Title:
Deep/rough water submerged buoyancy pylon
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A high floating rescue pylon with a passenger compartment at the top and a long narrow portion of the pylon above water with a submerged buoyancy compartment located on the pylon a distance above a ballast chamber at the lower end of the pylon. The unsubmerged portion of the pylon is designed to be high enough to clear the tallest wave crest. The buoyancy compartment is designed to be below water at all times and high enough above the ballast chamber that a pylon righting moment is created by a couple between the center of buoyancy of that chamber and the center of gravity of the ballast chamber. This righting moment is made great enough to create a stable passenger compartment high above the highest waves.

The pylon is launched from a rescue vessel or a helicopter to float horizontally, buoyed at one end by a buoyant passenger compartment and at the other end by the about to be submerged variable buoyancy compartment. A heavy ballast shaft slides out the bottom end of the pylon. The heavy ballast shaft pivots one end of the horizontal pylon downward erecting the remaining pylon with passenger compartment uppermost. The now submerged buoyancy compartment enlarges, inflating to lift the now vertical pylon to its design waterline.




Inventors:
Powers, James M. (Ormond Beach, FL, US)
Application Number:
09/912287
Publication Date:
02/07/2002
Filing Date:
07/24/2001
Assignee:
POWERS JAMES M.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
441/6, 114/264
International Classes:
B63B1/04; B63B27/30; B63C9/06; (IPC1-7): B63C9/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SWINEHART, EDWIN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
James M. Powers (Ormond Beach, FL, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. An apparatus for providing stable support in a body of water, the apparatus comprising: an elongated pylon; a support at a first end of the pylon; a variable buoyancy flotation device at a second end of the pylon; ballast carried by the pylon and movable from a first position between the ends of the pylon to a second position extended beyond the second end of the pylon; means for effecting movement of the ballast from the first position to the second position to thereby establish an upright orientation of the pylon in a body of water with the support disposed above the surface of the water and the ballast disposed below the surface of the water; and means for varying the buoyancy of the flotation device so as to maintain a desired submersion depth of the flotation device in the body of water.

2. An apparatus for rescuing persons from a body of water, the apparatus comprising: an elongated pylon; a compartment at a first end of the pylon for accommodating persons rescued from the body of water; a variable buoyancy flotation device at a second end of the pylon; ballast carried by the pylon and movable from a first position between the ends of the pylon to a second position extended beyond the second end of the pylon; means for effecting movement of the ballast from the first position to the second position to thereby establish an upright orientation of the pylon in a body of water with the compartment disposed above the surface of the water and the ballast disposed below the surface of the water; and means for varying the buoyancy of the flotation device so as to maintain a desired submersion depth of the flotation device in the body of water.

Description:

BACKGROUND—FIELD OF INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to sea rescue apparatus, specifically to apparatus that can pick up and carry passengers stably in the roughest seas.

BACKGROUND—DESCRIPTION OF PRIOR ART

[0002] Provisional Patent Application No. 60/220,833 filed Jul. 26, 2000 by this inventor is incorporated here to establish a priority date for this invention. The inventor is not aware of prior art related to the present invention, a submerged buoyant rescue vessel, has been found. (U.S. Pat. No. 4,527,503 Connelly)

[0003] Rescue at sea has always been plagued by storm driven seas and high winds. Smooth waters provide opportunity for easy rescue by boat or helicopter. But stormy conditions risk the best equipment and the most skilled and heroic personnel.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] A high floating rescue pylon with a passenger compartment at the top and a long narrow portion of the pylon above water with a submerged buoyancy compartment located on the pylon a distance above a ballast chamber at the lower end of the pylon. The unsubmerged portion of the pylon is designed to be high enough to clear the tallest wave crest. The buoyancy compartment is designed to be below water at all times and high enough above the ballast chamber that a pylon righting moment is created by a couple between the center of buoyancy of that chamber and the center of gravity of the ballast chamber. This righting moment is made great enough to create a stable passenger compartment high above the highest waves.

[0005] The narrow pylon shaft is designed to provide little buoyancy and thereby the rise and fall of waves creates little rise and fall of the craft. An air compressor or compressed gas supply varying the buoyancy of the submerged buoyancy compartment to match varied passenger loads must maintain the waterline on the pylon just above the buoyancy compartment.

