Title:
Vehicular towed aircraft toy for passenger operation and message display
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention described herein represents a significant improvement in the entertainment of vehicle passengers. It comprises an aircraft that is tethered to, towed by, or otherwise movably affixed to a passenger vehicle. The aircraft includes remotely controlled surfaces and locomotion elements that enable it to be flown by a vehicle passenger on wind created by the movement of the passenger vehicle. Elements of the system include a passenger vehicle, a passenger, an aircraft, controlled surfaces on the aircraft, a remote controller, a wind powered generator, and various emitters of electromagnetic energy including lights, toy lasers, and electric display to display information such as sport team logos for occupants of other vehicles to observe. The aircraft is constructed with a soft low abrasion exterior so as not to damage or scratch the passenger vehicle upon which it is towed.



Inventors:
Alden, Ray M. (Raleigh, NC, US)
Application Number:
11/593262
Publication Date:
05/08/2008
Filing Date:
11/06/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H27/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CEGIELNIK, URSZULA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ray, Alden M. (808 Lake Brandon Trail, Raleigh, NC, 27610, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. An aircraft suitable for being flown on wind generated by the movement of a passenger vehicle comprising; An aircraft, A passenger vehicle, A controlled surface, A passenger operated control, And wherein the aircraft is movably connected to the passenger vehicle so as to be lifted by a wind caused by movement of the passenger vehicle and wherein the controlled surface is controlled by the passenger operated control as a means for steering the aircraft in at least one dimension.

Description:

BACKGROUND FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates to model or toy aircraft that are tethered or otherwise movably connected to a passenger vehicle and are operable by a vehicle passenger. The wind needed to lift the aircraft is provided by the movement of the passenger vehicle.

BACKGROUND-DESCRIPTION OF PRIOR INVENTION

Remote controlled model aircraft have been popular for more than 50 years. Modern remote controlled aircraft often utilize RF remote controls and include electric motors, electrically actuated control surfaces, RF receivers, RF transmitters, and cameras. Vehicular towed aircraft are known in the prior art such as giant kites towed by boats for carrying passengers over water, gliders are commonly towed by a passenger aircraft before being released to glide unassisted. The present invention relates to small model aircraft that are towed by a passenger vehicle and controlled or flown by a passenger for their amusement of flying. Aircraft described herein offer all of the attributes of modern remote controlled model aircraft except they are tethered or otherwise connected to a vehicle and the lift for the aircraft is provided by wind resulting from the vehicle's motion. Aircraft herein are fabricated to include non-abrasive surfaces so as not to damage or scratch their host vehicles. Children are very excited to operate such a toy to break up the boredom on long car trips.

BRIEF SUMMARY

The invention described herein represents a significant improvement in the entertainment of passengers in passenger vehicles. A model aircraft is provided which comprises attributes such as controlled surfaces for steering, non-abrasive surface to prevent scratching of a host passenger vehicle, a tether to a passenger vehicle, and a passenger operated remote control. Other attributes may comprise a propeller connected to an electrical generator for powering the system, lights, lasers, an RF receiver, a battery, camera, a tow line retracting system, a drive mechanism for engaging a rigid surface to drive the aircraft, a motor, and a display or sign.

Objects and Advantages

Accordingly, several objects and advantages of the present invention are apparent. It is an object of the present invention to provide an inexpensive durable source of amusement for vehicle passengers who are otherwise bored on long trips. It is an advantage that the aircraft construction is of soft material that is non-abrasive to vehicular surfaces with which it comes into contact. It is an advantage that the wind driven propeller can be used to turn an electric generator that can drive the electrical systems and which can also operate as a motor when desired. It is an advantage that the passenger operator utilizes a remote control to fly the aircraft, the remote control operates surfaces on the aircraft that cause the aircraft to fly as desired by the operator. It is an advantage that the aircraft is tethered to a passenger vehicle in a manner that does not pose a danger to other vehicles and ensures that the aircraft is not detachable from the vehicle. It is an advantage that the aircraft can take the form of a sign or display that can carry a message for other vehicle occupants to see. It is an advantage that the passenger operator can direct the contents of the aircraft based display.

