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Publication numberUS3096048 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 2, 1963
Filing dateSep 5, 1961
Priority dateSep 5, 1961
Publication numberUS 3096048 A, US 3096048A, US-A-3096048, US3096048 A, US3096048A
InventorsYost Paul E
Original AssigneeYost Paul E
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Heated gas generator for balloon
US 3096048 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

July 2, 1963 P. E. YOs'r 3,096,048

HEATED c s GENERATOR FOR BALLOON Filed Sept. 5, '1961 INVEN TOR. Pd! 5 )si' A TTORNE YS States The present invention relates to improvements in balloons and particularly to a method and apparatus for supplying a lifting gas to a balloon for controlling continuous flight and for controlling the free lift of the balloon.

In the present invention a lifting gas is continuously supplied to the balloon in flight by control of a burner having an improved construction. Balloon flights have heretofore been made requiring inflation of the balloon on the ground with a lifting gas such as hydrogen or helium to provide an excess of free lift, then releasing the balloon and controlling its flight by the release of ballast or the release of gas as the free lift of the balloon changes in flight. This has involved inflation with expensive compressed gas sources, time consuming and diflicult takeofls with interference from surface winds, and difliculty of control along a horizontal flight path in the air. It has also required carrying excess weight for ballast and the provision of a substantially leakproof balloon envelope. Balloons have been flown using heated gases to provide lift, but these have involved gas producing mechanisms which are impossible or diflicult to take in flight, and are diflficult to operate and control.

The present invention contemplates the provision of a balloon provided with a burner for generating lifting gas both to inflate the balloon on the ground and to control the horizontal path of flight of the balloon in the air. The gas generator or burner is of an improved construction for balloon use, and embodies regulating mechanisms which make is possible to inexpensively generate gas for balloon flights, to accomplish continuous long distance flights, and make it possible to accurately and simply control the altitude of the balloon for a desired horizontal path of travel.

An object of the invention is to provide a mechanism and method for generating an inexpensive supply of lifting gas for inflating a balloon on the ground and maintaining the desired free lift in the balloon during flight.

A further object of the invention is to provide an improved burner or gas generator capable of burning liquid or gaseous fuel over long periods of operation while the balloon is in flight and capable of control for varying the free lift of the balloon.

A still further object of the invention is to provide an improved apparatus and method for flying a balloon and for supplying gas to the balloon at take-ofi and during flight which conveniently and controllably obtains rapid take-off and a controlled flight path.

Other objectives, features and advantages will become more apparent with the teaching of the principles of the invention in connection with the disclosure of the preferred embodiment thereof in the specification, claims and drawings, in which:

FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a balloon in flight being supplied with a lifting gas generated in accordance with the principles of the present invention;

FIGURE 2 is a front elevational view of a burner for supplying lifting gas to the balloon;

FIGURE 3 is a rear elevational view of the burner of FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 4 is an enlarged vertical sectional view taken substantially along line IV--IV of FIGURE 3;

FIGURE 5 is an enlarged detailed fragmentary View of a valve of the fuel supply system for the burner; and

FIGURE 6 is a schematic showing of a flight path of a balloon in accordance with the present invention.

' atent As shown on the drawings:

FIGURE 1 illustrates a balloon 10 in flight shown as carrying an individual 12. While a manned flight balloon is illustrated, it will be understood that the principles taught herein may be applied to other load carrying ballocus.

The balloon rider or operator is supported on a suitable chair suspended from side load tapes or load lines 14 which are suitably connected at the apex of the balloon, such as being secured to tapes sewed to the balloon material or other suitable attachment means connected to the balloon material.

While the balloon may be formed of various materials, a material suitable for reuse is advantageous, such as that having an outer layer of fabric with an inner layer of gas impervious material. The outer layer may be woven of nylon threads with the inner layer of Mylar or poly ethylene. This material provides a scufi proof and tearproof exterior while the inner layer may be thin to provide a gas impervious lining preventing the escape of gas through the outer porous layer. The layers are preferably bonded together such as by an adhesive, and the balloon can 'be formed in gores with the edges of the gores sealed to each other. While a gasproof seam is desired, it is not essential that the balloon be completely free of leakage, since escaping gas can be replaced by heated lifting gas from the burner .13 which is supported in position beneath an opening 11 at the apex of the balloon. The heated gas will rise upwardly through the opening 11 into the center of the balloon and subsequently cool and descend down along the surfaces of the Walls within the balloon and some of this cooling gas can be permitted to escape. Heated lifting gas is continually delivered into the balloon through the opening 11 at a controlled rate to obtain the free lift desired.

The burner is centered and the hot combustion gases flow upwardly into the opening 1'1 mixing somewhat with outside air which is aspirated with the flow of combustion gases to slightly reduce their temperature to a level wherein the balloon material is not damaged. In any event the combustion gases will be centered within the opening 11 which will be of suflicient size so that the burning gases will not impinge directly upon the balloon material at the sides of the opening 11.

