US 3684219 A
A simple, lightweight, easily constructed and easily operated, spring-loaded glider launching attachment for a kite is disclosed which is formed primarily from flexible plastic tubing, paper clips or the like and rubber bands. Other embodiments are disclosed.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent King 1 Aug. 15, 1972  GLIDER LAUNCHER FOR KITES  Inventor: Robert W. King, 5620 Theobald,
Morton Grove, Ill. 60053  Filed: Dec. 18, 1970 21 Appl. No.: 99,615
 US. Cl. ..244/ 155  Int. Cl ..B64c 31/06  Field of Search ..244/l53, 154, 155
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS McKay ..244/155 R 2,822,998 2/l958 Toth ..244/l55 R Primary ExaminerRichard A. Schacher Att0rney-Harbaugh and Thomas ABSIRACT A simple, lightweight, easily constructed and easily operated, spring-loaded glider launching attachment for a kite is disclosed which is formed primarily from flexible plastic tubing, paper clips or the like and rubber bands. Other embodiments are disclosed.
9 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures PATENTEnAua 15 m2 3 6-84 21 9 SHEET 1 or 2 INVENTOR: ROBERT W KING A frorneys PATENTEDAus 15 m2 3.684.219
saw 2 BF 2 //V VENTOR:
ROBERT 4 Kl/VG By $44M JZMM Attorneys GLIDER LAUNCHER FOR KITES BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Release means for kits structures whereby a toy parachute or glider can be attached to the kite frame for release after a predetermined time are known. Early structures used for this purpose were formed of metal and involved ratchets, spring biased triggers and detent balls for release by a control string. Various special means for attaching the fabric portion of the parachute are used. It is known to attach a glider to the main brace of a kite by means of a rubber band affixed to the brace at the top end and engaging a notch in the glider body at the other end. The other end of the glider in one such prior art device, disclosed in US. Pat. No. 2,669,403 is held by a pivotally mounted trigger that catches a second notch in the glider at one end and has a tapering arm extending to the windward side of the kite and engaged by a notched catch member extending from the main brace. In order to actuate the lever a release kite is sent up the control string to strike the tapering arm of the lever and force it from the notched catch. Inflatable means such as a balloon within a frame is also used to hold a parachute or glider upon a kite.
The prior art devices, though generally accomplishing their intended purposes have not been commercially acceptable and have not created an impact on the toy art. One reason may be that the weight and bulk of the latch structures destroys the aerodynamic capabilities of the kite, which in itself is difficult enough for a child to handle. Timed release means have to be manufactured with some degree of accuracy which adds to the expense and such means do not always last too long. A trigger kite that is designed to travel up the control string can catch on knots in the string, or be impeded by the steepness of the inclination of the string. Adjusting screws and the like for spring tensions require a screw driver and are difficult for children to use. The instant invention is conceived with a latch device which overcomes these difficulties.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with this invention the attachment and adjustment of all parts is through the interengagement of tubular plastic members that can be easily affixed to a standard simple kite. Any part which is lost or broken can be duplicated from plastic tubing, paper clips or a hair pin and no special tools are necessary to adjust or repair the parts. The combination of parts which in one embodiment can be precut for assembly by a child, are adapted for use with any type of kits and are of such a nature that they are not damaged through ordinary accidents that occur with kites, such as being dashed to the ground by a wind gust or sudden calm.
In one embodiment of this invention the toy glider is attached at its front to the end of a rubber band under tension and a part of the rubber band is held on a launching strut, in a simple latch mechanism on one of the kite braces for release by an over-riding tripping string operated by the control string or line for the kite. A bifurcated mount is provided on the brace to releasably hold and longitudinally orient the glider body with the brace. This mount also provides a slide loop for the tripping string that attaches to the latch mechanism. In one form the latch comprises a block attached to the kite brace having a beveled wall to engage a loop of the rubber band. The latch proper is a piece of plastic tubing slidably engaged around the brace with a lip to engage over the loop of the rubber band whereby the tendency of the loop to work its way up the beveled wall cants the latch upon the brace and locks the members together. A pivotal latch is also disclosed having a rounded hub to disengage the rubber band. The trip string is tethered to the control string through a guide loop of plastic tubing and a second rubber band is affixed between the control string and the kite. Pulling the control string sharply, stretches the second rubber band to the point where the trip string is tautened and the slidable latch is released allowing the first rubber band to send the glider off from the kite. In another embodiment the loop of the first rubber band is engaged by a pivotally mounted trigger that engages within the slidable tubular latch attached to the trip string. In another embodiment the trip string is pivotally attached to the control string behind a keeper disc so that in the event the kite twirls in the air the harness will not become tangled. One end of another longer piece of plastic tubing is fitted over the top end of the main strut of the kite.
