US 3639948 A
A buckle for attaching and releasing one or more harnesses used to strap cargo or occupants of a moving vehicle securely in place. A sequential method is provided for release of selected harnesses while retaining others permanently or for subsequent release. A tiltable release handle tilted to a first position aligns certain captive toggles for release from locked position and further tilt to a second position releases others.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
O United States Patent 51 3,639,948
Sherman 1 Feb. 8, 1972  MULTIHARNESS BUCKLE FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS  Inventor: Gale h rm n, T Calif. 847,174 9/1960 Great Britain ..24/205.17  Assignee: McDonnell Douglas Corporation 978,999 1/1965 Great Britain ..24/230 AS 1 3, 1970 Primary Examiner-Beamard A. Gelak  APPL 157 Attorney-Walter J. Jason, Donald L. Royer and Robert 0.
Richardson  US. Cl. ..24/205.l7, 24/20519, 24/230 AS T [5| 1 Int. Cl i ..A44b 17/00, A44b l1/25  ABS RACT} l 58] Field of Search ..24/205.l7, 205.19, 230 AS, A buckle for attaching and releasing one or more harnesses 24/230 230, 211 P used to strap cargo or occupants of a moving vehicle securely in place. A sequential method is provided for release of  Relerences cued selected harnesses while retaining others pennanently or for UNITED STATES PATENTS subsequent release. A tiltable release handle tilted to a first position aligns certain captive toggles for release from locked 352,627 1 H1886 MIX ..24/230 AS position and further tilt to a second position releases others. 780,192 l/1905 .lones..... ....24/230 AS UX 3,035,573 5/1962 Morton ..24/230 AS UX 8 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures k v v 80 k lIlllullal I'IIIIII o:\\ r 4/ f7 20 VIII -VIIIIIIII PATENTED FEB 81972 3.639.948
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MULTII-IARNESS BUCKLE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Pilots and crewmen of all US. commercially flying aircraft are required by the FAA to be secured in their seats by restraint harnesses of various kinds, particularly during the landing and takeoff of their aircraft. This requirement has resulted in a multiple harness configuration with a single fastener or buckle being used for the terminating harness ends. The conventional multiple harness buckle heretofore used requires the application of a rotary action of the buckle before the harnesses attached to the buckle could be released. Furthermore, the release of one harness separately from the others required the actuation of an additional control device which, in one form, was located on the back of the buckle next to the seat occupant. This provided additional difficulty of actuation and the unwary user risked having this control actuated by buttons or buckles on the user's clothing. Such a buckle for separable release and engagement of the various harnesses is desirable, for example, by the airplane pilot or crewman, who, during takeoff of the aircraft, must have all harnesses securely in place, but after takeoff, desire to release the shoulder harness while leaving the lap and the crotch straps in place.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides for a multiharness buckle which permits selective release of the harnesses by tilting the release handle in any direction. The buckle, as herein described for the restraint of a person, provides connections for at least five harness fittings. Two connections located directly opposite to each other are used for the lap belt connection. Two connections located adjacent each other are used for the shoulder harness connection. The remaining connection is used for the crotch strap.
The tiltable release handle is easily pivoted in any direction about a center pivot point through the use of a hemispherical nut mounted in the release handle. The center pivot point of the release handle is attached to the main body of the buckle by one end of a lift bolt. The other end of the lift bolt cooperates with a release plate in such a manner that tilting of the release handle provides motion to the release plates, and as elsewhere described, permits the end fittings of the harnesses to be withdrawn.
The main body of the buckle, connected to the tilting release handle by the lift bolt, essentially consists of a bottom housing and a top cover housing with openings to receive the harness end fittings having captured toggle latches. The top and bottom housings contain the release plate with four fingers, a toggle holddown spring, a release handle holddown coil spring, and the other end of the lift bolt. In usage, the harness end fitting slides into the applicable slot in the buckle assembly. The toggle holddown spring forces the captured toggle to a down position where it cannot move out of the slot.
, The end fitting thus cannot be withdrawn. Tilting the release handle compresses the holddown spring, raising the lift bolt actuating shaft and the release plate. The release plate finger raises the captured toggle of the harness end fitting, flattening the holddown spring and enabling the toggle to slide past the lock plate and out of the buckle.
The selectable sequential release of the harness connections is accomplished by providing that the shoulder harness connections are first released and then the lap belt and crotch strap connections are released. The shoulder harness fingers on the release plate are split and displaced upward and downward. This provides release of the shoulder harness first, since these toggles will be lifted to the release position prior to the toggles for the lap belt and crotch straps.
When the handle is tilted to release the shoulder harness connections, a fiat spot on the handle tends to limit the degree of tilt and provides the operator with a feel" that the shoulder harness only has been released. The flat spot also acts as a stop to prevent further handle tilt and unintentional release of the lap belt and crotch strap. Of course, further deliberate positive tilt by the operator will effect full release.
