BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to an amusement device comprising a toy missile having a parachute and in particular, to improvements in the means to automatically hold and release the parachute when the missile reaches the maximum height of its trajectory.
In my U.S. Pat. No. 3,415,010 issued Dec. 10, 1968, there is disclosed and claimed a toy parachute apparatus comprising a missile adapted to be projected into the air and which includes a parachute adapted to be stored in a rear container and to be released by an arrangement including a reciprocal parachute expulsion member located in the container and a trigger mechanism supported by the missile body to hold the reciprocal parachute expulsion portion in a position to receive the parachute when suitably folded. Biasing means urges the expulsion portion against the trigger mechanism in a direction to expel the parachute. A stationary magnet is secured to the forward end of the missile and a movable magnet is carried by the missile for restraining the trigger mechanism when the missile is moving upward and which moves forward to release the trigger mechanism when the maximum height of the trajectory is reached, thereby allowing the reciprocal member to move rearward to expel the parachute from the container.
Although the apparatus disclosed in this patent works satisfactorily and has advantages, the parachute expulsion arrangement and trigger mechanism is more complicated than desired for economic production of the toy apparatus.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is an object of the present invention to provide a toy missile having a parachute which is held and released from a rear end container by a trigger mechanism controlled by a stationary magnet and a movable member of magnetic material and which employs a simple, economic, and reliable parachute expulsion arrangement and trigger mechanism.
In the embodiment disclosed, the parachute expulsion arrangement comprises a resilient means adapted to extend across the rear opening of the parachute container and to be stretched inward by the parachute when inserted in the container to urge the parachute rearward when located in place. The trigger mechanism includes a holding means having a portion adapted to extend across the rear opening of the container when the parachute is inserted therein to hold the parachute within the container. The holding means includes another portion adapted to be held by a movable means coupled to the movable member of magnetic material and to be released when the movable means and the movable member move to their release positions to allow the flexible means to expel the parachute from the container through its rear opening.
In the embodiment disclosed, the holding means comprises a flexible cord attached to the rear end of the missile and to an arm means adapted to be held by the movable means when in its restraining position. The parachute is attached to the flexible means which preferably comprises an elastic band.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the toy missile of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged side view of the missile of FIG. 1 illustrating more detail of the missile;
FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 2 taken along the lines 3--3 thereof;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the rear end of the missile with the parachute removed from the container;
FIG. 5 illustrates the trigger mechanism of the missile when it is being released; and
FIG. 6 illustrates the missile during its descent after the parachute has been released and unfolded.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
Referring now to the drawings, reference numeral 11 identifies the missile and which comprises a forward end 13 connected to a rear container 15 by way of four spaced rods or dowels 17, 19, 21, and 23. Container 15 has an open rear end 15A and a closed forward end 15B. Connected to the front end 13 is a hook 25 for receiving a rubber band or elastic element to allow the missile to be fired or projected into the air in a manner disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,415,010. A stationary magnet 31 is secured to the forward end 13 and has apertures through which the rods 17, 19, 21, and 23 extend. A movable member 33 of mild steel in the form of a cross is located within the openings defined by rods 17, 19, 21, and 23 whereby it may slide rearward to a restraining position, as shown in FIG. 1 to a forward release position as shown in FIG. 5. Coupled to the movable member 33 is a sleeve-like movable member 35 having four walls 37 and a forward wall 39. The side walls 37 surround the rods 17, 19, 21, and 23 while the forward wall 39 has four apertures formed in its four corners through which the rods 17, 19, 21, and 23 extend. These apertures are identified at 41, 43, 45, and 47. Also formed through the center of the forward wall 39 is a central aperture 49 for receiving a rod or dowel 51 having its front end connected to the movable member 33 and a stop or flange 53 connected to its rear end behind wall 39. Both the member 33 and the member 35 may slide together along rods 17, 19, 21, and 23 which act as guides. In addition, member 33 and member 35 may move relative to each other until the member 33 moves in a forward direction sufficient to bring the flange 53 against the back of the wall 39 at which point, both the member 33 and the member 35 will move forward together.
When the missile is traveling upward, the force of gravity will hold the movable member 33 downward in the rearward direction, thereby holding the member 35 in a restraining position as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. When the maximum height of the trajectory of the missile is reached and the missile tilts from an upward to a downward position, the force of gravity no longer urges the movable member 33 and movable member 35 rearward whereby member 33 is pulled forward to magnet 31, due to the magnetic attractive force of the magnet 31. When member 33 is pulled forward to magnet 31, it pulls member 35 forward as indicated above.
The rear of the missile has four fins 61, 63, 65, and 67 coupled thereto for guiding the missile in its path of travel. The fins 63 and 67 have forward slots 63a and 67a (not shown) which are adapted to receive an elastic band, preferably a rubber band illustrated at 69, whereby the rubber band will extend across the rear opening 15a of the container as illustrated in FIG. 4, when the parachute 12 is not inserted therein. The purpose of this elastic band is to urge the parachute rearward when inserted in place in the container to allow it to be expelled when the trigger mechanism is released. In this respect, when the parachute is properly folded, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, it may be inserted into the container stretching the portion 69a inward and in front of the parachute, as illustrated in FIG. 2. When this occurs, the band 69 urges the parachute 12 rearward. Connected to fin 65 is a flexible cord 71 and which is adapted to extend across the opening 15a of the container and behind the parachute when in place to hold the parachute within the container until released. The cord 71 comprises a loop shaped cord having one end 71a inserted through aperture 65a of the fin 65 and tied thereto. The other end of the cord 71 is connected to a trigger arm 73 through aperture 73A. The trigger arm 73 has a slot 75 formed in its rear end as illustrated in FIG. 4 and which is adapted to fit within slot 61a of the fin 61 when the cord 71 is extended across the opening 15a of the container and looped around fin 61 as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. The forward end of the arm 73 has a small downward extending tab 73B and which is adapted to fit within a slot 77 formed in the forward end of the container 15 and under the rear end of the top wall 37a of the member 35, when the member 35 is in its restraining position. Thus the parachute may be loaded within the container, stretching the elastic band 69 forward and then held in place by bringing the cord 71 around the fin 61; fitting the slot 75 of the arm 73 within the slot 61a of the fin 61; moving the forward end of the arm 73 downward to locate tab 73B within the slot 77; and sliding the movable member 35 rearward in the restraining position to locate the rear end of the top wall 37a over the tab 73B. In this position, the rubber band 69 urges the parachute in the rearward direction and the missile is ready to be projected or fired upward. As the missile reaches its maximum height of trajectory, the member 33 is pulled forward thereby pulling the member 35 forward as described above, which releases the tab 73B of arm 73. When this occurs, the force of the rubber band 69 on the parachute causes the arm 73 to rotate counterclockwise as seen in FIG. 2 to release the cord 71 from its holding position to allow the rubber band 69 to expel the parachute from the container. When the parachute is expelled, it will be unfolded as illustrated in FIG. 6 to allow a slow descent of the missile. As seen in FIG. 6, the shrouds 81 of the parachute are connected together and to a cord 83 which in turn is connected to the rubber band 69. The rubber band has a length such that when its ends are inserted within slots 63a and 73a of the fins 63 and 67, the rubber band is under slight tension and hence is held in place thereby coupling the parachute to the missile when it is descending.
In order to insure that the movable member 33 stays in its rearward position when the missile is traveling upward, the member 33 has outward extending portions 33a which act as a wind resistor to produce an extra amount of drag to help restrain the movable member 33 in its rearward position when the missile is traveling upward.