Further objects and advantages will become apparent from the enclosed figures and specifications.

DRAWING FIGURES

FIG. 1 illustrates a vehicular towed aircraft.

FIG. 2 illustrates a more detailed view of a vehicular towed aircraft and a wireless remote control.

FIG. 3a illustrates changing wind attack angles of surfaces of a vehicular towed aircraft.

FIG. 3b illustrates the low abrasion exterior of a vehicular towed aircraft.

FIG. 4a illustrates alternate wind attack angle controlled surfaces.

FIG. 4b illustrates one alternate architecture for a vehicular towed aircraft.

FIG. 5 illustrates a hardwired remote control for a vehicular towed aircraft where the wired connection also serves as the tow line.

FIG. 6 illustrates a vehicular towed aircraft being flown inside a vehicle on wind from an open window.

FIG. 7 illustrates a vehicular towed aircraft operable on a rigid tow system.

FIG. 8 illustrates a wind powered system for reeling in a vehicular towed aircraft.

FIG. 9 illustrates a wind powered system for advancing a vehicular towed aircraft against the wind.

FIG. 10 illustrates a vehicular towed sign incorporating wind generated electrical power.

FIG. 11 illustrates the electrical systems of an operator control or a vehicular towed aircraft and the electrical systems of the vehicular towed aircraft.

NUMERALS IN FIGURES

  • 21 aircraft
  • 22 propeller rotation
  • 23 flexible tow line
  • 24 propeller power take off gear
  • 25 tow to vehicle connector
  • 26 engaging wheel drive gear
  • 27 passenger vehicle
  • 28 engaging wheel rotation
  • 29 passenger
  • 30 rail engaging drive wheel
  • 31 rotating connector
  • 32 looped rail
  • 33 propeller
  • 34 rail mount
  • 35 generator
  • 35a motor
  • 37 aircraft battery
  • 39 aircraft receiver
  • 41 remote control
  • 41a closed system remote control
  • 43 joystick
  • 43a joystick in user actuated state
  • 45 remote battery
  • 47 control signal
  • 49 remote antenna
  • 51 aircraft antenna
  • 53 running light
  • 55 laser gun
  • 57 control button
  • 59 aircraft camera
  • 61 wind angular attack controlled surface
  • 61a controlled surface with second actuated wind attack angle
  • 63 rotational range
  • 65 rotational axis
  • 67 wind
  • 69 soft low abrasion surface layer
  • 71 rigid substrate layer
  • 73 second wind attack angle controlled surface
  • 74 alternate aircraft architecture
  • 75 third wind attack angle controlled surface
  • 77 electrical wire tow line
  • 79 first electrical contact
  • 81 second electrical contact
  • 83 closed passenger vehicle window
  • 85 open passenger vehicle window
  • 87 rigid rail
  • 89 gear and axel drive
  • 91 reel
  • 93 reel rotation
  • 95 against wind aircraft motion
  • 97 aircraft wheel
  • 98 electrical display sign
  • 99 alternate mount to vehicle
  • 100 air craft to burden tow line
  • 101 remote RF receiver
  • 103 remote display
  • 105 aircraft RF transmitter
  • 107 ruder actuator
  • 109 right actuator
  • 111 left actuator
  • 201 rail guide
  • 203 aircraft guide
  • 205 drive wheel axel
  • 301 indicia
  • 303 LED illuminated indicia