Another feature of the buckle is that one lap belt harness cannot be released so that the buckle has always an attachment to the harness. This is accomplished simply by eliminating a finger on the release plate that is actuated by the handle when it tilts. Thus, while five harnesses may be slidably engaged into the buckle, the release plate has only four fingers. If it is desirable to remove the buckle from the one semipermanent connection, a pin may be inserted through a hole in the bottom of the housing, pushing the toggle up to the release position. The advantage of this feature is that it can be used to remove the buckle for repair and for belt cleaning. In some installations, it may be a requirement that the semipermanent connection be on the left side of the user and sometimes on the right side of the user. This is easily accomplished, prior to installation, by installing the release plate upside down and the semipermanent connection will be on the opposite side. Should it be desired to have the belt remain attached to the crotch strap, the finger at that point is removed and a finger added at the lap belt position.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS An illustrative embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawings by way of example, and will be described hereinafter in conjunction with these drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a typical seat and occupant showing the buckle and the cooperating harness in use;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the buckle and the cooperating harness end release fittings, the dotted lines show a harness end release fitting prior to its engagement with the buckle;
FIG. 3 is a plan view showing the buckle and harness end fittings;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the buckle taken along the line 44 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 4A is a similar sectional view of the buckle with a tog-.
gle in released position and the end fitting ready for disengagement;
FIG. 5 is a side view of the buckle;
FIG. 6 is a plan view of the lock plate;
FIG. 7 is a detail cross section of the captured toggle taken along line 7-7 in FIG. 3; and
FIG. 8 is a side elevation view of the release plate.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings, in FIG. 1 there is shown a typical aircraft crew seat 10 with a crewman l2 strapped securely in the seat by shoulder harness [4, lap belt 16 and crotch strap 18, all having similar end fittings 20 fastened to a multiharness buckle 22 positioned on the crewmans midsection. The other ends of the harness, belt and strap, of course, are affixed to the crew seat 10 but are not shown.
FIG. 2 shows an enlarged view of the end fittings 20 engag ing the buckle 22. This buckle has a body portion consisting of a top housing 24 and bottom housing 26 having slots 28 adapted to receive the end fittings 20. A circular tiltable release handle 30 is pivotally mounted to the front of the body portion and is tilted to release selected end fittings 20. Each end fitting is provided with a captive toggle 32 adapted to be held in locking position by a spring (shown in another view) within the body portion of the buckle. The captive toggles 32 are released from the buckle by tilting the release handle 30. A release plate (shown in another view) is thus actuated to engage the selected toggle and move it against the spring to a position for easy withdrawal of the end fitting from the buckle, as shown by the dashed lines in FIG. 2.
The construction and relationship of the various parts of the fittings and buckle can best be understood with reference to the plan view shown in FIG. 3 and the sectional view in FIG. 4 and FIG. 4A taken along the line 44 in FIG. 3. Each of the end fittings 20 are flat platelike members having elongated openings 34 through which the ends of the harness are passed and fastened. The free end 36 has an opening 38 into which is pivotally mounted a wedge-shaped toggle 32. This toggle pivots about its arcuate front edge 40 which abuts the edge of opening 38 closest to the free end 36 of fitting 20. The top and bottom surfaces 42, 44 extend radially from the front edge 40 to terminate in a rear edge 46 of an enlarged thickness. This thickness, however, permits its insertion through the slots 28 in the buckle housing. This toggle is captured within the opening in the fitting, the back edge of which limits the degree of pivot of the toggle about its front edge. The back edge of the opening 38 also contacts the rear edge 46-of the toggle to prevent its removal. By moving the plane of the center of the toggle out of the plane of the fitting, the back edge 46 of toggle 32 will butt up against the housing and will not permit removal of the fitting. The shaded areas of toggles 32 in FIG. 4 show this position. A toggle lock spring 48 will bias the toggle out of alignment for this purpose. This spring is made of a resilient material and is shaped substantially as a collar 50 with fingers 52 pressing inwardly on the toggles 32. In FIG. 3 the opening in collar 50 is shown by dashed line 54 and the outer edge with fingers is shown by dashed line 56. This spring is positioned within the buckle housing against the inside of the top housing 24.
Centrally positioned and extending through top housing 24 is a release bolt 58, shown in FIG. 4. This bolt interconnects the release handle 30 with a release plate 60 which is used to align the toggles 32 for their removal. A handle holddown coil spring 62 is placed over release bolt 58. This spring abuts against top housing 24 and toggle lock spring 48 at one end and release plate 60 against the bottom housing 26 at the other end. A retaining plate 64 is fixedly secured to bolt 58 to complete the assembly. This retaining plate 64 urges the release plate 60 inwardly against the bias of spring 62 to align toggles 32 when handle 30 is actuated.
