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Publication numberUS3683530 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 15, 1972
Filing dateSep 30, 1970
Priority dateSep 30, 1970
Publication numberUS 3683530 A, US 3683530A, US-A-3683530, US3683530 A, US3683530A
InventorsRobinson James G
Original AssigneeRobinson James G
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Aerial display sign
US 3683530 A
Abstract
An electrically illuminated aerial display sign that is carried by helicopter. The sign may be collapsed in order to permit ease of landing. The message exhibited by the sign may be changed while the sign is being carried in flight.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Robinson AERIAL DISPLAY SIGN .[72] inventor: James G. Robinson, 2213 Oakwyn Road, Lafayette Hills, Pa. 19444 [22] Filed: Sept. 30, 1970 21 Appl. No.1 76,897

Related US. Application Data [63] Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 763,858, Sept 30, 1968, abandoned.

s21 u.s.c| ..40/215 [51 lnt.Cl. ..co9121/12 [58] Field of Search ..40/130, 130 E, 215, 31

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Glatzner ..40/ 130 E Bleriot ..40/215 1 Aug. 15, 1972 1,903,131 3/1933 Picco ..40/215 1,923,725 8/1933 Haines 40/2 1 5 2,001,200 5/1935 Knapp ..40/212 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 483,701 5/1917 France ..40/l30 E 1,038,900 9/1958 Germany... ..40/2l5 Primary Examiner-Robert W. Michell Assistant Examiner-Wenceslao J. Contreras Attorney-Arthur H. Seidel et a1.

[57] ABSTRACT An electrically illuminated aerial display sign that is carried by helicopter. The sign may be collapsed in order to permit ease of landing. The message exhibited by the sign may be changed while the sign is being carried in flight.

23 Claims, 18 Drawing Figures Patented Aug. 15, 1972 6 Sheets-Sheet 1 MWEA/fdfl. JAME: 6. ROB/M90 WKM Patented Aug. 15, 1972 6 Sheets-Sheet 2 Patented Aug. 15, 1972 6 Sheets-Sheet 3 ATTORNEYS Patented Aug. 15, 1972 3,683,530

6 Sheets-Sheet 4 v k c 1 i 82 W 82 a? 32 82 fi -Q 2 32 Y f K '20 LAMP BANK LAMP BANK S\GN PROGRAMMER DRWERS LAMP BANK SIGN MASTER v ERECHNG i I00 m2 Mum/rm. 15/7913 JAMES 6. foam s0 Patented Aug. 15, 1972 6 Sheets-Sheet 5 bmQ INVENTOR JAMES G. ROB/NSON ATTORNEYS 6 Sheets-Sheet 6 INVEN 70/? JA MES G. ROBINSON ATTORNEYS AERIAL DISPLAY SIGN This patent application is a continuation-in-part of patent application Serial No. 763,858 filed Sept. 30, 1968, now abandoned.

This invention relates to an aerial display sign. More particularly, this invention relates to an electrically illuminated sign that can be carried by a helicopter.

The aerial display sign can be a very effective form of advertising. When flown over beaches, sporting events, and other large gatherings, it provides maximum exposure of the advertisers message at comparatively small expense.

It is surmised that the popularity of aerial display signs would be much greater if this form of advertising were not subject to certain disadvantages. A major disadvantage is the difficulty of landing and taking off while carrying a sign. Because of this, many airplanecarried signs must be of cloth or canvas. Furthermore, because such signs cannot carry their own illumination, their use is restricted to daylight hours.

Airplane-carried signs suffer from another serious disadvantage. In order for the plane to remain aloft, it must maintain a certain speed, usually in excess of 50 miles per hour. This means that rather than hovering over a large gathering, thereby permitting ease of reading, the plane must instead circle. Since the plane banks to circle, this results in a sign that is less visible and is consequently more difficult to read.

Another drawback of the conventional aircraft-carried sign is that the aircraft must land and take off again in order to display a different advertising message. The message on the sign has made its major impact upon the crowd within a few minutes after the airplane arrives at the desired viewing area. Therefore, it can readily be seen that it is very inefficient for the airplane to have to take off and fly to the desired viewing area and then return for only a few minutes of effective advertising time.

Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide an aerial display sign that can be carried by a helicopter.

It is another object of this invention to provide an aerial display sign that can be rolled or folded in order to permit ease of taking off and landing.

It is still another object of this invention to provide an aerial display sign having a top and bottom portion wherein the bottom portion can be moved into overlying relation to the top portion in order to permit ease of taking off and landing.

It is a further object of the invention to provide an illuminated aerial display sign that can change its message while being carried in flight.

