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Publication numberUS3395877 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 6, 1968
Filing dateSep 26, 1966
Priority dateSep 26, 1966
Publication numberUS 3395877 A, US 3395877A, US-A-3395877, US3395877 A, US3395877A
InventorsBuresch Raymond J, Macfadden John A
Original AssigneeSchjeldahl Co G T
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Aerodynamic site marker balloon
US 3395877 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

g- 1968 J. A. M FADDEN ETAL AERODYNAMIC SITE MARKER BALLOON 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Sept. 26, 1966 INVENTORS' c/o/m/ 4. Aha/ 74005 Aug. 6, 1968 J. A. M FADDEN ETAL 3,395,877

AERODYNAMIC SITE MARKER BALLOON Filed Sept. 26, 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTORS' 00.4w 4. 444: 5400511, BY E/IVMO/dfi dfiueas'c/l W) W4 W 47f0E/VEVS" United States Patent 3,395,877 AERODYNAMIC SITE MARKER BALLOON John A. MacFadden and Raymond J. Buresch, Northfield,

Minn., assignors to G. T. Schjeldahl Company, Northfield, Minn., a corporation of Minnesota Filed Sept. 26, 1966, Ser. No. 582,059 8 Claims. (Cl. 24433) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A lighter than air inflatable structure comprising an aerodynamically shaped envelope having a nose portion, a tail portion and a body portion disposed intermediately thereof, the envelope having stabilizer means secured to the tail portion and comprising an air inflatable duct having an axis disposed and spaced in generally parallel relationship to the axis of the envelope, the duct having a forwardly disposed intake and a rearwardly disposed restricted discharge opening, the envelope being provided with tether line means for tethering the envelope to an anchor point.

The present invention relates generally to asite marker balloon, and more particularly to an inflatable, lighter than air, aerodynamically stable site marker balloon. Balloons of this type may be utilized in tethered relationship above surrounding ground clutter, obstacles, and the like, in order to mark a site which will be visibly ascertainable from remote areas such as, for example, from rescue air craft, or from distant or remote observation points or may lift, support or carry a radio antenna, a transmitter or receiver aloft.

Frequently, in difliculty traversable terrain, such as in rough or mountainous areas, jungles, or the like, it may become desirable to mark a site from one ground area which will be capable of being spotted or located from remote areas or sites, or to raise an antenna or a transmitter to a suitable altitude. In these instances, when gusty or strong winds are available aloft, site markers, unless arranged in an aerodynamically stable configuration, may be diflicult to fly at altitudes significantly above the surrounding terrain. In other words, if the aerodynamics of the balloon are such that it presents too great resistance to the ambient air, the device may be unable to achieve any significant altitude and will be driven or held down against the surrounding terrain or surrounding vegetation such as trees or the like. Thus, in order to successfully deploy such a balloon which is to be employed as a site marker, it must be aerodynamically stable and present a reasonably small profile to the wind, consistent with its being of a suflicient size so as to be located either visually or by reflective signals or the like.

In the past, site marker or antenna supporting balloons have peen proposed which employ a structure which is essentially spherical in form. These devices fail when the ambient atomsphere is either windy, gusty, or otherwise diflicult for flying tethered 'devices. The apparatus of the present invention alleviates these problems by providing an aerodynamically shaped structure which is provided with a tether line, and which is also provided with directional stabilizing devices for controlling the balloon while it is in flight.

Therefore, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved aerodynamically stable site marker balloon which is capable of being tethered under adverse flight conditions.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide an improved aerodynamically stable site marker balloon which is easily fabricated, readily inflatable, and ready for flight without requiring .any unusual preparations.

ice

It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide an improved aerodynamically stable site marker balloon which is provided with stabilizer means to enable the balloon to be flown under adverse weather conditions in a tethered condition.

Other and further objects of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon a study of the following specification, appended claims, and accompanying drawings wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a pictorial view showing the site marker balloon of FIGURES 2 and '3 in actual tethered operation;

FIGURE 2 is an elevational View of an aerodynamically stable site marker balloon fabricated in accordance with the present invention, and showing the ram-filled air scoop disposed at the tail portion thereof;

FIGURE 3 is a vertical sectional view taken along the line and in the direction of arrows 3-3 of FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 4 is a view similar to FIGURE 2 of a modified form of ram-filled air scoop disposed adjacent the tail portion thereof;

FIGURE 5 is a view similar to FIGURE 2 showing a still further modified stabilizer design; and

FIGURE 6 is a view similar to FIGURE 2 showing a still further modified ram-filled air scoop of pillowed form.