Release plate 60 has a plurality of fingers 66, 68, 70 adapted to overly toggles 32. These fingers contact and move the toggles 32 into alignment when bolt 58 is moved axially by release handle 30. Certain of these fingers are in a lower plane than others to depress certain toggles before others. For example, toggle 32A in FIG. 4A is shown depressed and in alignment with the buckle opening for withdrawal and disengagement of end fitting A from the buckle. In this manner the harness straps, for example, may be released before the lap belt or crotch strap. Thus, as shown in the elevation view of the release plate 60 in FIG. 8, the fingers 66 for engaging the shoulder harness fitting toggles are lower than finger 68 which aligns one of the lap belt fitting toggles, and this finger 68 in turn is lower than finger 70 which actuates the toggle for the crotch strap fitting. As shown in FIG. 7, finger 70 actuates its associated toggle 32 after finger 68 has actuated its associated toggle when release plate 60 has been depressed.
As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, one of the lap belt fittings has no associated finger on the release plate 60 for toggle actuation and release of the fitting. This keeps the buckle fastened to this lap belt fitting when the handle is actuated. However, as can be seen in FIG. 4 there is an opening 72 in the bottom housing over the toggle so that a pin may be inserted to depress the toggle into alignment and release. Pin hole 74 is also provided in the event the release plate 60 is turned over and the buckle remains connected to the other lap belt fitting.
A lock plate 76 is desirable if the bottom housing 26 is made of plastic or a soft metal subject to wear particularly on inner wall surface 77 adjacent the slot. This plate is shown in FIGS. 4, 6 and 7 as having inner edges 78 against which the toggles 32 abut to prevent their withdrawal until their alignment by release plate 60. The lock plate 76 also has a ramp 80 on its outer edge to facilitate insertion of the fitting in locking the harness to the buckle.
The tilting of release handle 30 in any direction to release the fittings is accomplished by use of a hemispherical nut 82 affixed to bolt 58 and positioned within cavity 84 in handle 30 as shown in FIG. 4. A nut cover 86 covers the cavity for ornamentation and to keep it free from dirt and foreign matter that might interfere with its operation. The handle 30 has a bearing ring 88 on its underside to engage an antifriction bearing plate 90 on the top housing 24. the handle may be tilted to a first position shown by dashed lines 92 to actuate the desired first set of toggles and to a second position shown by dashed lines 94 to actuate the second set. There is a definite feel on the handle whereby an operator can tell when the first position has been reached so that an accidental tilt to the second position for the unwanted release of other fittings need not occur. As can be seen in the edge view -in FIG. 5 an operator may conveniently tilt the handle 30 by manipulation of his fingers between the top housing 24 and the handle edge 96.
In usage the harness end fittings slide into the applicable slot in the buckle assembly. The toggle lock spring biases the captured toggle out of alignment so that it, and its associated fitting, cannot be withdrawn past the lock plate. Tilting the release handle compresses the lock spring, and realigning the toggle so it may slide past the lock plate and out of the buckle.
From the foregoing description other modifications will readily occur to those skilled in the art, and it is to be understood that these variations and deviations are to be considered as part of this invention.
1. A harness buckle and fittings comprising:
a buckle housing having slots therein,
fittings for harness adapted to fit within said slots,
said fittings having wedge-shaped toggles pivotally mounted along the leading edge thereof,
means biasing said toggles out of alignment with said fittings whereby said toggles cannot be withdrawn from said slots, and
release means in said buckle housing which when actuated oppose said biasing means to align said toggles with said fittings to permit their withdrawal from said slots.
2. A harness buckle and fittings as set forth in claim 1,
said release means including a release plate, means moving said release plate against said toggles to cause alignment thereof.
3. A harness buckle and fittings as set forth in claim 2, said release plate having fingers thereon for sequential and selective contact with selected toggles to thus release selected toggles in selected sequence.
4. A harness buckle and fittings as set forth in claim 2 wherein at least one toggle is not operable by movement of said release plate, said housing having an opening therein for independent actuation of said one toggle by insertion of an object through said opening.
5. A harness buckle and fittings as set forth in claim 1, said release means including a release bolt having a release plate movable thereby, spring means maintaining said release plate free from bias upon said toggles, and handle means affixed to said bolt for moving said bolt and release plate against selected toggles to cause alignment thereof.
6. A harness buckle and fittings as set forth in claim 5 wherein a handle is tiltably movable to move said bolt axially and thus move said release plate against said toggles.
7. A harness buckle and fittings as set forth in claim 6, said handle having a cavity therein with said bolt extending therethrough, and a hemispherical nut on said bolt to permit tilting of said handle relative to said bolt.
8. A harness buckle and fittings as set forth in claim 7, said handle having means engageable with said housing whereby tilting of said handle causes axial movement of said bolt.