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Publication numberUS3555505 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 12, 1971
Filing dateMar 17, 1969
Priority dateMar 17, 1969
Publication numberUS 3555505 A, US 3555505A, US-A-3555505, US3555505 A, US3555505A
InventorsLadislaw G Srogi
Original AssigneeLadislaw G Srogi
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Air space traffic simulator
US 3555505 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Jan. '12, 1971 Simulator G. SRCGI AIR SPACE TRAFFIC SIMULATOR Filed March 17, 1969 AzimLnh J L Altitude Indicator IN VE N 7'01? ZADISLA W 6- SROGI ATTORNEYS United States Patent O 3,555,505 AIR SPACE TRAFFIC SIMULATOR Ladislaw G. Srogi, 1861 Oxford Road, Berkley, Mich. 48072 Filed Mar. 17, 1969, Ser. No. 807,851 Int. Cl. G08g N12 US. Cl. 340-24 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An air space traflic simulator has inputs applied from azimuth indicating means, range finding means and altitude indicating means. The simulator comprises a shaft rotatable by a driving motor and carrying at least one set of angularly spaced vanes fixed thereto and extending radially therefrom, a hollow cylindrical transparent enclosure preferably being provided for the vanes. Each vane carries a plurality of lamps arranged in rows and columns such that the height of each lamp represents a particular altitude of an aircraft relative to a reference plane and the radial position of each lamp represents a particular distance of the aircraft from a reference point. Disks are fixed to the shaft for rotation therewith, and each disk carries a first radial row of contacts with each contact, connected to first terminal of all the lamps in a corresponding column on a respective vane, and a second radial row of contacts with each contact connected to the second terminals of all the lamps in a corresponding row on the respective vane. A radially extending azimuth arm means is angularly adjustable :about the axis of the shaft, and driving means are provided to adjust the azimuth arm means angularly in accordance with the azimuth of an aircraft to be monitored. The azimuth arm means carries a first contact member adjustable therealong and connected to one terminal of a source of potential, and carries a second contact member adjustable therealong and connected to the opposite terminal of the source of potential. Each contact member is engageable with the contacts of a respective one of the two radial rows. Each time the respective vane is rotated into alignment with the azimuth arm means, a respective lamp thereon is illuminated at a position corresponding to the distance and altitude of the monitored aircraft. Blocking diode means are associated with each lamp whereby only one lamp, at the intersection of a respective column and a respective row, can be illuminated at any one time.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION It is well known that air trafiic congestion has become a major problem at airports located in metropolitan areas such as New York, Chicago, Washington and other areas. A great deal of effort has been and is being undertaken to provide an effective means of controlling air trafiic in areas of intense concentration, such as the mentioned metropolitan airports. To date, none of these systems has been fully effective in providing the necessary information for effective control of the air trafiic under congested or concentrated conditions.

Despite the use of ground controlled approach paths, ground-based radar, and other equipment, the control of air trafiic under congested conditions still presents a major problem. There is a definite need for a relatively simple and relatively inexpensive means for indicating the location in space, speed of approach, and location relative to other aircraft, of any given aircraft approaching a major airport.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to means for monitoring an aircraft approaching an airport and, more particularly, to

'ice

a novel air space traflic simulator for indicating the position, in space, of an aircraft relative to a reference point, as well as providing an indication of the speed of the aircraft and its position, in space relative to other aircraft. The invention thus relates to an air space traflic simulator which provides a continuous indication of the position, in space, of any or all aircraft in flight within the air space adjacent a reference point, such as an airport, and including indications of the azimuth of each aircraft relative to a reference directional plane, i.e., 0 north and south direction, the distance of the aircraft from the reference point and the altitude of the aircraft relative to a reference plane. Such a continuous indication which, of course, changes with time as the aircraft approaches the reference point, and also changes if the heading or azimuth of the aircraft changes, can be used further as an indication of the speed of the aircraft and its relation, in space, to other aircraft.

The traffic simulator includes an upright rotatable shaft which is driven by a drive motor, and several vanes are secured to this shaft for rotation therewith and to extend radially therefrom, the vanes preferably being rectangu lar. Preferably, a hollow cylinder of transparent material encloses the vanes, reducing air resistance to vane movement. One or more of these vanes support a plurality of lamps arranged in rows and columns such that the height of each lamp represents a particular altitude of an aircraft relative to a reference plane, and the radial position of each lamp represents a particular distance of the aircraft from the reference point. While a rectangular grid arrangement of the lamps is preferred, other arrangements may be used. Preferably, the lamps are so mounted in the respective vanes that they are visible from opposite sides of the vane.