The burner is supplied with fuel from fuel containers 15 supported on the load lines 14 beneath the balloon, and the load lines are attached to connectors 16 which are at the ends of the burner rigging. The connectors 16 also provide a support for the fuel containers 1-5 Which are supported on arms 15a that can be dropped. The rider is supported on a seat, not shown in detail, which is suitably supported from the connectors.

Laterally extending tubes 17 and 18 are secured at their outer ends to the connectors 16 and are closed at their ends and are hollow for a portion of their interior to provide lines for conducting fuel, and the fuel flows as indicated by the arrowed lines in FIGURES 3 and 4.

The containers 15 have suitable connections for the attachment of flexible lines 19 and 2b which connect to the tubes 17 and 18. Tube 17 connects to a regulating valve 21, and tube 18 connects to a boost valve or an acceleration valve 22. A common line 23 leads from these valves to a T connector with the base being shown as line 24. The line 24 connects to a preheat chamber 32, FIGURE 4, as will be described.

The burner 13 includes a cylindrical burner housing 25 with a burner tube 28- formed in a U-shape so that the burner tip 27 projects up through an opening 26 in the bottom of the housing. The opening permits the upward flow of air to mix with the burning fuel within the housing 25.

27 which may be provided with a tip for accommodating various fuels. While various fuels are satisfactory, the containers may be in the formof propane tanks and the burner 27 will consume propane gas. The burner tube 28 is shown as covered with an insulation 29 to retain the temperature of the :fuel to which it is heated in passing through the preheat chamber 32.

While the fuel tanks 15 are shown as connected to deliver through the indi-vidual valves 21 and 2.2, it is to be understood that the fuel containers may feed to a common line with the valves 21 and 22 arranged in parallel to act in combination and control the flow of fuel to the burner 13. An important feature of the arrangement is that the two valves 21 and 22 simultaneously control the flow of fuel to the burner 13- with valve 21 selectively controlling the flow of fuel at a predetermined substantially uniform rate, and valve 22' being intermittently operated to provide an acceleration or a boost quantity of fuel at selected times. The valve 21 may be of any known type, such as a needle valve controlled by rotating a handle 21a to be gradually opened or closed to obtain a predetermined flow of fuel to the burner. {For a desired operation in accordance with the method of flight, valve 21 is set to deliver a quantity of fuel to the burner 13 which provides heated lifting gas to the balloon of a quantity less than that needed to replace the loss of lift of the gas in the balloon due to leakage and cooling and other factors. The boost valve 22 is at selected times or intervals opened to provide a substantial flow of fuel to the burner 13 which will rapidly increase the free lift of the balloon so that the balloon begins to ascend.

A preferred form of boost valve 22 is illustrated in FIGURE 5, operated by a lever handle 33 connected to a cam 35 which is pivotally supported and when rotated toward the dotted line position of FIGURE 4 presses upwardly on a valve plunger 34 to open the valve. The plunger is biased downwardly such asby aspring 36 to automatically close the valve and return the cam and handle to the solid line position, when the handle 33 is released. This mechanism of course may be operated by other types of operating mechanism and other types of valves may be employed which will provide a rapid opening for the fuel line which can be closed after a short open period.

In accordance with the method of operation, the balloon may be rapidly inflated on the ground. This may be accomplished by auxiliary inflating mechanism, or by the burner 13 by opening both of the valves 21 and 22, and fast flow valve 22 operates as a rapid inflation valve. As soon as the net lift of the balloon equals the load, the balloon will be ready to ascend.

If ascension is to be deferred momentarily, valve 22 can be closed by releasing the lever 33, and the balloon will stay substantially in equilibrium at the ground with the valve 21 supplying fuel to the burner to offset lift losses due to the cooling of the gas and leakage thereof. As soon as ascension is desired, opening valve 22 will provide a rapid take-off and quick acceleration from the ground. Valve 22' then can be operated to achieve the desired rate of ascent.

When the desired altitude is reached, valve 21 may be further adjusted, if not already adjusted to its proper opening, to a flow of fuel which will provide lifting gas to the balloon to compensate for losses and maintain the balloon at substantially level flight. Or, as an alternate,

the valve 21 may be set so that the fuel supplied to the burner is inadequate to compensate for losses, and the balloon will then gradually sink below the desired altitude. The valve 22 may then be operated at selected intervals to return the balloon to the desired altitude, and the balloon will thus oscillate along its desired path of flight.