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 illustrates a vehicular towed aircraft system. An aircraft 21 comprises a manufactured plastic model or toy that can take many shapes which possess the ability to be lifted by the wind generated when a passenger vehicle 27 traverses a distance. The aircraft can be one commonly available to consumers for remotely controlled flight and accordingly designed for flying as a normal non-tethered electric model aircraft and comprise the attributes common to such non-tethered model aircraft and the attributes described herein. Such model aircraft are commonly available to consumers and comprise many attributes useful herein such as being controlled by a radio frequency (RF) controller, being able to fly due to lift caused by wind generated by forward motion, having radio controlled angularly variable control surfaces, and cameras for example. As described in FIG. 2 if a common model aircraft is used herein, the electric motor can be converted to operate as an electric generator. As described in FIG. 3b, if a common model aircraft is to be used, the exterior surfaces of the aircraft are first coated with a soft non-abrasive material such that in operation according to the present invention, the model aircraft does not scratch or otherwise damage the host passenger vehicle. The passenger vehicle can be a wheeled vehicle such as an automobile or a non-wheeled vehicle such as a boat. A flexible tow line 23 comprises a strong fiber string that connects or tethers the aircraft 21 to the passenger vehicle 27 by being connected on one end to the aircraft and on the other end to a tow to vehicle connector 25 that is secured to the vehicle by being closed between the hood (a first vehicle part) and the body (a second vehicle part) of the passenger vehicle 27. The tow to vehicle connector being a rigid plastic piece coated with non-abrasive material so as not to scratch the host passenger vehicle. The flexible tow line being securely attached to the aircraft and the vehicle, prevents the aircraft from becoming disconnected from the passenger vehicle. A passenger 29 rides within or upon the passenger vehicle and operates the aircraft 21 utilizing a remote control as described under subsequent figures. The vehicle transports the passenger and while it moves, the aircraft tethered thereto, towed thereby, or otherwise movably affixed thereto (such as in FIG. 7) is lifted by the wind generated by the vehicle's movement. In response to the passenger's control, the aircraft can fly on wind outside of the vehicle such as is illustrated in FIG. 1 or within the vehicle on wind coming in through a window such as illustrated in FIG. 6. Using controlled surfaces such as are common in aircraft, the passenger can typically control movement of the aircraft in the wind in two or three dimensions such as side to side movement (or lateral movement on an X axis), up and down movement (or vertical movement on a Y axis) and forward and backward movement (on a Z axis). The passenger can also control other aircraft attributes such as the emission of electromagnetic energy from running lights, shooting lights (such as pseudo lasers), and display pixels to display messages or images such as sports team logos to occupants of other vehicles.

For the purposes of this application, aircraft operated by a vehicle's passenger can be vehicle towed, or vehicle tethered, or vehicle affixed and as such they share the attribute of being movable affixed to the passenger vehicle.

FIG. 2 illustrates a more detailed view of a vehicular towed aircraft and a wireless remote control. The aircraft 21 of FIG. 2 comprises a propeller 33 which, when the aircraft is tethered to and towed by the passenger vehicle in motion, is subjected to a wind 67 that exerts a force upon the propeller causing it to undergo a propeller rotation 22 which rotates a generator 35 such that the generator generates an electric current which can be stored in an aircraft battery 37 or otherwise be used to power electrical components and systems upon the aircraft such as are described in the aircraft systems box in FIG. 11. Additionally, power from the generator can power the operator control systems of FIG. 11 when there is an electrical connection between a remote control and the aircraft such as is illustrated in FIG. 5. The propeller is of rigid plastic manufacture and possesses shape attributes common to propellers for pulling an aircraft though the air or for capturing energy from wind for driving a wind powered generator. As described in FIG. 3b, the propeller also possesses the attribute of being coated with a soft non-abrasive material so as not to scratch the host passenger vehicle. The generator 35 can be one manufactured according to well know principles or one which is actually a model aircraft electric motor which can alternately operate as either a wind powered generator or as a motor according to the user's discretion. In the generator mode, air (wind) exerts force upon the propeller to generate electricity and in the motor mode, electricity turns the propeller to exert force upon the air. A remotely operable switch (not shown) can be added between the aircraft battery 37 and the generator 35 to reverse the polarity of the connections between the aircraft battery 37 and the generator 35 so as to reverse the rotational direction of the generator 35 when operated as a motor if desired. A rotating connector 31 is rotatably affixed to the front center of the propeller 33 and to the flexible tow line 23 to enable the propeller to rotate freely relative to the flexible tow line 23 such that the latter does not get overly twisted up by the propeller rotation while the flexible tow line is securely fastened to the propeller via the rotating connector. It should be noted that a battery on-board the aircraft is optional and not mandatory. Similarly, a propeller, generator, and motor are optional. The aircraft 21 and passenger operated remote control system have elements of manufacture that are virtually identical in fabrication and operation to those in common non-tethered model or toy aircraft for example an aircraft receiver 39 receives control instructions from a remote control 41 which comprises a joystick 43, a remote battery 45, and which cooperate to generate a control signal 47 which is transmitted via a remote antenna 49 and received by an aircraft antenna 51. The remote control comprising a user interface for capturing control instructions from the passenger operator and a transmitter for sending control instructions to an aircraft via wireless transmitted signals or alternately as in FIG. 5 via hard wired transmitted signals. The aircraft 21 and remote control 41 and composite system can have additional elements of manufacture that are virtually identical in fabrication and operation to those in common non-tethered model or toy aircraft for example a running light 53, a laser gun 55, a control button 57, and an aircraft camera 59 can be purchased for or with model or toy aircraft and are also suitable for identical incorporation with the passenger vehicle tethered or towed aircraft described herein and operated by a vehicle's passenger for entertainment. The running light 53 is an example of a light emitter that enhances the aircraft's appearance both during day time and night time operation and it can be turned on and off by a passenger operator's manipulation of a button on the remote control 41 such as the control button 57. The laser gun 57 is an example of a light emitter that enhances the entertainment provided by the aircraft since it can be fired at a target (not shown) which comprises a sensor to sense when energy emitted by the laser gun is incident thereon thus making a marksmanship a game that can be integrated into the operation of the passenger vehicle towed aircraft. The laser gun may be any emitter of energy and need not be an actual laser and it can be turned on and off by a passenger operator's manipulation of a button on the remote control 41 such as the control button 57.

