US 2896564 A
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y 28, 1959 K. E. WRIGHT 2,896,564
V RAMP FOR SEAPLANE Filed March 25, 1955 2 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTOR KENNETH E. WRIGHT ATTORNEYS July 28, 1959 K. E. WRIGHT RAMP FOR SEAPLANE Filed March 23, 1955 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR WRIGHT KENNETH E.
ATTORNEYS United States Patent RAMP FOR SEA'PLANE Kenneth E. Wright, Vienna, Va.
Application March 23, 1855, Serial No. 496,359
7 Claims. (Cl. 114-435) (Granted under Title 35, U.S. Code (1952), sec. 266) The invention described herein may be manufactured and used by or for the Government of the United States of America for governmental purposes without the payment of any royalties thereon or therefor.
This invention relates to a means for docking a seaplane, and more particularly to a ramp which may be placed on a ship or adjacent a shore and upwhich a seaplane may be moved under its own power.
In the past, refueling, .rearming, changing personnel and performing minor repairs on seaplanes have been operations performed with the seaplane moored to a buoy or a floating dock. A ship, known as a seaplane tender, was stationed some distance away from the buoy or dock, thus necessitating travel back and forth with personnel, armaments, spare parts, etc. Under ideal weather conditions, these operations have been found to be difiicult and time consuming; inclement weather frequently impairs or precludes them. The operations have also required a high degree of skill by the personnel involved. Even if the seaplane is brought close to the tender, no great improvement is obtained. For major overhaul Work the seaplane has been hoisted aboard the tender.
Where a land base has been available, the seaplane ties up to a buoy, is tethered, a beaching gear attached, and then the plane on the beaching gear is towed up a ramp. The advent of adverse sea and wind conditions have been found to make even these operations ditficult, dangerous, and at times impossible.
The invention comprises a ramp having inflatable members thereon which support and guide a seaplane and up which the seaplane may move under its own power.
An object of the present invention is to provide means which will permit the docking of a seaplane directly on a ship.
A further object is to provide a seaplane docking means which is useable even in relatively inclement weather.
Still another object is to provide a ramp for seaplanes which will guide and support a seaplane, to thereby reduce the skill required by operating personnel of the seaplane and docking station.
Other objects and many of the attendant advantages of this invention will be readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
Fig. 1 shows the aft end ofa seaplane tender having thereon a preferred embodiment of the invention;
Fig. 2 is a side view, partly in section, showing a seaplane approaching the seaplane tender of Fig. 1;
Fig. 3 is a side view, partly in section, of a seaplane tender with some seaplanes taken aboard, and another approaching the tender;
Fig. 4 is a plan view of the seaplane tender of Fig. l, with the ramp thereof in action position;
Fig. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the ramp of the invention, taken along the line 5-5 of Fig. 4;
Fig. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the ramp of the invention taken along the line 6-6 of Fig. 4;
Patented July 28, 1959 Fig. 7 is a cross-sectional view of a ramp made according to the invention with a seaplane thereon, and
Fig. 8 is a side view showing a ramp in accordance with the present invention installed on a beach.
Referring now to the drawings, wherein like reference characters designate like or corresponding parts throughout the several views, there is shown in Fig. 1 a ship 10 which is used as a seaplane tender. To that purpose, ship 10 has a well 12 therein which extends longitudinally from approximately amidships aft, the transom 14 having been cut as shown. As may be seen from Fig. 2, the deck of the well 12 slopes at an angle, which is preferably approximately 10". In the well 12 there is shown an upwardly concave ramp 16, which has an extension 18 pivotable about a hinge 20. At an upper level there is a split flush deck 22 having sets of'rails 24 and 26 thereon. One or more dollies 28 are positioned on rails 24 and 26 In Fig. 2, the ramp extension 18 is shown in its action position, ready to receive a seaplane thereon. The ship 10 has its stern low in the water in Fig. 2, due to a flooding of ballast tanks, not shown. In Fig. 3, the stern is somewhat higher, the tanks having been blown.
The ramp 16 and ramp extension 18 comprise separate inflatable hollow tubes 30, although the invention is not limited to this shape of inflated member. The tubes 30 of extension 18 rest on generally semi-circular supports 32, 34, 36, which may be connected by stringers 38 whereby the extension 18 has a concave surface corresponding to the ramp surface. The diameter of sup port 34 is greater than that of support 36, and the diameter of support 32 is greater than that of support 34, whereby a flaring of the ramp extension 18 is elfected. As may be seen from a comparison of Figs. 5 and 6, and from Fig. 4, the tubes 30 taper in diameter toward the support 32, in order to permit water to flow between the tubes 30, and thus reduce the resistance of ramp extension 18.