Circular disks are secured to the shaft, in axially spaced relation, to rotate with the shaft. These disks are operatively associated with respective vanes. With respect to an associated vane, each disk has a first radial row of contacts radially aligned with its associated vane, and a second radial row of contacts. Each contact of one radial row is connected to first terminals of all the lamps in a corresponding column on the associated vane. Each contact of the other radial row is connected to the second terminals of all the lamps in a respective row of the associated vane.

Azimuth arm means extend radially from the shaft and are angularly adjusted about the axis of the shaft. Each azimuth arm means has an associated driving means operable to adjust the azimuth arm means angularly in accordance with the azimuth of an aircraft whose position in space is to be indicated or monitored. Each azimuth arm means supports two shuttles or switch operators Whichare adjustable longitudinally of the arm means or radially relative to the shaft. Each shuttle has a respective drive means operable to adjust the same radially of the shaft, and one shuttle is thus adjusted radially of the shaft in accordance with the distance of the aircraft to be monitored from the reference point, with the other shuttle being adjusted radially of the shaft by its drive means in accordance with the altitude of the aircraft to be monitored. Each of the two shuttles carries a wiper contact associated with the contacts of a respective radial row of contacts on a circular disk, and the two wiper contacts are connected to respective opposite terminals of a source of electrical potential. Thus, one wiper contact will engage a respective contact in one radial row of contacts in accordance with the distance of the aircraft to be monitored, and the other wiper contact will engage a respective contact in the other radial row of contacts in accordance with the altitude of the aircraft to be monitored. The two wiper contacts are brought into engagement with their associated contacts whenever the associated vane is angularly aligned with the respective azimuth arm means. At this instant, a single lamp on the associated vane is illuminated, giving the distance and altitude of the plane being monitored. The azimuth of the plane is indicated by the angular position of the azimuth arm means. By sufficiently rapid rotation of the shaft, there is provided a visual indication which appears to move as the plane changes distance, altitude, or azimuth heading.

As stated, the lamps on each vane are arranged preferably in a rectangular grid and, to assure that only one lamp at a time is energized, blocking diodes are associated with each lamp so as to prevent backflow" of current through a lamp which is not intended to be illuminated.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, there are three angularly spaced vanes secured to the shaft and each having the mentioned lamps thereon. The lamps in the first vane are illuminated selectively in the manner just described. The second vane is arranged to indicate the range and the azimuth bearing of an aircraft whose altitude is not known. For this purpose, the switching arrangement provides for all the lamps in a respective column of this second vane to be illuminated simultaneously whenever the vane has a predetermined angular orientation coordinated with the azimuth of the aircraft to be monitored. The vertically extending column of illuminated lamps on the second vane indicates the distance and azimuth bearing of an aircraft whose altitude is not shown.

The third vane is designed to indicate buildings, towers and other fixed objects in the line of approach of an aircraft being monitored. For this purpose, there is associated with a third vane a stationary circular disk carrying suitable contact arrangements which, as the third vane rotates, effect illumination of lamps on the third vane to indicate the overall contours of buildings and fixed objects located within the field of the apparatus.

As a feature of the invention, two such simulators may be provided, preferably in coaxial superposed relation. One of the simulators will then be used to indicate the position, in space, of any or all aircraft within the effective radar range of the airport over a relatively great distance and a relatively great height. The second simulator will be used for landing and take-off monitoring purposes by indicating the position, in space, of all those aircrafts in the vicinity of the airport with range and altitude displaced to a much larger scale for this purpose.

An object of the invention is to provide a facile, accurate, simple means of visually indicating the location, altitude, speed and relative position of aircraft approaching or near an airport or the like, to permit proper, adequate and effective control of the aircraft by traffic controllers.

Another object of the invention is to provide a novel and simple air space traffic simulator for indicating the position, in space, of an aircraft relative to a reference point and a reference plane.

A further object of the invention is to provide such an air space trafiic simulator in Which an illuminated lamp gives a visual impression of the altitude, distance, speed and approach path of an aircraft being monitored.

