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Publication numberUS3107884 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 22, 1963
Filing dateMar 12, 1962
Priority dateMar 12, 1962
Publication numberUS 3107884 A, US 3107884A, US-A-3107884, US3107884 A, US3107884A
InventorsSimko Edward G
Original AssigneeGen Mills Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Balloon construction
US 3107884 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 22,- 1963 E. e. SIMKO BALLOON CONSTRUCTION 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed March 12, 1962 INVENTOK EDWARD e. -s|m o ATTORNEY Oct. 22, 1963 E. G. SIMKO BALLOON CONSTRUCTION 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR. EDWARD e. SIMKO I ATTORNEY Filed March 12, 1962 United States Patent 3,107,884 BALLGUN QQNSTRUCTION Edward G. Simiro, Minneapol s, Minn, assignor to General Mills, End, a corporation of Delaware Filed Mar. 12, 1%2, Ser. No. 179,148 9 Claims. (Cl. 244-31) The present invention relates to balloons, and more particularly to an improved balloon construction having a support structure for maintaining at least one stabilizing fin positioned on the tail portion of the balloon, in an extended condition, thereby maintaining the balloon at a proper attitude of flight while it is airborne.

Aerodynamically shaped captive balloons are ofttimes used in military and commercial operations for various purposes, for example, to maintain a payload at a desired altitude, to raise and support a beacon antenna into the atmosphere, for use as banners for advertising purposes, and for use as markers for surveying and aerial spraying. The balloon is inflated with a lighter-than-air lifting gas, and it is designed to remain airborne under calm wind conditions, as well as to operate in winds up to a prescribed maximum magnitude.

According to the known state of the art, the balloon body of an aerodynamically shaped balloon is generally formed from a number of carefully tailored gores having curved edges. These gores are joined together at their respective edges to form an inflatable envelope. In some cases the balloon body or envelope is formed from a single reinforced sheet of material, and in some cases the envelope is surrounded with a non-extensible shroud, or with a plurality of reinforcing tapes, in order to reinforce the balloon envelope so as to maintain it at a substantially constant volume regardless of a change in gas pressure which might occur within the envelope. Balloons formed from gores having curved edges, and which include a shroud, tapes or the like for reinforcement purposes, are often difficult and costly to manufacture and assemble.

This type of balloon is generally provided with one or more fins affixed to the balloon envelope for stabilizing the balloon while it is airborne, by maintaining it in the proper attitude of flight. One type of fin commonly used is an inflatable fin formed from two layers of material. The fin is attached to the balloon envelope in a suitable manner, and is inflated with lifting gas from the envelope, with air from a ballonet located within the envelope, or by the use of auxiliary inflation means. Reinforcing ribs between the two layers of the fin are often provided to help support the fin when it is inflated. Another type of fin used is one formed from a single sheet of material which is supported by an inflatable rib or a single wooden strut, and one or more guy wires. These types of fins are likewise often difiicult and costly to manufacture and assemble.

Accordingly, one object of the present invention is to provide an improved balloon construction.

Another object is to provide a balloon having an improved stabilizing system for maintaining the balloon at a proper attitude of flight while the balloon is airborne.

A further object is to provide a balloon having an improved support structure for maintaining a plurality of stabilizing fins located on the envelope surface, in an extended condition.

Still another object is to provide a balloon construction which is easy and inexpensive to make, and which is simple in construction.

Preferably, the balloon construction of this invention is formed from three gores having only straight edges, which are joined together at their respective edges to form an inflatable envelope having a nose and a tail portion. Three fins, formed from a single layer of material, are aflixed to the tail portion of the balloon envelope, and are maintained in an extended condition by a support structure. These fins stabilize the balloon while it is airborne.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from a consideration of the following specification and drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating the balloon while it is airborne;

FIG. 2 is a plan view illustrating the shape of a blank which forms the gores of the balloon;

FIG. 3 is a plan View illustrating three gores joined to gether to form a single sheet of material.

FIG. 4 is a partial schematic elevational view of the balloon shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 5-5 of FIG. 4, illustrating the stabilizing fins and the rods for supporting the fins;

FIG. 6 is a partial enlarged view illustrating the point of attachment of the support rods to the balloon envelope; and

FIG. 7 is a partial enlarged 'view illustrating the manner of connecting a pair of support rods together and attaching the fin to the junction formed by the rods.

FIG. 1 illustrates a balloon 10 formed by joining together the edges of rthree gores 12, 14, and 16 to form a gas envelope. The envelope is formed from a substantially nonextensible material such as polyethylene, and is filled with a lifting gas such as helium. For purposes of illustration, three gores are used in forming the balloon envelope it however, it is envisioned that more or less than three gores might also be used, and the number designated herein is merely used for illustrative purposes. The balloon ill has a nose portion designated by numeral 13 and a tail port-ion designated by numeral 20. Affixed to the tail portion 20 of the balloon are three stabilizing fins 22, 24, and 26. The balloon is inflated with the lifting gas through a valve 28. A harness 39, secured to the balloon envelope by means of tapes 32, and a cable 34 are provided for maintaining the balloon captive with respect to its surrounding environment.