More particularly, a launching strut of the same size and shape as the strut used in the regular kite frame is used. A pair of simple tubular inter-locking latch members that slidably engage this strut are provided. This strut is mounted to the main strut of the kite frame by means of a short piece of a flexible tubular plastic keeper that encompasses the main strut and into which the launching strut is engaged. A holder for the tail of the glider that also slidably engages this strut to adjust for different lengths of glider bodies is provided. A longer piece of plastic tubing interconnects in a loop between the end of the main strut of the kite frame and the end of the launcher strut. This piece of tubing has holes near the ends and serves as a guide for the release string. A short piece of plastic tubing to hold the hot- 7 tom end of the launching strut along with rubber bands and string complete the assembly. In one modification a simple pivoting trigger mounted within a piece of tubular plastic and an interlocking slidable piece of plastic form the release mechanism. In another modification a paper clip can be used in place of the tail holder.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS:
Several illustrative embodiments of the invention are shown in the drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the back side of a kite with the glider launcher attached;
FIG. 1A is a perspective view of the kite shown in FIG. 1 with a glider attached thereto;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the front side of the kits of this invention to show the harness or bridle arrangement used with all embodiments;
FIG. 3 is a gragmentary view, partially in section, showing the catch means of FIG. 1 ready for release of a glider;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary cross sectional view of a modification of the base portion of the catch means formed of a section of plastic tubing and a block of wood or the like;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary view of a launching strut of the kite with a tail holder formed of a paper clip and held thereto by means of a section of plastic tubing;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the back side of a kite with another form of trigger release and the tail holder of FIG. 3 thereon holding a glider ready for launching;
FIG. 6A is a fragmentary view of a launching strut of the kite shown in FIG. 6 showing the details of the trigger release and its relationship with the holder with a glider in launching position;
FIG. 6B is a fragmentary perspective view of an alternate form of trigger release for use with the embodiment shown in FIG. 6A;
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary partial cross-sectional view to show the position of the parts in FIG. 6A at the moment of release; and
FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a modified form of launching trigger.
DESCRIPTION OF THE FREE EMBODIMENTS:
Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2 there is shown a kite 10 formed in the usual manner with the main or longitudinal strut 12, the cross strut 14 held together by the metal cleat 16 or other suitable fastening at the midpoint of the cross strut to form the kite frame. Each of the ends 18 of these struts is provided with a narrow slot to receive the edge-bracing string 20 in tautened relationship thereabout, over one side of which the paper portion 22 of the kite body is placed and held in place by the glued down flaps 24. On the front or windward side of the kite there is provided the string harness 26 which attaches through the paper 22 to the main strut at spaced points. Any form of harness can be used, that is, a two-point connection or a four-point connection as desired. The kite string is shown at 28 with which the kite is controlled in its flying position. The kite 10 is merely illustrative of the type of airborne toy which the launching device of this invention may be used as will be apparent as the description proceeds.
As shown in FIGS. 1, 1A, 2 and 6, the main strut 12 has affixed thereto the elongated and curved section of tubing 30. One end of the tube 30 is press-fitted over the top end of the main strut in which position it engages over the string 20 and further secures it within the slot of the strut. The tube 30 has a passageway therethrough and is provided with a pair of rounded apertures 32 and 34 spaced from the ends of this member. The main strut 12 is provided with the fastener 36 comprising a short section of the same type of tubing used to fabricate the guide tube 30. A launching rubber band 38 of elongated continuous loop configuration is provided with the glider engaging end indicated at 40, at which position the shorter and smaller trigger band 42 is tied by merely looping it over and through itself. I
The launching strut 44 is mounted thereon with its bottom end thrust into the fastener tube 36 and its other or top end thrust into the other end of the guide tube 30 with that portion of the rubber band 38 opposite the end engaged over the end of the launching strut. The holes 32 and 34 are spaced sufficiently from the ends of the tube 30 so that when the main strut 12 and the launching strut 38 are in the position shown the holes 32 and 34 are open and free of any obstruction. The tube 30 is normally a straight piece of tubing which is flexed to the mounted position shown.