[0006] The pylon is launched from a rescue vessel or a helicopter to float horizontally, buoyed at on end by a buoyant passenger compartment and at the other end by the about to be submerged variable buoyancy compartment. The swimming survivors swim to the pylon, pull hand over hand to the passenger compartment, climb into the passenger compartment and trigger the erection sequence. This action initiates several steps. A heavy ballast shaft, nested temporarily in the hollow pylon tube between said buoyant compartments so that the pylon floats horizontally, slides under gas pressure, telescoping part way out the bottom end of the pylon. The heavy ballast shaft pivots one end of the horizontal pylon downward erecting the remaining pylon with passenger compartment uppermost. The now submerged buoyancy compartment enlarges, inflating to lift the now vertical pylon to its design waterline. The inflation of the submerged buoyancy compartment is modified by an air compressor that maintains the waterline just above the said compartment. Telemetry with the rescue vessel or helicopter is initiated announcing successful pylon erection and opportunity for rescue of the survivors.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

[0007] Accordingly, several objects and advantages of my invention are:

[0008] Pylon can be dropped to water rescue subjects as is a life raft, however, pylon supports passengers high above even very high seas;

[0009] Pylon shortens telescopically to a length transportable by rescue plane or boat;

[0010] Stable elevated passenger compartment allows easy helicopter removal of passengers;

[0011] Metalic roof and grounded pylon protect passengers against storm lightning;

[0012] Height of pylon allows a high visibility platform for a rescue beacon;

[0013] Pylon provides rescue from dangerous seas or a stable safe ride throughout the most severe storm;

[0014] Pylon can be adapted to carry a fuel line from a towing vessel to provide helicopters stable mid-air refueling at sea during storms.

[0015] Still further objects and advantages will become apparent from a consideration of the ensuing description and accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0016] FIG. 1 Horizontal rescue pylon floating as launched by plane or boat.

[0017] FIG. 2 Erected pylon with ballast shaft extended to provide an erecting and stabilizing keel.

DRAWING REFERENCE NUMERALS

[0018] 1 Passenger Compartment

[0019] 2 Horizontal flotation

[0020] 3 Pylon containing nested ballast shaft

[0021] 4 Pylon

[0022] 5 Low waterline

[0023] 6 Submerged buoyancy (varies according to passenger load and chosen waterline elevation)

[0024] 7 Ballast shaft deployed as keel

[0025] 8 Floating rope

[0026] 9 Air compressor

PREFERRED EMBODIMENT DESCRIPTION

[0027] A rescue vessel designed to float a passenger compartment (1) higher than cresting waves and presenting only a narrow tubular structure to wave action. The narrow structure called here the pylon (4) offers very little buoyancy and consequently little rise and fall due to wave action. The pylon must have at a minimum structural strength to act as a beam between submerged buoyancy (6) and passenger compartments when lifting pylon and passengers in said passenger compartment to vertical.

[0028] The horizontal flotation (2) provided by the passenger and submerged buoyancy compartments must be sufficient to keep the floating rope (8) awash so rescuees can use it to pull themselves to the passenger compartment.

[0029] The passenger compartment can take the form of a life raft, a “crow's nest” or any self-draining enclosure strong enough to erect containing the designed passenger load. The rescuees climb into the passenger compartment then turn a valve one position for each passenger. Turning the valve action initiates an erection sequence that first pressurizes the pylon containing the nested ballast shaft (3) with gas or spring that telescopes the ballast shaft down and away from the passenger compartment deploying it as a keel (7) that erects and stabilizes the pylon and passengers. Next, gas passes into the submerged buoyancy compartment adding approximate buoyancy to support the mass of all passengers high above the waves. Next a battery powered air compressor (9) adjusts the variable submerged buoyancy to stabilize the pylon with a low waterline (5) just above the submerged buoyancy compartment.

[0030] An air sensor at the chosen waterline on the pylon turns off the air compressor when the pylon rises to that level.

OTHER EMBODIMENTS

[0031] Stable buoy for helicopter to ship refueling.

[0032] Search Buoy.

[0033] Oceanography instrumentation buoy.

[0034] Stable, self erecting passenger vessel with movable stabilizing ballast.