Another object of the invention is to provide such an aircraft space traffic simulator using illuminated lamps to give a visual impression of building and other fixed objects within the operating field of the apparatus.

A further object of the invention is to provide such an air space traffic simulator providing a visual indication of the range and azimuth bearing of an aircraft being monitored and whose altitude has not been determined.

Another object of the invention is to provide an air space traffic simulator in the form of an automated system for monitoring traffic of aircraft during flight, during takeoff and during landing.

A further object of the invention is to provide such an 4 air space traffic simulator which may accommodate a large number of aircraft to be monitored and which permits more effective utilization of traffic controllers for their primary function as monitors.

Another object of the invention is to provide such an air space traffic simulator which is compatible with equipment presently in use.

A further object of the invention is to provide a space traffic simulator providing a visual three-dimensional indication of the position, range and relative velocity of a space vehicle and any other associated orbiting object or objects relative to the reference space vehicle.

For an understanding of the principles of the invention, reference is made to the following description of a typical embodiment thereof as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THED'RAW'INGS In the drawings: FIG. 1 is a block diagram of air space traffic simulating apparatus embodying the invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the upper portion of an air space traffic simulator embodying the invention;

FIG. 3 is a somewhat schematic axial sectional view, omitting duplicated parts, of an air space traflic simulator shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a partial plan view of a circular disk and an azimuth arm means shown in FIG. 3; and

FIG. 5 is a partial schematic wiring diagram of the lamps on one vane, illustrating their arrangement in columns and rows and their energizing connections.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring first to FIG. 1, an air space traffic simulator embodying the invention is illustrated at 10 as supplied with inputs from an azimuth indicator .11, a range finder 12 and an altitude indicator 13. Traffic simulator 10 has an operating potential applied thereto from a source of electric potential connected across the terminals 14 and 16. In accordance with the signals supplied thereto from components 11, 12, and 13, simulator 10 provides, by means of points of light, the course of any or all aircraft within the operating field of the apparatus, and particularly indicating their altitude, distance and azimuth bearing relative to the airport and the relation of each aircraft to other aircraft in the air space being monitored.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, simulator 10 includes a generally upright or vertical shaft 15 which is rotated by a driving motor indicated at 17 and connected to the shaft either directly or through the interposition of suitable reduction gearing. Several substantially rectangular flat plates or vanes 20, shown as three in number for exemplary purposes, are secured in angularly spaced relation to shaft 15 adjacent the upper portion of the shaft, the vanes 20, in the illustrated example, being disposed approximately apart. The vanes, which are indicated at 20a, 20b and 20c, are fixed to rotate with shaft .15 when the latter is rotated at a preselected speed by its driving motor 17. A hollow cylindrical transparent casing 18 encloses the rotating vanes 20 and the upper portion of shaft 15, to minimize air drag loads on driving motor 17. Vanes 20a, 20b and 200 preferably are formed of a suitable dielectric material, although this is not absolutely essential.

Each vane 20 has mounted thereon a plurality of light emission devices or lamps 25, and preferably the lamps 25 are so mounted on each vane that they are visible, particularly when illuminated, from both sides of the vane. The light emission devices or lamps 25 preferably are arranged in a rectangular grid pattern at the intersections of vertical columns and radial or horizontal rows. The light emission devices or lamps may be filament-type lamps, gaseous discharge lamps, solid state lamps, etc., as necessary. While, in the specific embodiment of the invention illustrated in the drawings, the lamps are arrayed in a closely spaced matrix or grid comprising vertical columns and horizontal rows, it should be understood that other configurations of the lamps may be used. For the sake of simplicity, the light emission devices 25 will be hereinafter referred to solely as lamps, and it will be understood that this term encompasses any type of light emission device.

During rotation of the vane assembly within the trans parent casing 18, each lamp occupies points in space whose locus is a circle whose center is the axis of the vertical shaft !15. The radius of each circle corresponds to a specific distance from the point of reference, such as an airport, space port, aircraft carrier, etc. The elevation of each circle, or its vertical distance from base '19 of the simulator, corresponds to a specific altitude of the aircraft or space craft from a horizontal reference plane. Suitable electrical energization of the lamps 25 at any point in the plane of rotation produces a momentary spot of light, and the position of the spot of light or light point corresponds to the instantaneous position of the moving object, such as an aircraft or space craft, relative to the reference point. The light spot at this point appears to hang in space and, by suitable operation of the simulator, to move in space in relatively accurate simulation of the corresponding movement in space of the aircraft or space craft being monitored.