Other objects will appear hereinafter.

For the purpose of illustrating the invention, there is shown in the drawings forms which are presently preferred; it being understood, however, that this invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a flexible suspension sign in accordance with one form of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged view in elevation of the circular area designated as 2 in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a sectional view along line 3-3 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged sectional view along line 44 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged sectional view along line 5-5 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is an enlarged sectional view along line 6-6 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 7 is an enlarged sectional view along line 77 of FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a multi-panel sign in accordance with another form of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary view of the multi-panel sign of FIG. 8.

FIG. 10 is a fragmentary front view of the multipanel sign of FIG. 8 showing the sign collapsed.

FIG. I] is a diagrammatic plan view showing the outboard boom supports for the flexible suspension sign.

FIG. 12 is a diagrammatic front view showing the outboard boom supports for the flexible suspension sign.

FIG. 13 is a block diagram of the control system of the present invention.

FIG. 14 is a side elevational view of a multi-panel sign in accordance with still another form of the present invention.

FIG. 15 is a plan view of the form of the invention illustrated in FIG. 14.

FIG. 16 is a front elevational view of the form of the invention illustrated in FIG. 14 with the sign collapsed.

FIG. 17 and 18 are views of one of the reels comprising a part of the invention illustrated in FIG. 14.

Referring now to the drawings in detail, wherein like numerals indicate like elements, there is shown in FIG. 1 a display system designated generally as 10 consisting of a flexible suspension sign operatively mounted to a helicopter.

Mat 20, which serves as a support for light bulbs 34, may be comprised of flexible nylon line woven into a diamond or box pattern. Vertical frames 22 may be comprised of l-inch nylon line. The top spar 14 is preferably of aluminum having a diameter of 2 inches. The spar is tooled so as to be adaptable to electric motor 12 and manual gear box hoist 16. Bottom stabilizing spar 24 is preferably of v-inch diameter. The spar is constructed so as to be capable of being loaded with lead inserts 26 for stability. Stabilizing strips 38 may be added if needed to lend additional rigidity to mat 20. Two-inch aluminum strips have been found to be suitable for this purpose. Stabilizing lines 30 are connected to mat 20 through metal eye-rings 28. Stabilizing lines 30 may be reeled by auto-feed spring tension reels 32 which are mounted on the helicopter. Mat 20 may be reeled on top spar 14 by electric motor 12. Electric motor 12 is of conventional design and preferably includes a torque reducer. In the event electric motor 12 fails to operate, mat 20 can be reeled by manual gear box hoist 16. Manual gear box hoist 16 can be operated by crank 36 which is within reach of the cockpit of the helicopter. Electric motor 12 and manual gear box hoist 16 are mounted to the helicopter by means of mounts 18.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged illustration of the circular area designated as 2 in FIG. 1. Rubber sockets 42 are mounted to the flexible nylon line 46 of mat 20. Light bulbs 34 are resiliently held in place by means of rubber sockets 42. Wiring 40 connects light bulbs 34 to a suitable source of electrical power.

FIG. 3 shows the structural relationship of rubber socket 42, light bulbs 34, flexible nylon line 46 and wiring 40.

FIG. 4 shows the mounting of bottom stabilizing spar 24 to stabilizing line 30 by metal eye-ring 28. The figure also shows how auto-feed spring tension reel 32 is resiliently mounted to the helicopter by means of rubber ring 44. All mounts for attachment of equipment to the helicopter are insulated wherever possible to reduce vibration and shock.

FIG. 5 illustrates how manual gear box hoist 16 is mounted to the helicopter. FIG. 5 also shows how crank 36 is placed within reach of the cockpit to provide a back-up system in the event of failure of electric motor 12.

FIG. 6 illustrates the structural relationship between bottom stabilizing spar 24, flexible nylon line 46, and stabilizing strip 38.

FIG. 7 illustrates how lead inserts 26 are mounted in the bottom stabilizing spar 24 in order to lend additional stability to mat 20.

FIG. 8 shows another embodiment of the present invention. Display system 50 consists of a multi-panel sign operatively mounted to a helicopter. The sign may be retracted by folding along its panels.

Mat 56 is preferably thin gauge aluminum mesh in either a box or diamond weave. Frame 54 lends rigidity to mat 56, and is preferably a 1 inch aluminum box member. The panels are connected to each other by door-type continuous hinge 66. The hinge is rubbercoated to help reduce the effects of vibration. The panels are also joined by joint coupling 58. Joint coupling 58 is of a non-locking type and is held in position by hydraulic pressure.