In accordance with the preferred modification of the present invention, and with particular attention being directed to FIGURES 2 and 3 of the drawings, the site marker balloon generally designated 10 includes an envelope structure 11 having a nose portion 12, a tail portion 13 and an intermediate body section 14. Secured to the tail portion 13 of the envelope 11 is the stabilizer scoop 15, this stabilizer scoop being secured to the envelope structure 11 along the bond lines 16 and 17. It will be observed that the stabilizer 15 has an axis which is generally parallel to the axis of the envelope 11, and it will be further observed that the stabilizer has a forwardly disposed intake area 18 along with a rearwardly disposed discharge opening 19. The cross-sectional area of the intake opening will be observed to be substantially greater than the cross-sectional area of the discharge opening. This is to permit the ram air to inflate the stabilizer element 15 and maintain it in inflated condition during tethered flight. The aerodynamically stable site marker balloon 11 is provided with tether lines shown at 20, 21 and 22, these tether lines joining at a common apex 23 such as a ring or the like, and this common apex point being in turn joined to the main vertical tether line 24. In some instances, the tether line may comprise a portion of an airborne electronic or electrical system, such as a conductive lead or the like.

As indicated in FIGURE 2, the duct 15 if generally tapered in its configuration along the axis extending from the intake opening to the discharge opening. This generally tapered configuration will, of course, provide for stability in flight, and Will also provide for a general maintaining of the inflated condition of this ram air-filled duct.

With attention being directed to FIGURE 3, it will be seen that the balloon device is fabricated from a pair of gore elements 27 and 28, these gores being joined along their common edge surfaces as at 29 and 30. If a material such as polyethylene is utilized, heat sealing techiques may be employed, however, when a diflicult heat sealable or non-heat sealable material is being employed, such as polyethylene terephthalate, an alternate bonding technique should reasonably be employed, this being by way of an adhesive such as a thermally activated adhesive, or a conventional solvent adhesive system which may be applied to the surface to be joined, and thereafter cured and dried. It will be appreciated that the bonding techniques which may be employed with the various suitable materials are numerous, and those skilled in the art will be aware of those appropriate techniques.

The technique of bonding the scoop device to the gores such as at 16 and 17 is likewise similar to the techniques used at the juncture of the individual gores as at 29 and 30. Again, those skilled in the art will readily employ suitable techniques of bonding or fusing without encountering unusual problems.

The tether lines 20, 21 and 22 are bonded to the surface of the individual gores by conventional techniques. For example, the tethering element 31 may be bonded to the surface of one of the gores, and this tethering element 31 may be provided with a line retaining loop such as at 32 for holding the tether line 21. Similar line retaining means are available for the tether lines 20 and 22. The envelope 11 is provided with an inflation duct as shown at 34. This duct may be of the conventional type which will permit the inflatant gas to be introduced into the envelope readily and will thereafter retain the envelope in substantially closed form to provide retention for the inflatant gas. As is conventional, helium or hydrogen will normally be employed as the inflatant in these site marker balloons. Suitable hydrogen or helium containing cartridges, or suitable hydrogen generating schemes may be employed to provide the inflatant for the system. These inflatant means are available commercially and as such do not form a part of this invention.

Turning now to the various modifications, such as are shown in FIGURES 4-6, and with particular reference to FIGURE 4, the envelope structure 11 is provided with a somewhat modified form of stabilizer assembly including a plurality of superimposed ducts 41, 42 and 43, each of these ducts being arranged to be inflated by ram air, and each having a generally parallel axis, one to another. Their configurations are generally similar to those of the stabilizer 15 shown in FIGURE 2. As indicated in connection with the device of FIGURE 2 the axis of each of the ducts is again generally parallel to the axis of the envelope structure 11. The ducts are bonded by heat sealing techniques, as previously indicated, the duct 41 being secured to the body of the envelope 11 in the same manner as the device of FIGURE 2, the ducts 42 and 43 being bonded to the generally arcuate segments of the next inwardly disposed duct, as indicated.

