Title:
MODEL AIRCRAFT FLIGHT SIMULATION APPARATUS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A model aircraft flight simulation apparatus for simulating the flying of model aircraft in a controlled environment. The model aircraft flight simulation apparatus includes a sectioned housing having an elongate chamber with open ends, and an enclosure with an interior. Fan members create airflow through the chamber, while tethering assemblies extend and retract tether lines along a length of the chamber. A control member controls the fan members and the tethering assemblies. Remote-controlled model aircraft for flying in the chamber are coupled to the tether lines, and includes a flight control system. Handheld transmitters control the control member and the aircraft flight control systems. The aircraft are biased into a flight mode by the fan members and are controlled by each of the transmitter members. The user can vary air velocity within the chamber and the proximity of the aircraft to the fan members to alter flight conditions, along with the flight characteristics of the aircraft.



Inventors:
Paterson, Eric M. (San Diego, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/142481
Publication Date:
11/13/2003
Filing Date:
05/10/2002
Assignee:
PATERSON ERIC M.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H27/00; (IPC1-7): A63H27/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060105668Apparatus for producing simulated V-twin motorcycle sound in bicyclesMay, 2006Maraccini et al.
20100093251Systems and Methods for 2-D and 3-D Soft Products Having Heartbeat Sound EmissionApril, 2010Viniotis
20090061729Play structure, kit, and methodMarch, 2009Boerman et al.
20060217028Toy lawn mowerSeptember, 2006Duncan
20060282338Method of providing a soft toyDecember, 2006Cope
20060211330Combined toy/bottlecap systemSeptember, 2006Cahill et al.
20060199469Launching device and disposable cartridge containing confetti, paper discs or fluidSeptember, 2006Du
20070249257Heated game callOctober, 2007Marsh
20080166945LIFELIKE COVERING AND LIFELIKE ELECTRONIC APPARATUS WITH THE COVERINGJuly, 2008Cheng et al.
20030228828Dip-pop noveltyDecember, 2003Coleman et al.
20100062680TOUCH SENSITIVE TOY SYSTEMMarch, 2010Giraldez et al.



Primary Examiner:
ABDELWAHED, ALI F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Attn: Ivar M. Kaardal (Sioux Falls, SD, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A model aircraft flight simulation apparatus for flying model aircraft in a controlled environment for the purpose of pleasure, flight training, and conducting a variety of airflow tests, said simulation apparatus comprising: a housing having a first section and a second section, said first section comprising an elongate chamber having open ends, said second section comprising an enclosure having an interior; a pair of fan members for creating airflow through said first section of said housing; a pair of tethering assemblies for selectively extending and retracting tether lines along a length of said first section of said housing; a control member for controlling said fan members and said tethering assemblies; a pair of remote-controlled model aircraft for flying in said first section of said housing, each of said aircraft including a flight control system for controlling standard flight characteristics of said aircraft while in flight; a pair of handheld transmitter members for controlling said control member and said flight control systems of said aircraft; a plurality of receiver members for receiving remote control signals from said transmitter members, said plurality of receiver members including a pair of aircraft receivers and a pair of enclosure receivers, wherein said remote control signals are modulated radio waves; and wherein each of said model aircraft are biased into a flight mode upon receiving sufficient airflow caused by said fan members and are controlled by each of said transmitter members while movement of joysticks on said transmitters permits a user to vary air velocity within said first section and a proximity of said aircraft to said fan members to alter flight conditions, and the flight characteristics of said aircraft.

2. The model aircraft flight simulation apparatus as set forth in claim 1, further comprising a second end of said first section being mounted on said second section, said first section comprising a substantially transparent material.

3. The model aircraft flight simulation apparatus as set forth in claim 1, further comprising said enclosure having a first wall being oriented substantially perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of said first section of said housing.

4. The model aircraft flight simulation apparatus as set forth in claim 1, further comprising a top wall of said enclosure having a plurality of vents for permitting exterior air to enter said enclosure.

5. The model aircraft flight simulation apparatus as set forth in claim 1, further comprising said chamber having a partition wall extending between said open ends and being oriented substantially parallel to side walls of said first section such that said chamber is divided into two sides having substantially equal dimensions.