In a manner to be described more fully hereinafter, the lamps 25 are connected through suitable electrical circuitry to a source of electric potential in such a manner that energization of the lamps is under the control of the azimuth indicator 11, range finder 12 and altitude indicator 13. The elements 11, 12 and 13 may comprise known existing equipment, such as radar, lasers, transponders, fixed position switches, or manually controlled switches which are controlled in accordance with information or signals received from suitable sources.

Referring more particularly to FIGS. 3 and 4, beneath simulator 10, circular disks 30 are secured to shaft 15 to rotate therewith, these circular disks being disposed within a cylindrical outer casing 21. For a purpose to be described, the inner surface of casing 21 is formed with a plurality of axially spaced internal annular gears or circular racks 22. As disks 30 are fixed to shaft 15 in vertically or axially spaced relation therealong, these disks rotate as a unit with the assembly of vanes While the disks are illustrated as arranged with a casing 21 beneath simulator 10, it will be understood that, while this is a preferred location, the disks could be secured to a portion of shaft 15 projecting upwardly above simulator 10.

Disks 30 are operatively associated with respective vanes 20. In the embodiment of the invent-ion illustrated in the drawings, each disk 30 has, on a surface thereof, a radially extending row of first electrical contacts 31, which row is radially aligned with the respective vane 20, such as a vane 20a, or located in the same radial and axial plane as the respective vane 20a. At an angular spacing at from the row of first contacts 31, each disk is formed with a radially extending row of second contacts 32. The number of first contacts 31 in each radial row is equal to the number of vertical columns of lamps 25 on the associated vane 20a, and the number of second contacts 32 in each radial row is equal to the number of rows of lamps 25 on the respective vane 20a. In addition, each contact 31 is connected to a respective column conductor, such as 261, 26-2 and 26-3 shown in FIG. 5. In a like manner, each contact 32 is connected to a respective row conductor, such as the row conductors 27-1, 27-2 and 27-3 of FIG. 5. Such connections may be made, for example, by bringing the connections into shaft 15, the latter thus being a tubular shaft, and bringing the connections out of shaft 15 at the appropriate locations with in simulator 10. With this arrangement, it will be appreciated that, when a particular contact 31 is connected to one side of the source of potential indicated by the terminals 14 and 16, with a particular contact 32 being connected to the other side of this source, a lamp connected to the associated column conductor 26 and the associated row conductor 27 will be energized to indicate a particular distance and a particular altitude of an aircraft or the like being monitored. If desired, transparent casing 18 may be marked, on its upper circular surface, with a plurality of concentric circles each corresponding to a respective distance of the monitored aircraft from the reference point, and may be marked, on its cylindrical surface, with a plurality of vertically or axially spaced circles each indicating a respective altitude of the monitored aircraft with respect to the reference plane.

Respective azimuth arm means 35 are operatively associated with each disk 30, and these arm means are mounted on shaft 15 but are rotatable or angularly adjustable relative to shaft 15 about the axis of the latter, while being fixed against axial displacement along shaft 15. Each azimuth arm means 35 comprises an azimuth arm 36 and an altitude arm 37, and arms 36 and 37 have an angular spacing equal to the aforementioned angle a. The radially outer end of each arm 36 mounts a suitable drive device or motor 38 driving a pinion or gear 39 meshing with a respective rack or internal ring gear 22 on external casing 21. The arrangement of the arms 36 and 37 of the azimuth arm means 35 is more clearly illustrated in FIG. 4, which also illustrates the two angles a which are equal to each other. Through operation of motors 38, azimuth arm means 35 may be rotated about the axis of shaft 15 through 360, to any azimuthal position, such as a position corresponding to the bearing or azimuth of an aircraft being monitored. Such positioning is elfected under the control of the azimuth indicator 11, which may be a radar providing a directional radar signal and through a suitable electronic circuit. As azimuth controls of this type are well known, per se, they have not been shown in detail in the drawings.

