes about .2 second in a typic nsta la i n r A piston 56 which may be W-shaped, as shown, is connected to a fixed receptacle portion 57 by break link 58 designed to break at its reduced portion at design value (200 p. s. i.). An 0 seal ring 59 prevents loss of pressure. When break link 58 is broken the gas in chamber 55 and the piston 56 pushes the drogue chute canister 60 out of the capsule and separates it from the drogue chute 61 as best shown in Fig. 7. It may be noted that the canister 60 has a flanged top to fair with the surface of the capsule.

The ejection of the drogue chute 61 asabove-described causes the cable 27 which is connected to the chute to be drawn out and to apply a tension on the force sensitive means generally depicted at 28.

The force sensitive means 28 is bodily pivoted in a fixed bracket as at 64. The force sensitive means has two vented ring sealed pistons 65, 66. Piston 65 is integral with the member 67 which is pivoted at 64. The member 67 passes through piston 66 against which spring 68 presses upwardly. The pistons may be spaced by cocking dogs 69, 70 which pivot on removable stem 71 secured to chute cable 27. The stem portion 71 is held in place by latch dogs 72, 73 mounted on pins fixed to cylinder 76 and which cooperate with dog push rods 74, 75 to release the stem 71. The cylinder 76 is hydraulically filled as by oil which with the orifices in the pistons.65, 66 prevent operation of the mechanismdue to load surges. The operation in use is as follows:

The high initial load on the drogue chute occasioned by the high speed of the capsule immediately following e eetment pulls piston 65 down over the cocking dogs 69, 70, cylinder 76 sliding with respect. to piston 65 and on member 67. The dogs remain closed until reset manually. When the drogue chute tension decreases to less than'the load of spring 68, the piston 66 moves up wardly and piston 65 forces dog push' rods 74, 75 to pivot latch dogs 72, 73 and release the stem 71.

Release of the stem 71 allows the drogue chute 61 to pull out the main parachute 78. The main parachute'is pressed into the nozzle 41 by a spring stowed in lower compartment 79 of he caps le n is secured in position by a removable bottom portion 80 secured to the capsule by latch 81. Withdrawal of the latch 81 to permit dropping ofi of the bottom portion is eifected by a short cable 82 spliced or otherwise secured to cable 27. The arrangement is such that after release of stem 71, the tension of the drogue chute is applied to release the latch 81 and pull out the main chute 78. The main chute cable 34 is secured to detachable stud 85 near the rear of the cockpit slide door 86. The door v86 slides forwardly.

From the above description thesequence of operation as shown in Figs. 6 through 11 will be obvious. As shown,-Fig. 7; after the capsule has been ejected to clear the tail 100 of the airplane and the fins opened, the drogue chute is ejected and opens to apply tension to the force sensitive mechanism, Fig. 8 When drogue chute tension lessens the main chute is unlatched and pulled out, Figs. 9, 10. Then the capsule is lowered as illustrated in Fig. 11.

From the above it will be'seen that a purpose of the fins 19 is to bring the tail down so that the capsule will assume a nearly horizontal attitude. its position as it is lowered by the parachutes will, of couree, be determined by relation of the center of gravity to the attach point of the main parachute.

In the event of landing on water, the capsule serves as a boat. After landing 'the pilot may manually unlatch latch 90 by control 91. The latch mechanism is of conventional design of the bomb release type. This causes battery 92, support 93 and lever 94 to pivot and assume the position shown in Fig. 12, so as to act as a stabilizing keel. The mainparachute can be detached currently with the lowering of the battery or separately by any of many suitable means. It is not essential to the broadest concept of the invention that the battery be lowered but this feature has the advantage of removing weight from the nose of the capsule as well as acting as a keel. I

The capsule may be sealed and pressurized and contain survival gear according to requirements. The escape hatch door 86 slides forwardly and in cases I where it is desirable, the pilot may leave the capsule and use his personal parachute.

The use of a JATO type rocket propulsion unit has been described and illustrated. It is preferred because of weight saving features. A catapult might be substituted and other variations in design made.

It is not desired to be limited to the precise embodiment illustrated, but instead by the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.