FIG. 3a illustrates changing wind attack angles of surfaces of a vehicular towed aircraft. As is common in non-tethered model or toy aircraft, the tethered or towed aircraft 21 described herein has user controlled surfaces that interact with wind to achieved desired effects such as steering in two or three dimensions. A classic example of an aircraft steering technique includes the rotation of a wind angular attack controlled surface 61 (such as a wing or a portion of a wing or a rudder). In response to a passenger's or operator's positioning of the joystick in a first non-actuated state of the joystick 43 in a first position, the wind angular attack controlled surface 61 will possess a first angle of attack relative to the wind 67. In response to a passenger's or operator's positioning of the joystick in user actuated state 43a in second position, a controlled surface with second actuated wind attack angle 61a will possess a second angle of attack relative to the wind 67. Thus using the remote control 41, the passenger controls at least one wind angular attack controlled surface which the passenger uses to steer the aircraft in two dimensions or in three dimensions the wind angular attack controlled surface having a rotational axis 65 including a rotational range 63. Other ways of interacting with the wind for steering in two dimensions or in three dimensions are known in the prior art and are anticipated herein. Another type of controlled surface anticipated herein is a retractable substrate such as a wing surface which can vary lift when it is protracted or retracted in response to user commands and thereby steer in at least one dimension. Alternately, the retractable substrate controlled surface can create more or less drag when in the protracted or retracted position in response to user commands and thereby steer the aircraft in at least one dimension.

FIG. 3b illustrates the low abrasion exterior of a passenger vehicular towed aircraft. In the prior art, non-tethered toy aircraft for indoor flying have comprised surfaces such as a foam or “Nerf” material comprising molded or extruded rubber or plastic such that they will not cause excessive damage when they crash into indoor articles. Due to the calm indoor air, very low density materials can be used in indoor aircraft of the prior art. Also to minimize the risk of knocking delicate things over in doors, very light aircraft are preferable. By contrast a passenger vehicle tethered aircraft can have a higher density because there is little risk of knocking things down and it is subject to winds sometimes greater than seventy miles per hour. Thus, in one embodiment, an aircraft having higher overall density than those manufactured for indoor use is desired. A passenger vehicle towed or tethered aircraft may be subjected to winds of over seventy miles per hour and doesn't generally risk knocking things over. Thus in fabrication, the aircraft and components thereon such as the wings may comprise two layers including a dense interior substrate such as plastic forming a first rigid substrate layer 71 and a less dense foam, “Nerf” or crushes velvet like second soft low abrasion surface layer 69. The soft low abrasion surface layer being the one that comes into contact with the passenger vehicle without scratching it and the rigid substrate layer being the one that provides the rigidity for the aircraft to be operable in a range of wind conditions including winds over seventy miles per hour. Of course it is also possible to construct the aircraft from one layer which is soft and non-abrasive to the passenger vehicle. In any case, the exterior surface of the aircraft of the present invention and components thereon are covered with a soft non-abrasive material so as not to scratch the surface of the passenger vehicle. Rigid as used herein may comprise some ability to flex under strain without breaking.