Arm 36 has mounted thereon, for longitudinal or radial adjustment therealong, a shuttle 40, which may be termed a switch operator and which, in the particular embodiment of the invention shown in the drawing, carries the wiper contact cooperable with the first contacts 31 of the associated disk 30. Shuttle 40 is connected to one terminal of the source of electric potential such as, for example, the terminal 14 of FIG. 1. Shuttle 40 is moved along arm 36 by an electric motor or the like 41 and, for this purpose, arm 36 may be formed with a rack or the like, as indicated at 42. The radial position of shuttle 40 is controlled, through motor 41, by a signal from the range finder 12 which is converted, by suitable electronic circuitry, into a control signal for motor 41. Shuttle 40 is thus adjusted radially of arm 36 in accordance with the distance or range of the aircraft to be monitored.

Correspondingly, a shuttle or switch operator 45 is mounted on arm 37 for longitudinal or radial adjustment therealong. In the particular embodiment of the invention illustrated in the drawings, this shuttle 45 carries a wiper contact engageable with contacts 32 when the wiper contact on shuttle 40 is engaged with contacts 31. Shuttle 45 is moved radially by a motor 46 and, for this purpose, arm 45 may be formed with a rack, as indicated at 47. The shuttle 45 may be termed an altitude shuttle, whereas the shuttle 40 may be termed a range shuttle. Shuttle 45 is adjusted radially along arm 37 in accord ance with altitude signals from transponders or the like, as provided by the altitude indicator 13 of FIG. 1, to conform to the altitude of the aircraft relative to the ground or other horizontal reference plane. Shuttle 45 is electrically connected to the other terminal, such as the terminal 16, of the source of electric potential. Thus, when the wiper of shuttle 40 is engaged with a respective contact 31, the wiper of shuttle 45 is engaged with a respective contact 32, and this completes an energizing circuit for a lamp 25 which is located, on vane 20a, for example, at the intersection of a particular row and a particular column, this intersection representing the range or distance of the aircraft and its altitude relative to the reference plane. In addition, the azimuth or bearing of the aircraft is also indicated, as will be described more fully hereinafter. Thus, the constantly rotated vanes produce an apparently continuous light spot which moves in accordance with the movement of the aircraft being monitored and at a speed corresponding to the speed of such aircraft. The flight of the aircraft, or its approach or take-off, is thus simulated by the simulator 10.

In the event that the altitude of the aircraft to be monitored is unknown, all of the lamps in a respective column of vane 20b, of each set of vanes, are energized in parallel with each other so to provide a vertically extending row of illuminated lamps at a position corresponding to the range or distance of the aircraft from the reference point. Separate disks 30 are electrically connected to the lamps on the vane 20b, so that electrical contact between the wiper on a range shuttle 40 and a set of first contacts such as the contacts 31 will illuminate all of the lamps in a particular column on vane 2012. For this purpose, the shuttle, such as 40, cooperable with a disk 30 associated with the vane 20b may be connected to one terminal, such as the terminal 14, of the source of electric potential, and all of the row conductors 27 on the vane 20b can be connected in parallel to the other terminals, such as the terminal 16, of the source. The illuminated column of lamps 25 on a vane 20!) indicates that the aircraft being monitored may be located, with respect to the horizontal reference plane, at any altitude within the range of simulator 10.

In order to provide a complete air space simulation, it is desirable to provide a simulation of the position, contour and height of stationary ground-based objects, such as other airports, radio and television antenna towers, tall buildings, hills, and other flight barriers which may be in the path of an approaching aircraft to be monitored and constitute a flight barrier. For this purpose, there is used a vane 20:: of each set of vanes, which has lamps 25 arranged thereon in a special or singular pattern corresponding to the width and height of these stationary objects and their range location. For this purpose, a stationary disk 50 is mounted immediately beneath the vanes 20, as by being formed with an annular rim 51 resting on the external casing 21. Electrical contact wipers, brushes, or the equivalent are mounted on the lower edge of vane 20c, and these wipers, brushes or the like contact electrical contacts or the like mounted on stationary disk 50 to complete electrical energizing circuits for particular lamps simulating one or more of the ground-based objects. The circumferential length of each ground-based object establishes the circumferential length of each specific respective contact on stationary disk 50. The illuminated lamps reproduce, in facsimile form, the position, approximate shape and height of each of the ground-based objects.