6. The model aircraft flight simulation apparatus as set forth in claim 3, further comprising each of said fan members being located in said interior of said enclosure and including a fan blade member being positioned adjacent to a fan aperture in said first wall of said enclosure.

7. The model aircraft flight simulation apparatus as set forth in claim 5, wherein a wind tunnel affect is created within each of said sides of said chamber from said second end out through a first end of said chamber when a respective one of said fan members is operating, each of said fan members being electrically coupled to said control member.

8. The model aircraft flight simulation apparatus as set forth in claim 1, further comprising each of said tether assemblies being positioned in said interior of said enclosure and comprising a motor-driven spool member having one of said tether lines wrapped thereabout, each of said tether assemblies being electrically coupled to said control member.

9. The model aircraft flight simulation apparatus as set forth in claim 8, further comprising each of said tether lines extending away from said spool members through a pair of tether guide holes and through said chamber and being attached to a nose of each of said aircraft.

10. The model aircraft flight simulation apparatus as set forth in claim 9, further comprising each of said guide holes being located in said a wall of said enclosure and being positioned above a respective one of said fan members.

11. The model aircraft flight simulation apparatus as set forth in claim 1, further comprising each of said spool members being positioned generally above a respective fan member such that said tether lines remain clear of said fan members.

12. The model aircraft flight simulation apparatus as set forth in claim 8, wherein a length of each of said tether lines varies upon bi-directional rotation of said spool members as said tether lines are subsequently wound and unwound about said spool members causing said aircraft to move along the length of said chamber.

13. The model aircraft flight simulation apparatus as set forth in claim 1, further comprising said control member and each of said enclosure receivers being positioned in said interior of said enclosure, said control member being electrically coupled to said enclosure receiver, said control member being electrically couplable to a power supply.

14. The model aircraft flight simulation apparatus as set forth in claim 1, further comprising said enclosure receiver being responsive to said remote control signals from a respective transmitter member causing corresponding activation of said fan members and said tethering assemblies.

15. The model aircraft flight simulation apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein each of said flight control systems of said aircraft comprising one of said aircraft receivers, a pair of servos for controlling movement of ailerons of said aircraft, and a battery for powering said aircraft receiver and each of said servos, each of said flight control systems of said aircraft being integrally mounted in said aircraft.

16. The model aircraft flight simulation apparatus as set forth in claim 15, further comprising said aircraft receiver being responsive to said remote control signals from a respective transmitter member causing corresponding activation of said servos, each of said servos of said flight control systems being electrically coupled to said battery and said aircraft receiver.

17. The model aircraft flight simulation apparatus as set forth in claim 15, wherein activation of a first of said servos positions said ailerons of said aircraft in a manner causing said aircraft to roll, and activation of a second of said servos positions said ailerons in a manner causing said aircraft to pitch.

18. A model aircraft flight simulation apparatus for flying model aircraft adjacent to a front end of a vehicle while the vehicle is in motion, said apparatus comprising: a tethering assembly for selectively extending and retracting a tether line, said tethering assembly being selectively mountable to the front of the vehicle and extending above a hood of the vehicle, said tethering assembly comprising a motor-driven spool member having said tether line wrapped thereabout, said tethering assembly being electrically coupled to a battery of the vehicle; a remote-controlled model aircraft for flying above the hood of the vehicle while the vehicle is moving, said aircraft being attached to an outward end of said tether line, said aircraft including a flight control system for controlling standard flight characteristics of said aircraft while in flight; a handheld transmitter member for controlling said tethering assembly and said flight control system of said aircraft; wherein a length said tether line varies upon bi-directional rotation of said spool member as said tether line is wound and unwound about said spool member causing said model aircraft to move to and from the front of the vehicle; and wherein said model aircraft is biased into a flight mode upon receiving sufficient airflow caused by movement of the vehicle and is controlled by said transmitter member while movement of joysticks on said transmitter permits a user to vary a proximity of said aircraft with respect to the front of the vehicle.