FIG. 4a illustrates alternate wind attack angle controlled surfaces. The aircraft 21 can comprise a wide variety of variable control surfaces such as a more traditional surface built into the aircraft wing like a second wind attack angle controlled surface 73. Similarly, the aircraft 21 can comprise a more traditional surface built into the aircraft tail to act as a rudder like a second wind attack angle controlled surface 73.

FIG. 4b illustrates one alternate architecture for a vehicular towed aircraft. The flexible tow line 23 and other elements herein can be used with many aircraft structures other than winged aircraft; one example is an alternate aircraft architecture 74 that resembles a kite. Alternate embodiments share many of the attributes herein including being lifted by the wind created by a moving passenger vehicle. The propeller 33 and generator 35 can be integrated in the aircraft to drive an electric illuminated sign such as an electrical display sign 98. The electric sign can comprise an LED array with individual diodes secured thereon to form an indicia 301 such as predetermined word or image such as the NC State “Wolf Pack” logo of a sports team. Alternately the electric sign can comprise an electric display such as an OLED array that is user programmable such that via buttons on the remote control the user can select what message or image appears on the display. In any case, the electric display sign comprises at least one electric powered illumination emitter which can be powered by either a battery, by solar, or by a wind driven generator where the wind is provided by the motion of a passenger vehicle. In the manufacturing process words and images can also be printed upon the aircraft for public display of such things as team logos and product advertising for example whereby passengers in other vehicles can see the message printed upon the aircraft and the logos, alphanumeric characters or images do not require electricity but are simply printed upon the aircraft.

FIG. 5 illustrates a hardwired remote control for a vehicular towed aircraft where the wired connection also serves as the tow line. The aircraft 21 can be in hardwired electrical communication with the operating passenger's remote control. In this embodiment a closed system remote control 41a is hard wired to the aircraft 21 by a electrical wire tow line 77 that functions to tow or tether the aircraft, provides a conduit for electrical communication signals to be passed from the control to the aircraft, provides a conduit for electrical communication signals to be passed from the aircraft to the control, provides a conduit for electricity power to pass from a battery in the control to the aircraft, and provides a conduit for electricity power to pass from a generator in the aircraft to the control wherein the wind 67 is converted to propeller rotation 22 which generates electricity as described herein to the aircraft and the remote control in which case neither the former nor the latter require batteries. Thus in these latter two functionalities, the aircraft generator can replace the need for batteries in the aircraft and in the control, alternately the battery in the control can be used to power the aircraft. In ether case electrical systems such as controlled surfaces for steering, the running light 53 and the other emitters of electromagnetic energy can be powered by either the battery in the control or a wind powered generator on the aircraft (or elsewhere) or a battery in the aircraft. The electrical wire tow line 77 comprises a first electrical contact 79 with the aircraft electrical system and second electrical contact 81 with the aircraft electrical system and these contacts are rotatably connected to the aircraft to enable the propeller to rotate while not twisting the electrical tow line 77 excessively.

FIG. 6 illustrates a vehicular towed aircraft being flown inside a vehicle on wind from an open window. The aircraft 21 is tethered by the electrical wire tow line 77 which in turn is fastened to the tow to vehicle connector 25 which as been closed between a closed passenger vehicle window 83 (a first vehicle part) and the passenger vehicle body (a second vehicle part) to provide a secure connection for the tow vehicle connecter and consequently the aircraft. As is common with passenger vehicles, an open passenger vehicle window 85 enables wind generated by the motion of the passenger vehicle to blow right into the passenger vehicle. Thus the aircraft 21 can be flown inside the passenger vehicle lifted by and flying upon the wind coming from the open passenger vehicle window.