FIG. illustrates a portion of the lamp grid for a vane, such as the vane 2001. From this figure, it Will be noted that each lamp 25 has one terminal connected to a column conductor 26 and its other terminal connected to a row conductor 27. When the contact 31-2 of column conductor 26-2 is engaged by the wiper of shuttle 40 simultaneously with engagement of the contact 32-2 of row conductor 27-2 by the wiper of shuttle 45, a direct energizing circuit is completed through lamp 25-22. However, in the usual case, other lamps connected to column conductor 26-2 and to row conductor 32-2 are illumi nated through other current flow paths. For example, current can flow from row conductor 27-2 through lamp 25-32, lamp 25-31 and lamp 25-21 to column conduc tor 26-2.

To avoid this possibility, and to assure that one particular lamp is energized in particular radial positions of shuttles 40 and 45, each lamp 25 has connected, in series therewith, a polarizing or blocking diode 28. All of the diodes are so polarized that current flow through the associated lamp only from a row conductor 27 and to a column conductor 26. Thus, upon applying of a potential between contact 31-2 and contact 32-2, current flows from contact 32-2 through conductor 27-2, lamp 25-22, the associated diode 28, column conductor 26-2 to contact 31-2. This is the only lamp energizing circuit effective under such conditions, and there are no possible branch circuits for illuminating other lamps. The provision of these blocking or polarizing diodes 28 is an important feature of the invention.

In the operation of the device, the azimuth arm 35 is first adjusted to the bearing or azimuth of an aircraft to be monitored, and this may be effected either manually or through the operation of the azimuth indicator 11. The motor 17 is then energized to rotate the vane assembly through the shaft 15 and, each time the vane 20a is radially aligned with the arm 36 of the azimuth arm means 35, a single particular lamp 25 on the vane 20a will be lit. With sufficiently rapid rotation of the vane assembly, there will appear to be a continuous spot of light which will appear to travel over the vane 20a in a simulation of the path of travel of the aircraft which is being monitored and at a speed corresponding to the speed of the aircraft. At the same time, there will appear on the vane 20c, during each cycle, a simulation of groundbased objects which may be in the path of the aircraft, either during flight, during take-off or during landing. In the event the altitude of the aircraft to be monitored is unknown, there will appear, on the vane 20!), a movement of a vertical column of lights corresponding to the travel of the aircraft but not indicating its change in altitude although its azimuth will still be indicated by the azimuth arm means. Should the bearing of the aircraft change, the azimuth arm means will likewise be angularly adjusted under the control of azimuth indicator 11, so that a continuous simulation of the hearing or azimuth of the aircraft is always present.

While, in the embodiment of the invention which has been specifically illustrated in the drawings, the contacts 31 and 32 have been indicated as being on the same surface of the disk 30, it will be appreciated that one set of contacts could extend radially along one surface of the disk and the other set of contacts could extend radially along the opposite surface of the disk, in alignment with the radial row of the first contacts. In such case, the two wipers on the shuttles 40 and 45 would be disposed adjacent respective opposite side of the disk.

The purpose of the disks 30 is properly to support the electrical contacts such as 31 and 32 in proper angular relation with the associated vanes, 20a or 20b. Thus, each disk 30 could be replaced by an appropriate number of radial arms for supporting the contacts, and these arms could be tubular so that the connections to the contacts could extend through the tubular arms. If two vanes 20a are mounted on shaft 15 and spaced apart, each disk 30 would carry diametrically aligned radial rows of contacts 31 and 32, each radial row being associated with a respective one of the two vanes.

The electrical connections between each individual lamp and its corresponding contact 31 or 32 must not interfere with the operation of the contact wiper 40 Or 45 and the arms 36 or 37. The arrangement shown in FIG. 3 meets this requirement by providing the underside of the disk 30 to carry the conductors connected to the contacts 31 and 32, while the upper surface provides for arm and wiper operation. However, other arrangements are possible.

Thus, instead of the disk, a tubular arm could be used and the electric conductors could pass from the shaft 15 through the center of this arm to the contacts, which can be in the form of rings electrically isolated from each other on the outer surface of the tubular arm. The tubular arm could be formed from a suitable non-conducting or dielectric material, while the contact ring would comprise suitable electrically conductive material.

A V-shaped double arm could be used, one arm being for range while the other arm being for altitude, and with the two arms being separated by the angle a. Alternatively, a single arm could be used with the shuttle arms 36 and 37 above and below the tubular arm. The contact rings would then have to be separated into an upper semicircle and a lower semi-circle connected, respectively, to the range terminals and to the altitude terminals of the lamp.