Light bulbs 72 are mounted in mat 56 by means of rubber sockets (not shown) which are seated in spaces made by the weave pattern of mat 56. Light bulbs 72 are preferably high intensity bulbs. Light bulbs 72 may be connected to a source of suitable electric power by hi-flex conventional rubber coated wiring (not shown).

Multi-panel frame 54 may be folded by actuation of hydraulic motors 52. Motors 52 are mounted on the helicopter by rubber coupling 68.

Back-up lines 62 are connected to frame 54 by means of metal eye-rings 60. Back-up lines 62 are preferably of lh-inch nylon. Auto-feed electric drums 64 are connected to the helicopter by means of mounts 70. All mounts are insulated with rubber wherever possible to reduce the effects of vibration. Auto-feed electric drums 64 function to reel back-up lines 62. In the event of failure of hydraulic motors 52, back-up lines 62 may be reeled manually by means (not shown) in order to fold and retract mat 56.

FIG. 9 more clearly illustrates the relationship between mat 56, hydraulic motors 52, back-up lines 62 and auto-feed electric drums 64. A mechanism similar to the mechanism shown in FIG. 9 is located aft of the helicopter. FIG. 10 shows mat 56 and frame 64 folded and retracted in order to permit the helicopter to land.

FIGS. 11 and 12 show an alternative arrangement of the embodiment of FIG. 1. Auto-feed spring tension reels 32 are spaced from the helicopter by means of booms 82. This placement of the auto-feed spring tension reels away from the helicopter gives stabilizing lines 30 a better angle at which to control stability.

FIG. 13 shows a block diagram of a control system that can be used to operate the embodiments of FIGS.

1 and 8. Master controller controls both sign erecting mechanism 102 and lamp bank programmer 104. Lamp bank programmer 104 controls lamp bank drivers 106 which in turn control sign lamp bank 108. Sign lamp bank 108 forms each character by lighting the appropriate lamps within the matrix. Since master controller 100 can be actuated from the helicopter cockpit, the message displayed by the light bulbs can be changed in flight while the mat is being carried.

Referring now to FIGS. 14, 15 and 16, a third embodiment of the present invention is indicated generally at 120.

The aircraft 122 carries a sign 124 which includes upper portion 126 and lower portion 128. The upper portion 126 is comprised of a first support means such as elongated bar 132. At its ends elongated bar 132 supports forward and aft end members 134 in downwardly depending relation thereto. A second elongated bar 136 which is the lowermost member of the upper portion is connected at its ends to end members 134.

Elongated bars 132 and 136 are connected to each other at regular intervals by cross braces 138. If desired, additional cross bracing in the form of cables or wires arranged in diagonal configuration may be provided. A grid for supporting a message to be displayed or other suitable means for mounting indicia on the upper portion of the sign may be provided. Such means have been referred to above.

The upper portion 126 of the sign is connected to the helicopter by a plurality of elongated members. Preferably these members are rods, however, they can be of any suitable construction that is capable of withstanding flight loads. Rod 140 has one end connected to elongated bar 132 near its juncture with forward end member 134. Its other end is connected to the opposite landing skid 146. Rods 142 and 144 have one end connected respectively to elongated bars 132 and 136 and have their other ends connected to the skid aft crossbar 148. Rod 145 is connected between the boom of the helicopter and elongated bar 132. The near skid is fixedly connected to elongated bar 136. Thus, upper portion 126 is connected to the aircraft at both its upper and lower elongates members and at a plurality of intervals along its length. This results in a substantially rigid support structure which keeps the upper portion relatively immobile while the aircraft is in flight.

As best seen in FIG. 15, end members 134 may comprise elongated forwardly projecting components 154 which have inwardly, mutually facing flanges 156. The flanges 156 define guideways 158 between their interior surfaces and the upper portion of the sign.

The lower portion 128 of the sign is comprised of an upper elongated bar 160 from which forward and aft end members 162 depend. A second elongated bar 164 defines the lower limit of this portion of the sign. A plurality of crossbars 166 are spaced at regular intervals intermediate elongated bats 160 and 164. The end crossbars 168 are spaced inwardly a short distance from end members 162 for a reason which will be explained.

At the lower part of end members 134 suitable stops 170 are positioned intransverse relation to guideways 158. The stops may be comprised of any suitable material, preferably one of high strength and low friction.

The stops are arranged so that they are positioned between crossbars 168 and end members 162. Thus, when the sign is in its fully opened position it is supported substantially entirely by the stops 170 bearing against the elongated bar 160. Additionally, a portion of the weight of the sign is born by suitable elongated flexible members such as the cables to be described. It should be noted that the upper and lower portions of the sign overlap to some extent when in their open position so that flanges 150 prevent the lower portion from pivoting about its longitudinal axis.