FIG. 7 illustrates a vehicular towed aircraft operable on a rigid tow system. The previous discussion has focused upon a tether type towing system where the tow line comprises a flexible electric wire or a flexible string. As illustrated in FIG. 7 and FIG. 9 the aircraft can be movably connected to the passenger vehicle by a rigid structure where the aircraft can controllably fly in two or three dimensions according to a passenger's commands. The aircraft 21 is loosely pierced by a rigid rail 87 such that the rail passes through the aircraft such that the aircraft can freely slide in a first direction such as up the rail and a second direction such as down the rail. The rail is securely fastened to the closed passenger vehicle window 83 by a tow to vehicle connector 25 which comprises a suction cup that creates a strong vacuum on the closed passenger vehicle window. In operation, the user controls controlled surfaces of the aircraft 21 to fly the aircraft 21 upon the rigid rail 87 such as the second wind attack angle controlled surface 73. The rigid rail 87 is fabricated from bent metal or molded plastic.

FIG. 8 illustrates a wind powered system for reeling in a vehicular towed aircraft. One way that the aircraft can move in the third dimension (forward and backward along the Z axis) is by utilizing a tow line retraction and protraction system. The aircraft 21 is tethered and towed by the flexible tow line 23 which is affixed to a reel 91 which is rotatably affixed to an alternate mount to vehicle 99 which is affixed to the passenger vehicle by being partially closed between a first passenger vehicle part and a second passenger vehicle part as previously discussed. The reel 91 is similar to a fishing reel in that it can be cranked to retract or protract a flexible string. The reel 91 is different from a fishing reel in operation in that it can be caused to rotate using an electric motor (not shown) or using wind power as is illustrated in FIG. 8. The wind 67 generated by the movement of the velocity of the passenger vehicle is incident upon the propeller 33 to create rotational energy in the form of the propeller rotation 22 which is be transferred to the reel at the passenger's discretion through a gear and axel drive 89 system that can be selectively engaged or disengaged electronically by an electric actuator (not shown) which is controlled by the passenger remotely. When engaged, the rotational energy is transferred from the propeller to the reel and the flexible tow line 23 is retracted causing the aircraft 21 to experience against wind aircraft motion 95 (movement in a first direction along the Z axis). When the retraction system is disengaged, the flexible tow line is neither retracted nor protracted but remains locked as is by a user actuatable lock structure (not shown). The reel can be released from the lock engagement to rotate freely so line can be protracted by the force of the wind pulling upon the aircraft 21 (movement in a second direction along the Z axis. The aircraft 21 has wheels mounted thereon such as an aircraft wheel 97. The aircraft's wheels enable it to roll upon the surface of the passenger vehicle and to enable the passenger operator to land the aircraft 21 in a controlled manner.

FIG. 9 illustrates a wind powered system for advancing a vehicular towed aircraft against the wind and a rigid towing rail system to enable the aircraft to be flown through a loop. A rigid aircraft towing system can also be configured to enable the passenger to fly the aircraft in three dimensions as described in FIG. 9. The aircraft 21 is movably connected to a looped rail 32 which is encompassed on one side by a rail engaging drive wheel 30 and on another side by an aircraft guide 203. Together the rail engaging drive wheel 30 and the aircraft guide 203 keep the aircraft 21 from flying off the rail while also providing a loose fit on the looped rail 32 such that the rail engaging drive wheel 30 is only forced to engage the looped rail 32 when the aircraft is on as specific section of the looped rail 32. In operation on roughly half of the looped rail, a rail guide 201 contacts a drive wheel axel 205 such that the rail engaging drive wheel 30 is caused to engage the drive rail to propel the vehicle forward against the wind in the against wind aircraft motion 95 as follows. The aircraft propeller 33 is forced to undergo the propeller rotation 22 by the wind 67 which is caused by the movement of the passenger vehicle. Rotational energy is transferred from the propeller rotation 22 through a propeller power take off gear 24 to an engaging wheel drive gear 26 to become an engaging wheel rotation 28 which propels the aircraft through its contact with the looped rail as discussed. Thus wind energy is used to drive wheels to propel the aircraft against the wind at certain times and the wind energy causes the aircraft to fly on air at other times. In operation on roughly the other half of the loop no rail guide is present and the aircraft moves about more freely on the looped rail 32 such that the vehicle passenger can fly the aircraft around that portion of the looped rail without the rail engaging drive wheel 30 engaging the looped rail. The looped rail is fastened to the passenger vehicle using at least one rail mount 34.