FIG. 2 illustrates the gore pattern from which the gores for the balloon envelope are formed; and FIG. 3 'lustrates three gores l2, l4, and 16 which have been sealed together to form a single layer of material from which the balloon envelope is ultimately formed. The gore 12 is provided with an integral flap which forms the stabilizing fin 22; the gore 14 is provided with an integral fl ap which forms the stabilizing fin 24-; and the gore 16 is provided with an integral flap which forms the stabilizing fin 26. Note that the gores 12, 14 and 16 have only straight edges, rather than curved edges. This facilitates sealing of the gores together. Less ellort, time and cost are expended insealing together gores of this nature.

The fiins or flaps 2'2, 24, and 26 are triangular in shape and are equidista-ntly spaced about the periphery :of the tail portion. The vertical fin 22. acts as a rudder and prevents lateral deflection or side drift, and fins 24 and 26 prevent rolling, plunging, or other deflections of the balloon lit. Each fin or flap is maintained in an extended condition by means of a pair of support rods 36 and 33. The support rods are joined together at their finst ends to form a point by means of a V-shaped member 40. The second ends of the rods 36 and 38 are attached to the envelope at 4 by means of a tubular member 44, which is secured to the balloon envelope by means of a tape 46 (note- FIG. 6). The tubular member 44 attaches the ends of two separate support nods '36 and 38 to the balloon envelope; the rod 36 being used to maintain a first fin in an extended condition and the rod 38 being used to maintain a second fin in an extended condition. The corner 48 of each fin is connected to the point formed by the two rods by appropriate means such as a rubber band or a tie string 5t) which is inserted through grommet 52 in the flap, and thereafter connected to the V-shaped member 40, in such a manner that the flap is disposed between the two rods and projected radially away from the envelope (note FIG. 7).

While the balloon is aloft, the gas pressure within the envelope might increase or decrease due to a change in ambient pressure or temperature conditions, or leakage of gas from the balloon. In order to provide for greater aerodynamic stability while the balloon is aloft, it is desirable that the gas within the balloon be maintained at a substantially constant pressure. The balloon 10 is provided with an internal dilatable band system designated generally by numeral 54, for maintaining a constant pressure within the balloon. The dilatable band system 54 permits the volume of the balloon to change slightly in response to a change in internal pressure. The dilatable band system includes a rubber tubing 55 which is connected at a first end to a band 58, and at the second end to the apex 69 of the balloon. The band 58 is in turn connected to the nose portion of the balloon as indicated at 62. As the pressure within the balloon envelope increases, the apex 60 of the balloon protrudes outwardly, as illustrated by the dotted lines in FIG. 4. Conversely, as the pressure within the envelope decreases, due to a change in ambient conditions, leakage of the gas tfirom the balloon, or the like, the apex 60 is pulled inwardly, as also shown in FIG. 4.

In constructing the balloon, a plurality of genes are formed having the general shape as depicted in FIG. 2, from a suitable material, such as polyethylene. As noted above, the gore 12 has a flap or filn 22 integrally formed therewith, and if only three gores are used, each gore would have a similar fiap or fin. If however, more than three gores are used, these gores would be formed having the same general shape as the gore 12 except that the flap 22 would be omitted, and these gores would be insorted at the desired place. Note that no curved edges are provided, which simplifies the task of sealing adjacent gores together. As noted above, it has been found that it is sometimes difficult and costly to seal together the edges of gores having curved edges.

As illustrated in FIGURE 3, three gores have been connected together to form a single sheet. The edges 64, 66, and 68 oi gore 12 are sealed to the edges 70, 72, and 74 of a second gore 14; the edges 54, 66, and 68 of gore 14 are sealed to the edges 76, 72, and 74 of gore 16; and the edges 64, 66, and 63 ct gore 16 are thereafter likewise sealed to the edges 76, 72, and 74 of gore 1 2, to form a tubular member (note that in FIG. 3, only the respective edges 56 and 72 of the gores have been scaled together to form two seams). The gores are sealed together such a manner that the flaps 22, 24, and 26 are free. The edges 76 and 78 of each gore are thereafter sealed together, the dilatable band system 54 is attached within the envelope, and the edges 86 and 82 of each gore are also thereafter sealed together to form the enclosed balloon envelope Ill. The tubular member 44 is attached to the envelope by the tape 46.

The balloon envelope is inflated with gas through the valve 28, and the support structure, including the support rods 36 and 38, for the fins is thereafter attached or desired, the support structure could be attached before inflation. As noted above, the support rods 36 and 38 are connected together with the V-shaped member 46 and thereafter attached to [the balloon envelope at 42. As the balloon is launched, it ascends into the atmosphere and the nose portion of the balloon will assume and maintain a 'high angle of attack to the horizontal, and it will maintain a substantially stable position under most weather conditions.