A suitable spring biased storage reel 174 is fixed to upper portion 126 along the elongated bar 132. This reel is normally biased to its wound position. Forward pulley 176 and aft pulley 178 are rotatably supported along elongated bar 132. Suitable cables 182 and 184, each of which have one end connected to reel 174 have their other ends connected to forward and aft ears 186 and 188 on elongated bar 160. Each of the cables is entrained over its respective pulley 176 and 178. As is apparent, energization of the spring biased storage reel 174 to either its wound or unwound position will cause lower portion 128 to move from the position illustrated in FIG. 14 where the sign is in its open position to the configuration illustrated in FIG. 16 where it is co]- lapsed to overlie upper portion 126. During its movement between open and collapsed positions the lower portion of the sign is held in close relation to the upper portion by virtue of the guideways 158.

A main drive cable 190 has one end connected to the spring biased storage reel 174. It is entrained over pulleys 192 and 194 and its other end is fixed to a spring reel assembly 198 in the helicopter cockpit.

As best seen in FIGS. 17 and 18 the spring reel assembly is rotatably mounted on a shaft 200. The shaft may receive its input from an electric motor or may be operated by a manual crank. One of the flanges 202 on the reel may be of increased thickness so that a notch 204 may be formed therein.

Adjacent the reel is a pivotally mounted lug 206 which is biased by spring 208 so that a pawl 209 thereon is urged into the aforementioned notch 204. The lug and pawl operate as a blocking member to prevent the reel 198 from being unwound inadvertently.

A cable 210 is connected to a suitable means so that when tension is applied to the cable, it swings the lug 206 about its pivot point to withdraw the pawl 209 from the notch. This permits the reel 198 to be energized for either raising or lowering the lower portion of the sign.

The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential attributes thereof. Accordingly, reference should be made to the appended claims, rather than to the foregoing specification as indicating the scope of the invention.

I claim:

1. A sign to be carried by an aircraft comprising a mat in an open position, means on said mat to display a message, means mounting said mat to said aircraft, said mounting means comprising a plurality of stabilizing lines operatively connected to a plurality of auto feed spring tension reels, said reels being resiliently mounted to said aircraft, reduce vibration, and means to withdraw said mat to a closed position to permit said aircraft to land without damaging said mat.

2. A display sign in accordance with claim 1 wherein said auto-feed spring tension reels are mounted on booms, said booms being mounted on said aircraft in order to give said stabilizing lines a better angle to control the stability of said mat.

3. A sign to be carried by an aircraft comprising a mat in an open position, said mat being comprised of a plurality of panels joined together by a continuous rubber coated hinge to prevent vibration, means mounting said mat to said aircraft, and means to withdraw said mat to a closed position to permit said aircraft to land without damaging said mat.

4. A display sign to be carried by an aircraft comprising a mat in an open position having top and bottom edges, an elongated member carried by said aircraft for rotation about its own axis, said elongated member supporting said sign at said top edge, a first elongated stabilizing member mounted along said lower edge, a second elongated stabilizing member mounted intermediate said first elongated member and said second elongated stabilizing member, means on said mat to display a message, and motor means to rotate said elongated member to wind said mat thereon.

5. A display sign in accordance with claim 4 wherein said mat has a third elongated stabilizing member mounted intermediate said first and second elongated stabilizing members.

6. A display sign in accordance with claim 4 wherein said bottom stabilizing member contains stabilizing lead inserts.

7. The combination of an aircraft and a longitudinally disposed, collapsible sign having top and bottom portions, said combination comprising first and second support means carried by said aircraft, said first support means comprising an elongated member disposed longitudinally of said aircraft and being coupled to the top portion of said sign, said second support means being coupled to the bottom portion of said sign, said second support means being biased to urge said sign into its collapsed position, and means connected to said elongated member for moving said sign between open and collapsed portions.

8. The combination as defined in claim 7 wherein said second support means includes a plurality of elongated flexible members and a plurality of reels biased to a normally wound position when said sign is in its open position, and each of said flexible members have one end fixed to said sign and another end fixed to each of said reels.

9. The combination as defined in claim 8 wherein said aircraft is a helicopter, said flexible members are fixed to said bottom portion of said sign at opposite ends thereof, and said reels are supported in forward and aft positions on said helicopter.

10. The combination as defined in claim 7 wherein said elongated member is an elongated bar mounted for rotation about its own axis, drive means are connected to said elongated bar for rotating it in opposite directions so that said sign is moved between open and collapsed positions by being wound and unwound therefrom.