Referring to FIGS. 1, 1A and 3, it is seen that the launching strut carries, as one embodiment of this invention, the block member 46 having an aperture 48 (FIG. 5) therethrough that encompasses this strut. The block 46 as shown in FIG. 3 is constructed of a solid piece of plastic and has the back surface 50 which is planar and slopes forwardly and upwardly from the top surface of the strut 44. The aperture 48 is off center so that the surface 50 is raised above the strut to facilitate its use as a catch as will be described.
FIG. 4 illustrates an alternate form of block member 46' formed of a short section of plastic tubing 52 encompassing a short section of wood or other filler material 54, the end surfaces 56 and 58 of which are coplanar and beveled to form the same type of sloping catch surface as illustrated at 50. This type of catch or block is readily formed by the user in the event the plastic block 46 becomes lost or repairs are necessary during use of the kite.
Still referring to FIGS. 1 and 3, the launching strut 44 has the movable latch member 60 also formed of a section of plastic tubing, the bore 62 of which is larger than the strut 44 so that it is not only freely slidable thereon but also cants and locks as will be described. The forward edge of the latch member 60 has the protruding tongue 64 formed by the arcuate cut 66 for this end. The back and top edge has an aperture or a fastening ring 68 to which is tied one end of the trip string 70. At the rear or bottom end of the launching strut there is provided the tail clamp 72 having the wire or plastic loop 74 on its forward edge and being provided with a pair of upright spaced fingers 76 and 78. As shown in FIGS. 1, 1A and 2, the trip string is attached to the latch member 60 on the end opposite the tongue 64 and passes rearwardly through the loop 74 of the tail clamp 72, where it reverses and extends along the side of the launching strut 44 to the top end of the kite, through the hole 34, within and around the curve of the tubing 30 and out the hole 32 to the front side of the kite, where it is tied to the main kite control string 28. Preferably, this end of the trip string is looped over the control string 28 as indicated at 80.
This fastening can be accomplished by means of a non-slipping loop in the trip string or by a metal slip ring which is illustrated at 80. In any event, the end 80 engages the control string in a manner so that it will rotate thereabout and not tangle or wind up if the kite should go into a spin. This fastening also prevents tangling during periods of handling the kite as in transportation, packing or launching. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the control string 28 is affixed to the resilient rubber hand 82 which is affixed at its other end to the harness 26 as at the adjustable tie point 84. In order to prevent the loop 80 from tangling with the rubber band 82, it has been found expedient to provide a barrier member. That section of the control string 28 between the loop 80 and the rubber band 82 accordingly carries the lightweight washer 86.
The glider 88 to be launched by the kite of this invention, is illustrated in FIGS. 1A and 6 in the ready-tolaunch position. Any form of glider or flying toy can be used as long as it is provided with a notch 90 or similar off-set in its fuselage member 92 and has a flattened tail section 94 that can be retained within the space 96 between the fingers 76 and 78 of the tail catch 72. This member is formed of molded plastic and the base portion encompasses and slidably engages the launching strut and catch means. These parts are arranged as shown in FIG. I when the glider is attached. The notch 90 is engaged in the end of the rubber band 38 and the glider is moved rearwardly until the tail section 94 can be pressed between the fingers 76-78. The length of the band 38, the position of the tail catch 72 are adjusted so that with the glider attached as shown in FIG. 4, the band 38 is under sufficient tension to give a launching thrust to the glider on release, that is, just enough to send the glider free of the kite.