In the above description and the attached drawings, a disclosure of the principles of this: invention is presented,

together with some of the embodiments by which the invcntion may be carried out.

What is claimed is:

1. A balloon comprising an envelope for holding a lifting gas, at least one flap attached to the. envelope, means for maintaining said flap in an extended condition to form a stabilizing fin, said means including a pair of support rods which meet at a point at their first ends and which are attached to the envelope at their second ends in such a manner that the flap is disposed between them, and means for securing said flap to the first ends of the rods so that said flap is projected radially away from the envelope by the support rods.

2. A balloon comprising an envelope for holding a lifting gas, said envelope having a nose portion and a tail portion, at least one flap formed from a sheet of material attached to said tail portion, means for maintaining said flap in an extended condition to form a stabilizing fin, said means including a pair of support rods connected to each other at their first ends to form a point and attached to the envelope at their second ends in such a manner that the flap is disposed between them, means -f-or securing said flap to the pointed end formed by said rods so that said flap is projected radially away from the envelope by the support rods, and means for maintaining a predetermined pressure within aid envelope.

3. The combination of claim 2 wherein the balloon envelope is formed from a plurality of gores having only straight edges, the shape of each gore being such that every edge of each gore is sealed to another edge of a gore thereby forming the balloon envelope.

4. A balloon comprising an envelope for holding a lifting gas, said envelope having a nose portion and a tail portion, a plurality of flaps formed from a sheet of material attached to said tail portion, said flaps being equidistantly spaced about the periphery of said tail portion, means for maintaining said flaps in an extended condition to form stabilizing fins, said means including a plurality of support rods, said support rods being joined together in pairs by connecting their first ends together, means for attaching the second ends of said rods to the envelope in such a manner that a single flap is disposed between them, and means for securing said flaps to the first ends of said support rods so that said flaps are projected radially away from the envelope by said support rods.

5. The combination of claim 4 wherein the means for attaching a second end of one of the support rods of a first pair of rods to the envelope, also serves as a means for attaching a second end of one of the support rods of a second pair of rods to the envelope.

6. The combination of claim 4 wherein means are provided for maintaining a predetermined pressure Within said envelope.

7. A balloon comprising an envelope formed from a. plurality of gores joined together at their respective edges to form an inflatable envelope having a nose portion and a tail portion and adapted to hold a lifting gas, a plurality of flaps forming an integral part of at least some of said gores, said flaps located at the tail portion of said envelope, means for maintaining said flaps in an extended condition to [form stabilizing fins,

said means including a pair of support rods connected to each other at their first ends to form a point and attached to the envelope at their second ends in such a manner that a single flap is disposed between them, and means for securing the fiaps to the first ends of said rods so that each flap projects radially away from the envelope.

8. An aerodynamically shaped captive balloon comprising an envelope formed from three gores having only straight edges joined together at their respective H edges to form an inflatable envelope having a nose portion and a tail portion and adapted to hold a lifting gas, each gore provided With an integral flap located at the tail portion of said envelope, means for maintaining the flaps in an extended condition to form three stabilizing fins, said means including three pairs of support rods, a first rod of each pair connected to the second rod of said pair at their first ends to form a point, said rods attached to the envelope at their second ends in such a manner that a single flap is disposed between each pair, and means for securing each flap to the first ends of one pair of rods so that said flap projects radially away from the envelope.

9. The combination of claim 8 wherein the flaps are equidistantly spaced about the periphery of the tail portion, and the second ends of a first pair of support rods are attached to the envelope at a point which is common to the point of attachment for one of the support rods of the second and third pair of rods.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,502,551 Corbett et a1. July 22, 1924 2,398,744 Jalbert Apr. 16, 1946 2,681,774 Winzen et a1. June 22, 1954 2,707,603 Moore May 3, 1955 2,811,327 Roe Oct. 29, 1957 2,864,569 1958 Froehlich Dec. 16,

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1502551 *Jun 27, 1923Jul 22, 1924Clarence F AdamsCaptive balloon
US2398744 *Aug 31, 1945Apr 16, 1946Dewey And Almy Chem CompKite balloon
US2681774 *Jun 20, 1951Jun 22, 1954Otto C WinzenFast rising balloon
US2707603 *Sep 6, 1952May 3, 1955Gen Mills IncBalloon with rigid fins
US2811327 *Dec 1, 1954Oct 29, 1957Roe Frank LKite
US2864569 *May 20, 1955Dec 16, 1958Gen Mills IncCaptive balloon
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3534928 *Aug 13, 1968Oct 20, 1970Chromalloy American CorpTethered high altitude platform
US4125233 *May 4, 1977Nov 14, 1978Raven Industries, Inc.Tethered aerodynamic balloon with integral fins
US5149015 *Aug 19, 1991Sep 22, 1992Davis R ScottRadio controlled hot air balloon
Classifications
U.S. Classification244/31
International ClassificationB64B1/58, B64B1/00
Cooperative ClassificationB64B1/58
European ClassificationB64B1/58