Turning now to the structure shown in FIGURE 5, the envelope 11 is provided with a circumferential stabilizer device 45 which again is ram-air filled, and which has a generally frusto-conical configuration. The stabilizer 45 is provided with an inlet opening having an area which exceeds that area at the discharge opening or end thereof. This annular area may be readily calculated.

Turning now to the structure shown in FIGURE 6, the envelope 11 has a modified form of stabilizer 50 at the tail portion thereof, this stabilizer including a generally conical-ly shaped element 51 which is bonded or otherwise secured to the surface of the envelope 11 along seam lines such as at 52 and 53. Preferably, these bond lines run generally parallel to the axis of the envelope 11, and are preferably equally radially spaced.

In one typical embodiment, an uninflated structure having a length of 105 inches and a width of 38 inches was fabricated. The forward portion of the envelope was in the form of a hemisphere, the rearward portion having a taper ratio of 1:4 from the maximum diameter portion to the tail. This provides an assembly having a fineness ratio of 4:1 for the envelope structure. In connection with the stabilizing elements or ducts, these have a preferred ratio of area between the inlet and outlet portions of between 2 and 3 to 1, and preferably have a ratio of about 2.25:1. This provides a maximum degree of stabilizing affect together with a minimum introduction of drag to the system. The length of the duct, in connection with. the apparatus of FIGURE 2, for example is 26 inches on the 105 inch long envelope; the linear dimension of the lead portion of that duct is 27 inches with an area ratio of 2.25:1 between the inlet opening and discharge opening. If superimposed ducts are used, each succeeding duct will have a similar configuration, and the next adjacent duct will have a length of about 13 inches with a lineal length of 18 inches on the intake side. Any additional ducts will be preferably in a similar ratio to that ratio shown hereinabove.

While a fineness ratio of 4:1 has been suggested and utilized advantageously, it will be appreciated that a fineness ratio ranging from between about 3:1 and 5:1 may be useful without severely detracting from the aerodynamic stability of the balloon structure.

It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the specific examples provided herein are for purposes of illustration only, and are not to be otherwise construed as a limitation upon the coverage to which this invention is otherwise entitled.

What is claimed is:

1. A lighter than air inflatable apparatus comprising:

(a) an aerodynamically shaped envelope having a nose portion, a tail portion and a body portion disposed intermediately thereof, and a generally longitudinally disposed axis common to each of said portions extending along the extent of said envelope;

(b) stabilizer means mounted on the tail portion of said envelope and comprising a ram air inflatable duct having an axis disposed in spaced and generally parallel relationship to the axis of said envelope and having each of the lateral edges thereof bonded to the exterior surface of said envelope, said duct having a forwardly disposed intake opening with a certain predetermined area and a rearwardly disposed discharge opening with an area substantially less than said predetermined area; and

(c) tether line means secured to said envelope for tethering said envelope to an anchor point and maintaining said envelope in a generally horizontal disposition.

2. The lighter than air inflatable apparatus as defined in claim 1 being particularly characterized in that said stabilizing duct has a generally uniformly tapered configuration.

3. The lighter than air inflatable apparatus as defined in claim 1 being particularly characterized in that said envelope portion is fabricated from a pair of individual gore elements.

4. The lighter than air inflatable apparatus as defined in claim 1 being particularly characterized in that the ratio of areas of the intake opening to the discharge opening ranges from between about 2 to 1 up to about 4 to 1.

5. The lighter than air inflatable apparatus as defined in claim 4 being particularly characterized in that said ratio is substantially 2.25.

6. The lighter than air inflatable apparatus as defined in claim 1 being particularly characterized in that a plurality of stabilizer ducts are provided, each being generally serni-circular in cross section, and disposed in depending relationship to said envelope, and bonded to said envelope along spaced apart bonding zones, said bonding zones being generally parallel to the axis of said envelope.