In the event two vanes 20!; are used, positioned 180 apart, a second extending row of contacts 31 would be required at an angle spacing of 180" from the first row. As the terrain display is affected by the stationary set of contacts mounted on disk 50, additional vanes 200 do not require additional contacts. As each disk 20c sweeps over the stationary contacts, the lamps that are. illuminated are phased with the ground-based object, and therefore effectively produce a display representing, in facsimile form, that object as to position, height, width and length. For terrain and obstacle indication, the contacts on disk 50 are arranged depending on the position of the objects or the like in question and, as a result, are scatter and not in any particular geometrical pattern.

The lamps on the vanes 20a and 20b could be arranged in concentric circles in radially extending rows, rather than in a rectangular grid pattern. .Radar or laser could be used for range indication, and suitable means for determining the angular position relative to a specific plane of reference established by a first space vehicle. A particular pattern of lamps would depend on the application for the particular purpose of the apparatus. The rectangular grid of lamps does not provide an exact simulation of position of the aircraft in the field of the apparatus, or in the field of the radar or range measuring device. For example, an aircraft five miles away from the radar unit but also five miles high would be directly over the radar unit. A more precise representation would array the lamps in horizontal rows and in vertical arcs centered from the reference airport based upon its altitude above sea level. However, the rectangular grid of lamps provides a display that, although somewhat imprecise, is the simplest and easiest to scan and interpret with respect to the traffic controller.

In the case of a large scale representation of array for landing, approach and taking-off display, the rectangular grid is still acceptable. For space flight simulation, such as a vehicle orbiting about the earth or otherwise in space, monitoring the approach of another space vehicle plus assorted debris possibly in the vicinity of both vehicles, a different array of lamps in the vanes would be utilized. The first orbiting vehicle would be the reference point and its spatial position would be the center of the vertical axis of the vane.

What is claimed is:

1. An air space traflic simulator, for indicating the position, in space, of an aircraft or the like relative to a reference point, comprising, in combination, a vane assembly rotatable about a substantially vertical axis and including plural vanes extending radially of the axis of rotation and along the axis, and arranged in sets each including at least one vane; driving means operable to rotate said vane assembly about said substantially vertical axis; a plurality of lamps mounted on each vane along intersecting first and second coordinates in a manner such that the height of each lamp, above a reference base, represents a particular altitude of an aircraft relative to a reference plane, and the radial position of each lamp, relative to said substantially vertical axis, represents a particular distance of the aircraft from the reference point; a source of electric potential; first switch support means rotatable with said vane assembly, and supporting a radially extending row of first switch means, angularly aligned with a respective vane, with each first switch means being operable to connect first terminals of lamps along a respective first coordinate to one terminal of said source, anda radially extending row of second switch means each operable to connect second terminals of lamps along a respective second coordinate to the other terminal of said source; azimuth arm means extending radially of said carrier and angularly adjustable about said substantially vertical axis; second driving means operable to adjust said azimuth arm means angularly in accordance with the azimuth of an aircraft whose position in space is to be monitored; a first switch operator adjustable longitudinally of said azimuth arm means and controlling said first switch means in accordance with its radial position relative to said substantially vertical axis; third driving means operable to adjust said first switch operator radially in accordance with the distance of the aircraft from said reference point; a second switch operator adjustable longitudinally of said azimuth arm means and controlling said second switch means in accordance with its radial position relative to said substantially vertical axis; and fourth driving means operable to adjust said second switch operator radially in accordance with the altitude of the aircraft relative to said reference plane; whereby, each time said respective vane is angularly coincident with said azimuth arm means, a respective lamp on said respective vane will be illuminated at a position on the vane corresponding to the distance and altitude of the aircraft whose position is being monitored.

2. An air space traffic simulator, as claimed in claim 1, in which said substantially vertical axis is the axis of a substantially vertical rotatably mounted shaft, said vanes being secured to extend radially of said shaft and axially along said shaft; said switch support means being secured to rotate with said shaft.

