Title:
Protector for use with parachutes
United States Patent 2363249
Abstract:
This invention is directed to a protector for parachutists and the like, wherein the parachutists are effectively protected against'shocks, jars, or injury incident to any extraneous conditions which may arise during their descent. The primary object of the present invention is the provision...


Inventors:
Hutchinson, George R.
Application Number:
US47894643A
Publication Date:
11/21/1944
Filing Date:
03/12/1943
Assignee:
Ray, Watson V.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/83.5, 206/522, 244/151R, 441/87
International Classes:
B64D1/14
View Patent Images:
Description:

This invention is directed to a protector for parachutists and the like, wherein the parachutists are effectively protected against'shocks, jars, or injury incident to any extraneous conditions which may arise during their descent.

The primary object of the present invention is the provision of a protector in which the parachutist during descent is substantially suspended and externally protected against injury from contact with any object, from contact with the ground, and completely insulated from any electrical influence with which he might otherwise contact.

A further object of the invention is the provision of a protector which in its initial form is in relatively collapsed condition and which is automatically inflated at the initiation of the descent to provide a pneumatic envelope surrounding the parachutist, with such envelope of a character to provide a substantially insulated shock-absorbing wall.

A further object of the invention is the provision of a protector in which the parachutist is suspended, and which protector in parachute work is suspended from the parachute proper and automatically controlled for inflation and extension by the usual static line serving to control the parachute.

A further object of the invention is the provision of a protector made up of inflatable tubular cells, disposed in superimposed relation and appropriately and initially shaped to give the exterior of the protector any.desired or appropriate shape, the respective cells being in communication and open, under the action of the static line, to inflation by a gas or the like compressed in or generated in conventional and well known supply devices for automatic inflation.

A further object of the present invention is the provision of a protector which when the shape-defining cells are inflated provides a hollow body of a size to readily receive the parachutist, and interiorly provided with supporting straps for suspending the parachutist substantially free of direct contact with the wall or bottom of the protector, thus adding to his safety against shock or injury from extraneous contact, the bottom of the protector being preferably provided with a shock-absorbing cushion, which under contact of the protector with the ground affords additional protection to the parachutist in landing.

The invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which: Figure 1 is a perspective view of the protector showing the same in operative position, the inflating means being omitted.

Figure 2 is a view in elevation of the same showing the protector in collapsed condition.

Figure 3 is a bottom plan view of the protector.

Figure 4 is a vertical section, partly in eleva- 6 tion, of the protect&r when in operative condition.

The improved protector, indicated generally at I, comprises a series of substantially independent inflatable cells 2, which may be made of any desired or appropriate material, subject to the necessary requirement that the cells must be capable of ready inflation and collapse and properly resistant to injury or penetration from external contact. The cells are arranged in superimposed relation, as illustrated, to form the side walls of the protector, with such cells of such internal diameter as to provide an open interior space 3 of sufficient size to receive the parachutist or any appropriate other material with which the protector may be used.

Similar cells 4, preferably but not necessarily of smaller area than the cells 2, are arranged in convolute rings across the bottom of the protector to thereby provide ample and similar protection for the bottom. The cells 2 may be made up of any outline form, being illustrated in Figure 1 as of angularly related sections, to provide a hexagonal-shaped protector. The shape, however, is not of particular importance so long as the cells 2 and 4 provide a completely enveloping inflatable protective wall completely surrounding the vertical area of the protector and its bottom.

The superimposed relation and the protector defining form of the cells 2 and of the bottom cells 4 is maintained by strap or like connectors 5, which overlie the uppermost cell 2 .and pass down each side of the superimposed series of cells and around the bottom cells. The straps 5 pre arranged in spaced relation circumferentially of the protector, being preferably looped over the uppermost cell 2, as at 6, with one terminal of each strap extending beneath the lowermost cell 2 on the inner side and up the outer side of such cell and secured to the outer length of strap. The outer lengths of all straps are passed beneath the lower cells 4 and connected to a ring 7. While the described arrangement of strap formation is preferred, it is to be understood that any means may be employed for securing the cells in protector-forming relation, subject only to the requirement that such connectors must be of a character and so arranged as to permit collapse and expansion of the cells.

A relatively heavy rubber or like material cushion 8 is secured upon the lower cells 4 within the protector, providing a bottom shock-absorbing element to safeguard the parachutist in landing.

Hanger straps 9 are terminally secured to the inner straps 5 and depend in crossing loop form in the interior space 3, to provide a seat or sup5 port for the parachutist, it being important to observe that the relation of this seat with the cushion 8 is such that when the parachutist is suspended on the seat, he is entirely free of contact with the cushion, or ordinarily with the :0 side walls of the protector. A safety strap 10 is preferably secured interiorly of the protector to be removably engaged with the harness of the parachutist.