7. A lighter than air inflatable apparatus comprising:

(a) an aerodynamically shaped envelope having a nose portion, a tail portion and a body portion disposed intermediately thereof, and an axis common to each of said portions extending along the extent of said envelope;

(b) a plurality of stabilizer means secured to the tail portion of said envelope, each comprising a ram air inflatable duct having an axis disposed in spaced and generally parallel relationship to the axis of said envelope, each of said ducts having a forwardly disposed intake opening with a certain predetermined area and a rearwardly disposed discharge opening with an area substantially less than its forwardly disposed intake opening, each of said stabilizer ducts being generally semi-circular in cross section, disposed in depending relationship to said envelope, and bonded to said envelope along spaced apart bonding zones, said bonding zones being generally parallel to the axis of said envelope; and

(c) tether line means secured to said envelope for tethering said envelope to an anchor point.

'8. The lighter than air inflatable apparatus as defined in claim 6 being particularly characterized in that each duct has an intake opening with a certain first predetermined area and a discharge opening with a certain second predetermined area, each of said ducts being arranged in superimposed disposition with the edge surfaces of each superimposed duct being secured in spaced apart relationship to the surface of the next adjacent duct.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,385,972 7/1921 Upson 24433 1,502,551 7/1924 Corbett et al. 24433 1,872,705 8/ 1932 Elliott 244l45 2,470,990 5/1949 Kennedy 4687 X MILTON BUCHLER, Primary Examiner.

T. MAJOR, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1385972 *Jun 20, 1916Jul 26, 1921Goodyear Tire & RubberKite-balloon
US1502551 *Jun 27, 1923Jul 22, 1924Clarence F AdamsCaptive balloon
US1872705 *Apr 26, 1930Aug 23, 1932Benjamin L ElliottParachute
US2470990 *Aug 31, 1948May 24, 1949Kennedy Frank HMethod of making inflated articles
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3930448 *Aug 7, 1974Jan 6, 1976The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The NavyRocket-deployed balloon for position marker
US3993269 *Dec 18, 1975Nov 23, 1976The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Air ForceToroidal tail structure for tethered aeroform balloon
US4184681 *Aug 29, 1977Jan 22, 1980Goodyear Aerospace CorporationRam-air inflatable, fabric, towed gunnery target
US4717092 *Jan 3, 1986Jan 5, 1988Cameron Robert WTorpedo recovery device
US4722498 *Oct 29, 1985Feb 2, 1988Cameron Robert WInflatable air foil
US4768739 *Dec 15, 1986Sep 6, 1988Schnee Robert AEmergency warning and signaling system
US4800835 *Mar 10, 1988Jan 31, 1989Radarfind, Inc.Locator device
US4944242 *Jan 18, 1990Jul 31, 1990Russell Donald HRescue balloon
US6010093 *Apr 28, 1999Jan 4, 2000Paulson; Allen E.High altitude airship system
US6109203 *Mar 25, 1998Aug 29, 2000Harold D. SorensenDeployable personal locator device
US7798090 *Sep 21, 2010Thomas Angell HatfieldRescue and locational determination equipment
US8167246 *Jan 14, 2010May 1, 2012Floatograph Technologies, LlcTethering system for inflatable airfoils
US8596571Mar 26, 2012Dec 3, 2013Lta CorporationAirship including aerodynamic, floatation, and deployable structures
US8616503Oct 11, 2012Dec 31, 2013Lta CorporationLenticular airship and associated controls
US8894002Jul 14, 2011Nov 25, 2014Lta CorporationSystem and method for solar-powered airship
US8899514Sep 20, 2013Dec 2, 2014Lta CorporationSystem and method for varying airship aerostatic buoyancy
US20080178790 *Jan 4, 2008Jul 31, 2008Hatfield Thomas ARescue and locational determination equipment
DE10014524A1 *Mar 23, 2000Sep 27, 2001Guenter SchneiderBalloon wheel or balloon spiral has passive lift bodies positioned along wheel crown and another passive lift body at height of wheel center
WO2012135117A3 *Mar 26, 2012Jan 3, 2013Lta CorporationAirship including aerodynamic, floatation, and deployable structures
Classifications
U.S. Classification244/33, 116/210
International ClassificationB64D25/00, B64D25/20, B64B1/00, B64B1/12
Cooperative ClassificationB64D25/20, B64B1/12
European ClassificationB64D25/20, B64B1/12