The latch member 60 is moved backwards on the strut 44 clear of the sloping surface and the lighter weight trigger band 42 is stretched backwards and looped over and down upon this surface. While the trigger band is held in this position by the fingers it is only necessary to move the latch member forward so that the tongue 64 touches the surface 50 above the band 42. The band 42 is then released and because of its tension creeps or rolls upward on this slope 50 until it engages the underside of the tongue 64 and cants the latch 60 into the position shown in FIG. 3. The trip string is slack at this time. The bore 62 of the latch 60 is accordingly canted upon the strut 44 and the edges 98 and 100 engage thereupon. This locking movement occurs before the tongue pivots beyond the upper reaches of the slope or camming surface 50 so as to prevent the trigger band 42 from releasing.
It is to be observed that, since the trigger string 70 is slack, the kite can be flown in the usual manner by means of the main kite control string 28, through the take-up band 82 and the harness or bridle 26. Once in the air and at the desired attitude it is only necessary to jerk the string 28 which causes a sudden stretch in the band 82, thereby taking up the slack in the trip string 70 which pulls through the tube 30, around the loop 74 and tautens, to move the latch 60 rearwardly. The tongue 64 is moved away from the slope 50 and its engagement with the trigger band 42, which is immediately released. The main rubber band 38 is also released, to flip the glider from the kite. The tension on the band 38 is strong enough to overcome the gripping force of the tail holder 72. I
FIG. 5 illustrates an alternative form of tail holder comprising a short section of plastic tubing 102 which slidably engages and encompasses the launching strut 44 just ahead of the base fastener 36, that is, in the same relative position as the tail holder member 72. In this instance the member to hold the tail section 94 comprises a paper clip 104 having or bent into a U- shaped upper end 106 opening to the front, supported by the shank 108, with one of its loops 110 extending along the strut 44 and engaged by the tube 102 with the end portion 112 up-turned so as to insure a rigid mounting. This element is readily formed by the user. The tension or spread of the arm 114 of the U-shaped end 106 is readily adjusted to impart the necessary grip on the tail section 94 and the tip 116 can be bent to the side so that there are no sharp edges to catch on the soft light wood i.e., Balsa, of which glider bodies are constructed. The tail holder of FIG. 5 is used in the same manner as that described in relation to the tail holder 72.
FIGS. 6 and 6A show another form of trigger release for the glider launcher of this invention. In this embodiment a piece of plastic tubing 120 is formed with a rear sloping planar edge 122 and the tubular portion encompasses the strut 44 in the same manner as the other tubular plastic pieces that have been described. A short piece of wire, shown in broken lines is retained between the tube 120 and the strut with a loop or tab end 124 extending from the rear and spaced above the top surface of the strut. The trigger member 126 has its forward end 128 looped within the loop or tab 124 so as to be pivotable on a transverse axis.
The tubular slide catch member 130 encompasses the strut 44 loosely with the space 132 adapted to receive the trigger 126 therein and with the trigger band 42 caught under the pivot 124-128. The rear end of the slide catch 130 has the aperture 134 near the edge to form a tie place for the trip string 70, as indicated at 136. FIG. 7 shows the relative action of these parts as the trip string is suddenly tautened, by a jerk on the control string 28, in the direction of the arrow 140, pulling the slide 130 in the direction of the arrow 142, whereby it clears the end of the trigger 126, which allows the trigger 126 to pivot and free the trigger band 42 as the glider is launched. The band 42 rolls upwardly on the slope 122 and easily passes over the hinge 124-128.
In FIG. 8 a modified trigger base 120' is shown wherein the loop hings 128 is recessed back from the edge 122 by means of the slot 144 and the hole 146 forming a cross-wall section for the loop hinge. The function of the modified trigger base 120' is the same as that shown in FIGS. 6A and 7.
In FIG. 68 still another version of the trigger is shown wherein the flat base member 150 rests upon the strut 44 and is held by means of the overlapping front and rear tubular plastic sections 152 which can be identical. The paid of tabs 154 extend from the base in spaced relationship and carry the pin 156 therebetween on which is mounted the plastic hub 158 having as a part thereof the plastic finger or spoke 160. The tabs 154 present a slope 162 on the back and front sides so that the trigger can be mounted end-for-end. The slopes 162 cooperate with the slide catch member 130 and function the same as the slopes 50 and 56-58 in holding and releasing the trigger band 42 in the manner shown in FIGS. 6A and 7.