19. A model aircraft flight simulation apparatus for flying model aircraft in a controlled environment for the purpose of pleasure, flight training, and conducting a variety of airflow tests, said simulation apparatus comprising: a housing having a first section and a second section, said first section comprising an elongate chamber having open ends, said second section comprising an enclosure having an interior; a pair of fan members for creating airflow through said first section of said housing; a pair of tethering assemblies for selectively extending and retracting tether lines along a length of said first section of said housing; a control member for controlling said fan members and said tethering assemblies; a pair of remote-controlled model aircraft for flying in said first section of said housing, each of said aircraft including a flight control system for controlling standard flight characteristics of said aircraft while in flight; a pair of handheld transmitter members for controlling said control member and said flight control systems of said aircraft; a plurality of receiver members for receiving remote control signals from said transmitter members, said plurality of receiver members including a pair of aircraft receivers and a pair of enclosure receivers, wherein said remote control signals are modulated radio waves; wherein each of said model aircraft are biased into a flight mode upon receiving sufficient airflow caused by said fan members and are controlled by each of said transmitter members while movement of joysticks on said transmitters permits a user to vary air velocity within said first section and a proximity of said aircraft to said fan members to alter flight conditions, and the flight characteristics of said aircraft; a second end of said first section being mounted on said second section, said first section comprising a substantially transparent material; said enclosure having a first wall being oriented substantially perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of said first section of said housing; a top wall of said enclosure having a plurality of vents for permitting exterior air to enter said enclosure; said chamber having a partition wall extending between said open ends and being oriented substantially parallel to side walls of said first section such that said chamber is divided into two sides having substantially equal dimensions; each of said fan members being located in said interior of said enclosure and including a fan blade member being positioned adjacent to a fan aperture in said first wall of said enclosure; wherein a wind tunnel affect is created within each of said sides of said chamber from said second end out through a first end of said chamber when a respective one of said fan members is operating, each of said fan members being electrically coupled to said control member; each of said tether assemblies being positioned in said interior of said enclosure and comprising a motor-driven spool member having one of said tether lines wrapped thereabout, each of said tether assemblies being electrically coupled to said control member; each of said tether lines extending away from said spool members through a pair of tether guide holes and through said chamber and being attached to a nose of each of said aircraft; each of said guide holes being located in said first wall of said enclosure and being positioned above a respective one of said fan apertures; each of said spool members being positioned generally above a respective fan member such that said tether lines remain clear of said fan members; wherein a length of each of said tether lines varies upon bi-directional rotation of said spool members as said tether lines are subsequently wound and unwound about said spool members causing said aircraft to move along the length of said chamber; said control member and each of said enclosure receivers being positioned in said interior of said enclosure, said control member being electrically coupled to said enclosure receiver, said control member being electrically couplable to a power supply; said enclosure receiver being responsive to said remote control signals from a respective transmitter member causing corresponding activation of said fan members and said tethering assemblies; wherein each of said flight control systems of said aircraft comprising one of said aircraft receivers, a pair of servos for controlling movement of ailerons of said aircraft, and a battery for powering said aircraft receiver and each of said servos, each of said flight control systems of said aircraft being integrally mounted in said aircraft; said aircraft receiver being responsive to said remote control signals from a respective transmitter member causing corresponding activation of said servos, each of said servos of said flight control systems being electrically coupled to said battery and said aircraft receiver; and wherein activation of a first of said servos positions said ailerons of said aircraft in a manner causing said aircraft to roll, and activation of a second of said servos positions said ailerons in a manner causing said aircraft to pitch.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to model flight simulators and more particularly pertains to a new model aircraft flight simulation apparatus for simulating the flying of model aircraft in a controlled environment.

[0003] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0004] The use of model flight simulators is known in the prior art. U.S. Pat. No. 5,571,038 which discloses a model airplane flight simulator which anables a model airplane to be maneuvered by a remote control device through pitch, yaw, and roll withou movement of ground. Another type of model flight simulator is U.S. Pat. No. 3,858,347 describes a model airplane provided with controls for opreration of its steering means such as elevatord, aileerons, and rudder sfrom a plce outside of the airplane. It is suppofted or suspended in an air current generated by, for example, a vacuum cleaner.

[0005] While these devices fulfill their respective, particular objectives and requirements, the need remains for an apparatus that gives the user a true feel of flying the aircraft in a controlled environment.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention meets the needs presented above by the utilization of a model wind tunnel in which aircraft are tethered, and along with the flight control funcitons of the aircraft, the wind velocity and linear movement along the length of the chamber are all controlled by a typical handheld remote control transmitter used for flying actual remote controlled airplaned and the like.