11. The combination as defined in claim 10 wherein said aircraft is a helicopter, said second support means is spaced laterally from said elongated member and includes a plurality of elongated flexible members and a plurality of reels biased to a normally wound position when said sign is unwound, and each of said flexible members has one end fixed to said sign and another end fixed to each of said reels.

12. The combination as defined in claim 11 wherein said bottom portion has a bottom edge and said flexible members are fixed to said bottom edge.

13. The combination as defined in claim 7 wherein said top and bottom portions are interconnected for pivotal movement so that said sign can be collapsed by being folded on itself under said aircraft at said interconnection.

14. The combination as defined in claim 13 wherein said aircraft is a helicopter, said elongated member is an elongated bar disposed on one side of the center line of said helicopter and mounted for rotation about its own axis, drive means connected to said elongated bar for rotating it in opposite directions, and said second support means includes a plurality of elongated flexible members and a plurality of reels biased to a normally wound position when said sign in unfolded.

15. The combination as defined in claim 14 wherein said bottom portion has a bottom edge, a first plurality of said flexible members are connected to said sign at said interconnection, a second plurality of said flexible members are connected to said sign at said bottom edge, and said reels are disposed on the other side of said center line and are operative to draw said interconnection toward said reels and said lower edge toward said elongated bar when said elongated bar is rotated to move said sign to its folded position.

16. The combination as defined in claim 7 wherein said sign supports a plurality of selectively actuable lights that are operative to form said display, and each of said lights comprises a bulb supported by a member comprised of a resilient material.

17. The combination as defined in claim 7 wherein said top and bottom portions of said sign are substantially rigid members, said top portion of said sign and said first support member being coupled to said aircraft, said bottom portion of said sign being disposed below said top portion when said sign is in its open position, and said second support means holding said bottom portion of said sign in overlying relation to said top portion when said sign is in its collapsed position.

18. The combination as defined in claim 17 wherein said aircraft is a helicopter, said first support and said top and bottom portions of said sign being disposed on one side of the center line of said helicopter, said second support means comprising a plurality of elongated flexible members, reel means for reeling said flexible members, each of said flexible members having one end connected to said bottom portion and having its other end connected to said reel means, and means for driving said reel means to move said bottom portion of said sign between open and collapsed positions.

19. The combination as defined in claim 18 wherein said upper portion of said sign includes first and second elongated mutually facing and outwardly pro ecting retaining members, said upper portion of said sign including stop members, said stop members being positioned adjacent the lower part of said upper portion of said sign, and said lower portion of said sign is constrained for movement between open and closed positions by said retaining members, and being supported by said stop members when in said lower position.

20. The combination of a helicopter having landing gear and a longitudinally disposed sign mounted thereon comprising a frame supporting said sign, said frame including upper and lower elongated edges, and means for mounting said frame on one side of said helicopter so that said upper elongated edge is disposed below the helicopter rotor disc and said lower elongated edge is disposed above said landing gear.

21. The combination as defined in claim 20 wherein said frame is coupled to said helicopter by a plurality of brace members and at least some of said brace members are connected between said frame and the landing gear on the opposite side of said helicopter.

22. The combination as defined in claim 21 wherein a portion of said lower elongated edge is coupled to the adjacent landing gear.

23. The combination as defined in claim 20 including a bottom frame supporting a second sign, said bottom frame being movable between an open position where it is disposed below said first frame and a collapsed position where it is in overlying relation to said first frame, a plurality of reels coupled to said upper elongated edge, a plurality of elongated flexible members entrained over said reels, each of said elongated flexible members having one end coupled to said second sign, and means for winding said elongated flexible members so that said second frame moves between open and collapsed positions.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4178706 *Jun 8, 1977Dec 18, 1979Boyce Robert A LVehicle towed display device
US4236333 *Dec 6, 1978Dec 2, 1980Kohm Richard CSign structure
US4607444 *Dec 14, 1984Aug 26, 1986Foster C TomPortable illumination display sign
US6749154 *Oct 29, 2002Jun 15, 2004Don Scott JohnsonAircraft advertising system
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DE102013114513A1 *Dec 19, 2013Jun 25, 2015Ziad KabbaniVerfahren und Vorrichtung zum Transport einer großflächigen Informations- oder Werbefläche mittels eines fernsteuerbaren Kleinfluggerätes und zugehörige Informations- oder Werbefläche
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Classifications
U.S. Classification40/215
International ClassificationG09F21/00, G09F21/12
Cooperative ClassificationG09F21/12
European ClassificationG09F21/12