All of the parts are adjustable. The length of the tube 30 can be such that a relatively sharp bend is provided at the top end of the kite. This member also functions as a resilient bumper for the kite should it strike a tree or plungs to the ground. The tube 30 is sized so as to be easily inserted over the struts l2 and 44 with little effort. All of the parts are of lightweight so as to not interfere with the flight characteristics of the kite. The tubular parts are made of any suitable plastic such as polypropylene, nylon or the proprietary product known as Mylar, etc., preferably having strength, pliability and some degree of lubricity. The tail holder and latches can be readily moved along the launching strut 44 to accommodate different sizes of gliders and provide varying degrees of tension for the launching and trigger mechanism. The length and other adjustments of the trigger string 42 are readily made. The kite can be flown from a staked out position from the main string 28 and an auxiliary string (not shown) attached to the kite and extending to the tround so as to bring it down from time to time for repeated glider launchings. The launching strut 44 can be mounted along the cross strut 14 if desired for a transverse launch.
It is also apparent from this description that a number of modifications can be made within the scope and intent of the invention. Thus, the latch 60 can be made to function in different ways or reversed. The tongue 64 can ride higher on the slope 50 and a protuberance provided on the top of the tongue 64 on which to hook the trigger band 42, instead of on the slope 50. Thus, the backward or downward movement of the latch 60 would release the tongue from the block 48 and allow the latch and the protuberance to pivot downward and release the trigger band. As illustrated the trigger or trip string 70 reverses in the loop 74 so that it pulls downwardly or toward the tail of the kite in releasing the trigger. This loop can be omitted by reversing the positions of the trigger arrangement shown in FIG. 6A so that the slide 130 is pulled forward or upwardly to release.
In describing the parts of the kite and launching mechanism of this invention it is assumed that under flight conditions the guide loop 30 will be above the tail end or mount 36 and these parts are referred to as the top end and tail end of the kite, respectively. The launching strut 44 can be the same material i.e., wood or plastic, as the kite frame struts 12 and 14, and one such strut can be used as the launching strut. It is apparent that the launching strut is mounted at an angle with the strut l2 and acts as a guide or ramp to deflect the glider 92 away from the kite. The take-up band 82 can be double or single and like the launching band 38 is preferably made of rubber. The trigger band 42 can be an ordinary rubber band of any desired length or size.
Under normal flying conditions of the kite the takeup band 82 functions as a shock absorber and is strong enough to resist the pull of the kite and still have sufficient remaining stretch to yield further under a sudden jerk on the control string to take up the slack on the trigger string 70. A convenient way of adjusting the degree of slack on the trigger string is provided by the washer member 86 and the loop 80. With a glider or other article to be launched attached to the launching strut and the trigger set, etc., the control string 28 can be pulled to impart tension on the shock absorber band 82. The washer 86 is allowed to slide away from the band 82 against the loop 80 and cause a reduction in the slack in the trigger string 70. A string or stop member is then tied or otherwise affixed to the control string 28 over which the washer cannot pass, so that it will be spaced from the end of the band 82 while the trigger string 70 is still slack. Adjustment for the proper slack in the trigger string 70 can also be made at the tie loop 68 or by slight adjustments in position of the tail support 72. For some kites it may be desirable to omit the launching strut 44 and use one of the struts of the kite frame for this purpose. In this event, the guide loop and mount 30 would be modified and shortened for at tachi'nent at the side wall on the end of the strut whereby both ends are open and it serves as a tubular guide for the trigger string 70 to pass over the end of the strut, i.e., the strut 12. Also, it is practical for some kites to use the trigger string 70 directly from the conand control assembly.
What is claimed is:
l. A kite capable of carrying and launching an article aloft including:
a kite frame having a frame strut member with a resilient launching band affixed to one end thereof;
trigger means to hold said resilient launching band in a stretched position with said article releasably engaged by said band;
a bridle attached to said kite frame including a resilient take-up band attached to the main control string of said kite; and
a normally slack trip string attached to said control string at one end and to said trigger means at the other end, the resiliency of said take-up band allowing a sudden jerk on said control string to take up the slack in said trip string whereby to release said trigger means.