3. An air space traffic simulator, as claimed in claim 2, in which said first and second switch means comprise first and second contacts, respectively, arranged in first and second radial rows; conductors connecting each first contact to the first terminals of lamps along respective first coordinates, and conductors connecting each second contact to the second terminals of lamps along respective second coordinates; said first and second switch operators comprising first and second shuttles, respectively, each carrying a wiper contact; the wiper contact of said first switch operator being engageable with said first contacts and connected to one terminal of said source, and the Wiper contact of said second shuttle being engageable with said second contacts and connected to the other terminal of said source.

4. An air space traffic simulator, as claimed in claim 1, in which said lamps are arranged, on each vane, in a rectangular grid constituted by vertical columns and horizontal radial rows of lamps, said columns constituting said first coordinates and said rows constituting said second coordinates.

5. An air space trafiic simulator, as claimed in claim 4, in which each of said sets of vanes includes at least two vanes; one vane constituting said respective vane aligned with said radially extending row of said first switch means; said switch support means supporting a radially extending row of third switch means operatively associated with a second vane which is angularly spaced from said respective vane, each ofsaid third switch means being operable to connect all of the lamps in a respective column of said second vane simultaneously across said source of electric potential; whereby, when the altitude of an aircraft to be monitored is not known, the distance of the aircraft relative to said reference point will be indicated by a column of illuminated lamps on said second vane.

6. An air space traffic simulator, as claimed in claim 5, in which each set of vanes includes three vanes at equal angular spacing from each other, and including said respective vane, said second wane and a third vane; second switch support means fixed against rotation with said carrier and supporting radially extending rows of fourth switch means cooperable with the lamps on said third vane; switch operating means on said third vane cooperable with said fourth switch means to connect lamps on said third panel for illumination in a pattern indicating the contours of land-based objects within the operating field of the simulator.

7. An air space traffic simulator, as claimed in claim 3, in which said switch support means comprises disks fixed to rotate with said shaft; each of said first and second switch means being supported on a surface of a disk.

8. An air space traffic simulator, as claimed in claim 7, in which the first and second radially extending rows of contacts connected to the lamps of said respective vane are supported on the same surface of the associated disk; the radially extending row of first contacts being aligned with the respective vane and the radially extending row of second contacts being spaced angularly from the radially extending row of first contacts at a predetermined angle; said azimuth arm means comprising a pair of radially extending arms spaced angularly by said predetermined angle.

9. An air space trafiic simulator, as claimed in claim 4, including a plurality of polarizing diodes each connected in series with a respective lamp; said diodes being polarized in a direction such as to permit current flow through said lamps only in a direction from said second contacts to said first contacts.

10. An air space traffic simulator, as claimed in claim 1, including a hollow cylindrical casing of transparent material enclosing said vane assembly and having at least one circular end wall; concentric circular distance gradations on said end wall; and axially spaced circular altitude gradations on the cylindrical surface of said casing.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,097,261 7/1963 Schipper et al 343-79 3,154,636 10/1964 Schwertz 3437.9

KATHLEEN H. CLAFFY, Primary Examiner J. S. BLACK, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 3437.9

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3846784 *May 7, 1973Nov 5, 1974Sinclair CElectronic digital displays
US3864555 *Nov 27, 1973Feb 4, 1975Us NavyBearing display device for a plurality of targets
US3925775 *Oct 26, 1973Dec 9, 1975Ncr CoMultiple digit display employing single digit readout
US4000679 *Jul 7, 1975Jan 4, 1977Norman Richard EFour-channel color organ
US4160973 *Oct 11, 1977Jul 10, 1979Massachusetts Institute Of TechnologyThree-dimensional display
US4162493 *Jan 7, 1977Jul 24, 1979Random Electronics International Pty. LimitedGraphic display systems
US4237540 *Feb 27, 1979Dec 2, 1980Olympus Optical Company LimitedTape recorder with table computer
US6278419Jun 26, 1997Aug 21, 2001Light Spin Ltd.Moving display
US7301497 *Apr 5, 2005Nov 27, 2007Eastman Kodak CompanyStereo display for position sensing systems
US20060220953 *Apr 5, 2005Oct 5, 2006Eastman Kodak CompanyStereo display for position sensing systems
EP0026762A1 *Oct 23, 1980Apr 15, 1981Massachusetts Inst TechnologyThree-dimensional display.
Classifications
U.S. Classification340/990, 342/180, 340/945
International ClassificationG08G5/00
Cooperative ClassificationG08G5/0095
European ClassificationG08G5/00Z