The ramp extension 18 may be pivoted about the hinge 20 when the tender 10 is under way to the position shown in Fig. l, in which case, the tubes 30 of extension 18 may be deflated and either lashed to the supporting structure 32, 34, 36, 38, or removed therefrom and stored. In order to offset the buoyancy of tubes 30 of ramp extension 18, they may be partially flooded with water. All of the lower tubes 30 are inflated to a relatively low pressure, such as five pounds per square inch, whereas those tubes giving lateral support are preferably inflated to a higher value.
There is shown in Fig. 7 a cross-sectional view looking axially of the concave ramp 16, the tubes 30 thereof resting in and secured to support 40 in well 12. The sea plane 43 is given both vertical and lateral support by the ramp 16, the tubes 30 of which yield under the weight of the seaplane, and are deflected asshown.
The ramp 16 and ramp extension 18 may also be used at a beach installation, as shown in Fig. 8. The beach is first given the proper slope, and the ramp 16 and extension 18 placed thereon. In this modification, the outer end of ramp 18 is held in place by suitable anchoring means 42.
In operation, the ramp extension 18 is lowered from its transport position shown in Fig. 1 to the action position shown in Fig. 2. The ship 10, being stationary, may flood certain tanks in the aft end to place the transom end of ramp 16 closer to the water line. Tubes 30 of ramp extension 18 may be flooded partially with water, to overcome any tendency of the extension 18 to float under the bouyancy action of the tubes. The outer end of ramp extension 18 being lower than the maximum depth of a seaplane to be handled, the seaplane is taxied up the ramp, guidance being given by the upper tubes 30. In some situations, as where one or more of the seaplanes engines are disabled, the seaplane may be hauled up the ramp by a winch and line. Otherwise, lines are used only after the seaplane is substantially aboard.
' Alternatively, the tender may retrieve seaplanes by proceeding underway, its tanks not being flooded, and the seaplane may approach the tender from the rear, and overhaul it. In this operation, the seaplane is supported by hydrostatic and hydrodynamic forces, and is at less than its maximum depth. It is guided up the ramp in a manner similar to the guiding of aircraft to a carrier landing.
Ramp 16 may be continually flooded with water to -reduce friction and, as noted above, gives the seaplane both lateral and vertical support. Due to the low pressure in the lower tubes, a large support area is provided by deformation of the tubes under load.
Once the seaplane is up the ramp 1d, the dollies 28 are jacked up under its wings, and carry it forward on the rails 24, 26. In the forward repair position, the hull of the seaplane is unsupported, so that work around the hull, bottom repairs and reloading through the bottom may be undertaken.
Obviously many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in the light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described.
What is claimed is:
1. A seaplane ramp comprising a flared upwardly concave structure having an open, wide end and an open, narrow end, said structure comprising a plurality of adjacent, longitudinally extending, interconnected inflatable members, said ramp being adapted to have its narrow end maintained above water and its wide end submerged.
2.-The ramp of claim 1 wherein said inflatable members are tubular.
'3. The ramp of claim 2 wherein said tubular members taper toward the wide end of said ramp.
4. A ship, a longitudinally extending well in the stern of said ship, and an upwardly concave, flared ramp having an open, wide end and an open, narrow end, said narrow end being secured in said well and said Wide end extending over said stern into the water, said ramp comprising a plurality of adjacent, longitudinally extending, interconnected inflatable members, said members being adapted to be partially flooded with water whereby the wide end will be operatively submerged.
5. The combination of claim 4 wherein said inflatable members are tubular.
6. The combination of claim 5 wherein said ramp comprises a hinge and two longitudinally extending portions connected by said hinge for relative movement about a transverse axis.
7. The combination of claim 6 wherein there is provided a flush deck on either side of said well and means on each deck to support and transport a seaplane in a longitudinal direction in said well.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,103,971 Kratky July 21, 1914 1,372,528 Marcovsky Mar. 22, 1921 2,018,548 Curry Oct. 22, 1935 2,103,380 Scott-Paine Dec. 28, 1937 2,200,661 Templeton May 14, 1940 2,342,773 Wellman Feb. 29, 1944 2,367,835 Kreyer Ian. 23, 1945 2,501,310 Burke Mar. 21, 1950 2,508,304 Sturtevant May 16, 1950 2,539,168 Smith et al Jan. 23, 1951 2,745,118 Potts et al May 15, 1956 FOREIGN PATENTS 245,808 Great Britain Jan. 19, 1926 734,312 France July 26, 1932