2. A kite in accordance with claim 1 in which:
said block member includes a pivotally mounted finger adapted to engage said resilient launching member and rotate to a locked position;
a catch member slidably carried by said launching strut and having a bore hole to receive said finger in the locked position; and
said one end of said trip string being attached to said catch member whereby the tautening of said trip string slides said catch member from the latched position.
3. A kite adapted to carry and launch an article from aloft comprising:
frame means including a frame strut member having a top end and a bottom end;
a main kite control string and a bridle string attached to said frame means with a resilient take-up band between said bridle string and said main control string;
mounting means at the top and bottom ends of said frame strut member, including a guide channel at the top end thereof;
a launching strut carried at its end by said mounting means;
a resilient launching band affixed at one end to said launching strut and have a resilient trigger band at the other end;
means on said launching strut to detachably hold a rear portion of the article to be launched;
releasable trigger means mounted on said launching strut and including a slidable member adapted to releasably engage said trigger band;
a trip string attached to said control string and extending through said guide channel to said slidable member whereby a sharp pull on said control string lengthens said take-up band and pulls said trip string to release said trigger means.
4. A kite in accordance with claim 3 in which:
said trip string is normally slack in the flying position of said kite and the remaining stretch in said takeup band is sufficient to overcome said slack and tauten said trip string sufiiciently to release said trigger.
5. A kite in accordance with claim 3 in which:
said trigger means comprises a block member affixed to said launching strut and having a sloping surface over which a portion of said resilient launching band engages in stretched relationship;
a catch member encompassing and slidably carried by said launching strut and having a tongue engageable over the engaged portion of said launching band;
said catch member being thereby canted upon said strut in a latched position; and
said one end of said trip string being attached to said catch member whereby the tautening of said trip string slides said catch member from the latched position.
6. A kite adapted to carry a glider aloft and launch same comprising:
a kite frame having an elongated frame strut member extending from the tail end to the top end of said kite;
a launching strut carried by said frame strut and having a plurality of sections of plastic tubing encompassing said launching strut;
one of said tubing sections encompassing said frame strut near the tail end to form a mounting;
another of said tubing sections having a guide loop and spaced fingers adapted to engage the tail portion of a glider;
one of said tubing sections being slidably mounted on said launching strut with a portion of its longitudinal bore hole open to form a trigger catch;
one of said tubing sections having a pivotal trigger member engageable in said trigger catch in a locked position;
still another of said tubing sections being elongated and arched approximately 180 whereby the extended end encompasses said extended top end of said frame strut and supports said launching strut at an angle to said frame strut;
spaced bore holes in the side of said last mentioned tubing section;
a main kite control string affixed to a shock-absorber band and a bridle attached between said band and said kite frame;
a resilient launching band held at one end between said arcuate tubing section and said launching strut and having a glider engaging loop and a trigger engaging loop; and
a trip string engaged at one end by said control string and extending in slack condition through the spaced bore holes of said arcuate tubing section through said guide loop and being affixed at its other end to said trigger means;
whereby a glider is positionable therein with its tail section between said fingers; its frame hooked in said glider engaging loop, with the launching band stretched sufficiently to throw said glider free of said kite and with the trigger engaging loop engaged under said trigger member in the locked position and the remaining stretch of said shockabsorber band is sufficient to overcome the slack condition of said trip string and release said trigger member from said trigger catch.
7. kite in accordance witla claim 6 in which: sal trip string engages sal control string by means of a loop therearound; and
said control string is provided with a washer member between said loop and the end of said shock-absorber band.
8. A kite in accordance with claim 6 in which:
said spaced fingers extending from said one tubing section comprise the open end hook of a wire member including a shank and a base loop encompassed by said tubing section upon said launching strut; and
said base loop is upturned from the surface of said launching strut to form said guide loop for said trip string.
9. A kite in accordance with claim 6 in which:
said pivotal trigger member is pivotally mounted in a wall section of said tubing spaced inwardly from the end of said tubing and said end is formed with a sloping surface.