The respective cells 2 and 4 are in communication one with the other, preferably through conventional or specific valves I, through the .medium of which any inflatable agent delivered to the uppermost cell 2 may rapidly reach and inflate all successive cells. The valve elements 1 are not an indispensable adjunct of the construction, as the contacting areas of the cells may be formed at any appropriate intervals with openings through which the desired communication may be had. If valve elements are used, it is preferred that they be of a type and in sufficient number to insure extremely rapid communication between the cells, and also of the type tending to retard rapid deflation of any particular cell through such valve. Under these conditions, external contact tending to puncture one of the cells would not necessarily or at least not immediately result in deflation of the other cells.

The uppermost cell is in open communication with a container 12, which may be of any well known or preferred type, and in which air or gas under compression in sufficient volume to inflate the cells, or in which well known chemicals may be stored, to generate when released a gas in sufficient volume to inflate the cells. This particular detail is unimportant so long as means be supplied by which under certain circumstances the cells may be rapidly and completely inflated.

The upper ends of the loops 6 carry appropriate rings 13 by which the protector as a whole may be connected to the parachute and separated therefrom at will. The usual static line 14, employed in opening the parachute bundle, is connected to the release element of the container 12, so that as the parachute is released for opening, the contents of the container 12 are simultaneously released for admission to the inflatable cells 2 and 4.

The protector as a whole with the cells 2 deflated and the protector thereby collapsed in its vertical dimension is connected to the parachute and the parachutist takes his place within the deflated protector, seating himself on the hanger straps 9. As ordinarily dhe protector would be difficult to handle by the usual jumping operation of the parachute, it is contemplated that the delivery of the protector and parachutist with the parachute pack can be perfected by means of a short chute, not necessary to illustrate. As the static line is tightened to permit the parachute bundle.to open, the contents of the container 12 are released and the deflated cells 2 and 4 are rapidly inflated, causing the side wall of the protector to rise above the head of the parachutist and thereby completely envelope the parachutist except at the upper end of the protector, with an insulated shock-proof and cushioning protector.

If during descent the protector contacts with any extraneous object, like a tree, house, telegraph pole, or the like, the parachutist is protected against shock and injury by such contact, and by reason of the very character of protector, it will clear itself from such object.

The protector is particularly serviceable in permitting parachutists leaving the carrying vehicle while the latter is travelling at high speed and even at low altitudes, as the protective feature of the device guards against the dangers of shock and landing otherwise incident to high speed jumping at low altitudes.

A characteristic feature of the protector ana for which it is more or less particularly designed is the fact that in ordinary circumstances, it will remain floatable for a considerable period of time at least to further safeguard the parachutist should he land in water. It is to be further noted that after landing, the parachutist by simply releasing the safety strap 10, is entirely free, may rapidly leave the protector for his further duties. The cells proper may be of any diameter and in any number, so long as they may be capable of full inflation in approximately four seconds and preferably but not necessarily sustain an internal pressure of two to three pounds per square inch.

The protector furthermore is admirably adapted for the delivery of any live cargo, any merchandise, and particularly high explosives, as each and all of such are safeguarded to all practical limits.

What I claim is: 1. A protector for use by parachutists, including a series of independent superimposed inflatable side cells arranged to define a vertical wall and a substantially uniform interior open space, a further series of inflatable bottom cells underlying the lowermost of the side cells and in part bridging the bottom of the interior space, and strap-like confining elements for all said cells, said elements being terminally connected centrally of and beneath and centrally of the bottom cells and each extended upwardly of and in contact with the outer sides of the side cells, passed through load-sustaining members above the upper side cells, and continued downwardly in contact with the inner surfaces of the side cells, the terminals of the elements being passed between the lowermost side cell and the outermost bottom cell and secured to that length of the same element overlying the side cells.

2. A protector for use by parachutists, including a series of superimposed inflatable side cells arranged to define a vertical wall with a substantially uniform open interior space, a further series of inflatable bottom cells underlying and contacting with the lowermost side cell, a series of straps relatively spaced peripherally of the protector and overlying and having bearing contact with the outer and inner surfaces of the side cells and underlying and supporting the bottom cells, each of said straps passing through a ring immediately above the uppermost side cell, and means connecting the rings.

3. A construction as defined in claim 2, wherein flexible elements are terminally connected to said straps in those lengths overlying the inner surfaces of the side cells, said flexible elements being interrelated below their supports and in the interior of the protector to provide a seat. 4. A construction as defined in claim 2, wherein a resilient body is fitted to bear against the inner surface of the lowermost side cell and overlie and bear directly on the bottom cells.

5. A construction as defined in claim 2, wherein a resilient body is fitted to bear against the inner surface of the lowermost side cell and overlie and bear directly on the bottom cells, and a connecting strap secured at its lower end adjacent the lowermost side cell, said connecting strap having a length to extend above the seat and terminally formed with a body-harness connector.

GEORGE R. HUTCHINSON.

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