Having described the invention in connection with an illustrative embodiment we claim:

1. An airplane having a closed pilot escape cockpit fitted therein, means supporting and releasably locking said cockpit in said airplane, cockpit ejection means connected with the airplane and including a propulsion unit for providing thrust to release .the locking means and to separate the cockpit from the airplane, means supporting and positioning said cockpit relative to the propu1- sion unit for movement of the cockpit upwardly and rearwardly during ejectment, said cockpit having stabilizing means which fair into the airplane during normal flight, means connected with the stabilizing means for extending the stabilizing means after separation of the cockpit and compartment so that the aerodynamic flight of the cockpit will be controlled, a drogue parachute and a main parachute connected to the cockpit, automatic means connected to the drogue parachute for releasing the drogue parachute subsequent to the initiation of operation of the propulsion unit, and. force sensitive means connecting the drogue parachute and the main parachute to draw out the main parachute after the drogue parachute has been opened so that the main parachute may float the compartment downwardly, said force sensitive means including a cocking portion which is activated by a strong pull of the opened drogue parachute moving at high speed, and a releasing portion moveable after the force of the P ll has been reduced'to release a part of the force sensitive. means and thus transfer the reduced pull to the m in parachute to draw out the main parachute.

2., The combination of claim 1 and; the pilot escape cockpit being long, relative to its width and the stabilizingmeans comprising tail forming fins.

3. The combination of claim 2 and; gas conduits con- 5 necting the propulsion unit to the fins and drogue parachute so that gas from the propulsion unit is the motive power for extending the fins and for releasing the drogue parachute.

4. The combination of claim 3 further defined in that the pilot escape cockpit is buoyant, a keel, and means adjustably connecting the keel to the cockpit so that the keel may be lowered into the water after a water land- 1n 5. The combination of claim 1 and; said stabilizing means comprising tail forming fins, a cylinder and piston unit, gas conduits connecting said cylinder and piston unit to the propulsion unit so as to be operated by gas from the propulsion unit, so that movement of the piston is transmitted to the fins to extend them to operative position.

6 The combination of claim 1 and; an ejectable canister for the drogue parachute, a pressure responsive compartment to which said canister is joined, said compartment being connected to the propulsion unit and being responsive to a predetermined gas pressure of the propulsion unit to eject the canister and drogue parachute.

7. The combination of claim 1 further defined in that the cockpit locking means includes a toggle linkage and a gas operable piston fixed to the body of the airplane.

8. The combination of claim 1 further defined in that the drogue parachute is carried in the top portion of the cockpit and the main parachute is carried in the lower portion of the cockpit and that said connecting means between the two parachutes includes means for opening the lower portion for ejection of the main parachute.

9. The combination of claim 1 further defined in that the pilot escape cockpit has an escape hatch and contains operating electrical equipment and control gear which equipment and gear are joined to the airplane by connections which are readily separable by pulling and that the propulsion unit is of a capacity sufficient to separate the connections and to eject the pilot escape cockpit.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,050,324 Hoffman Aug. 11, 1936 2,115,932 Poindexter May 3, 1938 2,446,609 Reed Aug. 10, 1948 2,521,516 Heidman Sept. 5, 1950 2,552,181 Kleinhans May 8, 1951 2,562,459 Hoey July 31, 1951 2,610,815 Smith Sept. 16, 1952

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
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US2829850 *Nov 13, 1956Apr 8, 1958Lockheed Aircraft CorpAircraft ejection seat
US2931598 *Nov 14, 1956Apr 5, 1960Boeing CoEjection seat for aircraft
US2941764 *Aug 8, 1957Jun 21, 1960Electronics Corp AmericaFlaps for supersonic aircraft escape systems
US2977080 *Apr 12, 1956Mar 28, 1961Von Zborowski Helmut Ph G A RAircraft having a detachable cabin
US2986361 *Jul 20, 1959May 30, 1961Codding Gordon EAircraft cockpit arrangement
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US9132915 *May 9, 2011Sep 15, 2015Ohio UniveristyMulti-modal vehicle
US9290259 *Dec 23, 2013Mar 22, 2016Airbus Operations (Sas)Aircraft nose with cockpit and avionics bay modules integrated therein
US20090050739 *Jan 29, 2007Feb 26, 2009Airbus FranceCockpit and aircraft including such cockpit
US20130009007 *Jan 10, 2013Marc TomasiIntermediate support structure for the cockpit of an aircraft
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US20140175224 *Dec 23, 2013Jun 26, 2014Airbus Operations (Sas)Aircraft nose with cockpit and avionics bay modules integrated therein
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U.S. Classification244/140, 102/372
International ClassificationB64D25/00, B64D25/12
Cooperative ClassificationB64D25/12
European ClassificationB64D25/12