FIG. 10 illustrates a vehicular towed sign incorporating wind generated electrical power. FIG. 10 and FIG. 4b can use the wind driven generator to power an electric illumination sign comprising the indicia 301 such as alphanumeric characters, logos, and images such as an LED illuminated indicia 303. Alternately the illumination sign comprising indicia can be powered using a battery on the aircraft or a battery in the remote control. The aircraft 21 is tethered and towed by the flexible tow line 23 and the propeller 33 provides wind driven power to the generator to power the electrical display sign 98 through current carried over an air craft to burden tow line 100. Other elements of FIG. 10 can comprise attributes similar to those of FIG. 4b.

FIG. 11 illustrates the electrical systems of an operator remote control and the electrical systems of the vehicular towed aircraft. As discussed throughout this document, the aircraft 21 can comprise a variety of systems to achieve desired effects. Electrical energy to power aircraft systems can be derived from the aircraft battery 37, from the remote battery 45 (the remote battery may comprise the battery or electrical power system of the passenger vehicle accessed through a cigarette lighter socket), or from the generator 35. Electrical systems on the aircraft can include the aircraft antenna 51 integrated with the aircraft receiver 39 to receive control signals from the passenger operated remote control. The passenger can control the operation of the running light 53, the laser gun 55, the electrical display sign 98 each of which comprise electrical powered emitters of electromagnetic radiation. The passenger can steer the aircraft by controlling the operation of a right actuator 109 to control the wind angular attack controlled surface 61, and a left actuator 111 to control the second wind attack angle controlled surface 73, and a ruder actuator 107 to control the third wind attack angle controlled surface 75. The passenger can also receive images captured by the aircraft camera 59 which are transmitted by an aircraft RF transmitter 105 and displayed for the passenger on a remote display 103. The generator 35 can also function as an aircraft motor 35a. Mechanical systems can also reside on the aircraft including wind driven systems such as the rail engaging drive wheel. As discussed throughout this document, the remote control 41 can comprise a variety of systems to achieve desired effects. Electrical energy to power the remote control 41 can be derived from the aircraft battery 37, from the remote battery 45, or from the generator 35. The passenger operates user interfacing elements to remotely control systems upon the aircraft including the control button 57, the joystick 43 each of which result in the control signal 47 which is sent via a hardwired connection or the remote antenna 49 with integrated transmitter common in non-tethered remotely controlled radio aircraft. The remote control 41 may also comprise a remote RF receiver 101 to receive signals from the aircraft such as images captured by the camera 59. The remote can also comprise a remote display 103 for displaying the aircraft's position or images captured by the camera 59.

Operation of the Invention

Operation of the invention has been discussed under the above heading and is not repeated here to avoid redundancy.

Conclusion, Ramifications, and Scope

Thus the reader will see that the Vehicular towed aircraft toy for passenger operation of this invention provides an inexpensive, novel, unanticipated, highly functional and reliable means for entertaining vehicle passengers and for displaying messages to others.

While the above description describes many specifications, these should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but rather as an exemplification of a preferred embodiment thereof Many other variations are possible for example:

Remotely controlled aircraft can come in many shapes and sizes that are suitable for modification and operation herein. Airplanes, jets, helicopters, gliders, blimps, kites, and balloons, for example can all use elements described herein to be flown by vehicle passengers and used to display words and images.

Remotely controlled vehicles that do not fly in the air are anticipated herein such as a toy wheeled vehicle using wind driven power to locomote on a rigid track or on the surface of the passenger vehicle.

Elements described in any Figure herein can be incorporated with elements in any other Figure herein.