[0007] Still yet another object of the present invention is to provide a new model aircraft flight simulation apparatus that provides a way to enjoy the feel of flying a model aircraft at any time indoors, by one or more users simultaneously for the feel of racing and maneuvering competition.

[0008] Even still another object of the present invention is to provide a new model aircraft flight simulation apparatus that can be utilized by designers to test basic flight functionality of new aircraft designs in a controlled environment at a fraction of the cost of full-scale systems.

[0009] To this end, the present invention generally comprises a sectioned housing having an elongate chamber with open ends, and an enclosure with an interior. Fan members create airflow through the chamber, while tethering assemblies extend and retract tether lines along a length of the chamber. A control member controls the fan members and the tethering assemblies. Remote-controlled model aircraft for flying in the chamber are coupled to the tether lines, and includes a flight control system. Handheld transmitters control the control member and the aircraft flight control systems. The aircraft are biased into a flight mode by the fan members and are controlled by each of the transmitter members. The user can vary air velocity within the chamber and the proximity of the aircraft to the fan members to alter flight conditions, along with the flight characteristics of the aircraft.

[0010] There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and which will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto.

[0011] The objects of the invention, along with the various features of novelty which characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this disclosure.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] The invention will be better understood and objects other than those set forth above will become apparent when consideration is given to the following detailed description thereof. Such description makes reference to the annexed drawings wherein:

[0013] FIG. 1 is a schematic perspectie view of a new model aircraft flight simulation apparatus according to the present invention.

[0014] FIG. 2 is a schematic cross-sectional top view of the present invention.

[0015] FIG. 3 is a schematic cross-sectional side view of the present invention.

[0016] FIG. 4 is a schematic side view of an alternate embodiment of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0017] With reference now to the drawings, and in particular to FIGS. 1 through 4 thereof, a new model aircraft flight simulation apparatus embodying the principles and concepts of the present invention and generally designated by the reference numeral 10 will be described.

[0018] As best illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 4, the model aircraft flight simulation apparatus 10 generally comprises a housing 12 that has a first section 13 and a second section 14. The first section 13 comprises an elongate chamber 15 with open ends 16. The second section 14 comprises an enclosure 17 that has an interior 18.

[0019] A pair of fan members 19 creates airflow through the first section 13 of the housing 12.

[0020] A pair of tethering assemblies 20 selectively extends and retracts tether lines 21 along a length of the first section 13 of the housing 12.

[0021] A control member 22 controls the fan members 19 and the tethering assemblies 20.

[0022] Included is a pair of remote-controlled model aircraft 11 for flying in the first section 13 of the housing 12. Each of the aircraft 11 includes a flight control system 23 for controlling standard flight characteristics of the aircraft 11 while in flight.

[0023] A pair of handheld transmitter members 24 controls the control member 22 and the flight control systems 23 of the aircraft A pair of aircraft receivers 25 and a pair of enclosure receiverss 26 each receives remote control signals from the transmitter members 24. The remote control signals are modulated radio waves.

[0024] Each of the model aircraft 11 are biased into a flight mode upon receiving a sufficient amount of airflow caused by the fan members 19 and are controlled by each of the transmitter members 24. Movement of joysticks 27 on the transmitters permits a user to vary air velocity within the first section 13 and the proximity of the aircraft 11 to the fan members 19 to alter flight conditions, along with the flight characteristics of the aircraft 11.

[0025] A second end 28 of the first section 13 is mounted on the second section 14. The first section 13 comprises a substantially transparent material.

[0026] The enclosure 17 has a first wall 29 that is oriented substantially perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the first section 13 of the housing 12.

[0027] A top wall 30 of the enclosure 17 has a plurality of vents 31 for permitting exterior air to enter the enclosure 17.

[0028] The chamber 15 has a partition wall 32 extending between the open ends 16 and is oriented substantially parallel to side walls 33 of the first section 13 such that the chamber 15 is divided into two sides 34 having substantially equal dimensions.

[0029] Each of the fan members 19 is located in the interior 18 of the enclosure 17 and includes a fan blade member 35 that is positioned adjacent to a fan aperture 36 in the first wall 29 of the enclosure 17.