This general method of operation can be advantageously employed during descent of the balloon, wherein a flight path somewhat like FIGURE 6 is obtained. When the balloon is to be brought down to the ground, or if the balloon is to be maintained at a uniform rate of descent, the valve 21 is closed to where the amount of lifting gas supplied to the balloon will cause it to descend more rapidly than desired. For example, if the broken line 37 indicates the horizontal path of descent, the valve 21 is closed so that the balloon with loss of lift will descend at the angle indicated by the lines 38. At periodic intervals, and to correct the descent to bring it along the line '37, the valve 22 is opened whereupon the balloon will ascend as indicated by the short lines 39. The descent of the balloon can thus be controlled to reduce it to a safe and desirable speed. The combination of valves also makes it possible to obtain a controlled horizontal path of flight with an accuracy heretofore obtainable;

The mechanism is especially well adapted to use with a manned flight balloon wherein the control is achieved manually by the operator, but the apparatus can also be employed in cargo flights or remotely controlled flights supporting heavy pay loads. Also, .whilea single burner is illustrated, multiple burners may be employed utilizing the apparatus and method of the invention.

As a summary of operation, the balloon is inflated on the ground and valve 21 is set to provide a sustaining flow of fuel to the burner 13 which will replace the loss of lift of the gas in the balloon, or which will provide slightly less fuel than that required to replace the loss of lift. Valve 22 is operated at selected timed intervals for rapid acceleration of the balloon in an upward direction, for maintaining the balloon on a desired horizontal course of flight, or for controlling the rate of descent also to obtain a desired path of flight.

The drawings and specification present a detailed disclosure of the preferred embodiments of the invention, and it is to be understood that the invention is to limited to the specific forms disclosed, but covers all modifications, changes and alternative constructions and methods falling within the scope of the principles taught by the invention.

1 claim as my invention:

1. A load carrying free floating balloon assembly comprising a balloon for containing a lifting gas,

burner means supported on the balloon for supplying heated gas to the balloon,

a fuel supply conduit means leading to the burner means,

a first predetermined flow control valve connected to the conduit to supply a predetermined constant fuel flow to the burner means,

a second boost valve connected to said conduit means in parallel relation to said first valve to supply fuel to the burner means independent of the fuel flow passing through said first valve,

said second boost valve having a first, closed position and a second open position and said open position passing a' relatively large flow of fuel to said burner means, and

a rapid opening means connected to said second valve means to substantially instantaneously open and close said second" boost valve means.

2. A load carrying free floating balloon assembly according to claim 1 wherein the first valve is set during 1 the descent of' the balloon to regulate the flow of gas therethrough at a rate which will cause the balloon to descend more rapidly than desired, and the second boost valve is opened at desired periodic intervals to cause the balloon to ascend slightly and thereby control the descent of the balloon to a safe and desirable speed.

3. A load carrying firee floating balloon assembly ac- 5 cording to claim 1 wherein said burner means includes a cylindrical burner housing having a bottom opening to supply heated gas to the balloon, and a preheat manifold concentric with the top portion of the burner housing to preheat fuel being supplied to the burner means.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Wheaton Feb. 5, 19 18 Dardel Nov. 14, 1939 Arndt Aug. 15, 1961 FOREIGN PATENTS Great Britain June 18, 1903

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1255370 *May 17, 1916Feb 5, 1918A W Wheaton Brass WorksSelf-closing faucet and wrench or handle therefor.
US2180036 *Jun 8, 1938Nov 14, 1939Joseph Dardel AimeAirship and process for sustaining the same
US2996112 *Aug 23, 1957Aug 15, 1961Habco Mfg CompanyJet burner
GB190317383A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3229932 *Jul 9, 1964Jan 18, 1966Raven Ind IncManeuvering valve for hot air balloon
US3508725 *May 14, 1968Apr 28, 1970Goodyear Aerospace CorpPilot airborne recovery device
US3531064 *Apr 12, 1968Sep 29, 1970Bruce T MccutchanMethod and apparatus for transporting gas
US3632133 *Feb 25, 1969Jan 4, 1972Eaton Yale & TowneVehicle safety apparatus including an inflatable confinement
US3945591 *Nov 18, 1974Mar 23, 1976Cameron Balloons LimitedHot air balloons
US4332547 *Oct 1, 1979Jun 1, 1982Macdonald Jr James DThrust augmenter ejector combustion device
US5567142 *Aug 26, 1994Oct 22, 1996Purdy; BruceBurner system for a radio-controlled hot air balloon
US5810286 *Oct 11, 1996Sep 22, 1998Matsler; Winfield R.Lighter-than-air aircraft
USRE29228 *Oct 14, 1975May 24, 1977Eaton CorporationVehicle safety apparatus including an inflatable confinement
WO1997011879A1 *Oct 29, 1996Apr 3, 1997Moravsky Alexandr VladimirovicHeat generator for a hot-air balloon
U.S. Classification244/31, 244/97
International ClassificationB64B1/62, B64B1/00
Cooperative ClassificationB64B1/62
European ClassificationB64B1/62