[0030] A wind tunnel affect is created within each of the sides 34 of the chamber 15 from the second end 28 out through a first end 37 of the chamber 15 when a respective one of the fan members 19 is operating. Each of the fan members 19 is electrically coupled to the control member 22.

[0031] Each of the tether assemblies is positioned in the interior 18 of the enclosure 17 and comprises a motor-driven spool member 38 that has one of the tether lines 21 wrapped about it. Each of the tether assemblies is electrically coupled to the control member 22.

[0032] Each of the tether lines 21 extends away from the spool members 38 through a pair of tether guide holes 39 and through the chamber 15 and is attached to a nose 40 of each of the aircraft 11.

[0033] Each of the guide holes 39 is located in the first wall 29 of the enclosure 17 and is positioned above a respective one of the fan apertures 36.

[0034] Each of the spool members 38 are positioned generally above a respective fan member such that the tether lines 21 remain clear of the fan members 19.

[0035] A length of each of the tether lines 21 varies upon bi-directional rotation of the spool members 38 as the tether lines 21 are subsequently wound and unwound about the spool members 38 causing the aircraft 11 to move along the length of the chamber 15.

[0036] The control member 22 and each of the enclosure receivers 26s are positioned in the interior 18 of the enclosure 17. The control member 22 is electrically coupled to the enclosure receivers 26, and is electrically couplable to a power supply 41.

[0037] The enclosure receivers 26 is responsive to the remote control signals from a respective transmitter member causing corresponding activation of the fan members 19 and the tethering assemblies 20.

[0038] Each of the flight control systems 23 of the aircraft 11 comprises one of the aircraft receivers 25, a pair of servos 42 for controlling movement of ailerons 43 of the aircraft 11, and a battery 44 for powering the aircraft 11 receiver and each of the servos 42. Each of the flight control systems 23 of the aircraft 11 is integrally mounted in the aircraft 11.

[0039] The aircraft 11 receiver is responsive to the remote control signals from a respective transmitter member causing corresponding activation of the servos 42. Each of the servos 42 of the flight control systems 23 is electrically coupled to the battery 44 and the aircraft 11 receiver.

[0040] Activation of a first of the servos 45 positions the ailerons 43 of the aircraft 11 in a manner causing the aircraft 11 to roll. Activation of a second of the servos 46 positions the ailerons 43 in a manner causing the aircraft 11 to pitch.

[0041] In use, the user would connect the control member 22 to a power supply 41. Upon activation of the transmitter member 24, the aircraft receiver 25, and the enclosure receivers 26, the user would then use the transmitter member 24 to accelerate the fan member 19 to produce a suffiecient amount of airflow and air velocity to put the aircraft 11 into flight at the end of the tether line 21. The user then flies the aircraft 11 in the respective chamber 15, varying the air velocity and flight conditions by altering the speed of the fan member and repositioning the aircraft 11 within the chamber 15 by activating the spool member 38. A second user can simultaneously fly the second aircraft adjacent to the first in the adjoining chamber for the purpose of entertainment and racing challenges.

[0042] As an alternate embodiment to the present invention, the model aircraft 11 flight simulation apparatus is designed for flying model aircraft 11 adjacent to a front end 50 of a vehicle 51 while the vehicle 51 is in motion. The apparatus comprises a tethering assembly 20 for selectively extending and retracting a tether line 21. The tethering assembly is selectively mountable to the front end 50 of the vehicle 51 and extends above a hood 52 of the vehicle 51. The tethering assembly comprises a motor-driven spool member 38 has the tether line 21 wrapped about it. The tethering assembly 20 is electrically coupled to a battery of the vehicle 51.

[0043] Included is a remote-controlled model aircraft 11 for flying above the hood 52 of the vehicle 51 while the vehicle 51 is moving. The aircraft 11 is attached to the tether line, and includes a flight control system 23 for controlling standard flight characteristics of the aircraft 11 while in flight.

[0044] A handheld transmitter member 24 controls the tethering assembly 20 and the flight control system 23 of the aircraft 11.

[0045] A length the tether line 21 varies upon bi-directional rotation of the spool member 38 as the tether line 21 is wound and unwound about the spool member 38 causing the model aircraft 11 to move to and from the front end 50 of the vehicle 51.

[0046] The model aircraft 11 is biased into a flight mode upon receiving a sufficient amount of airflow caused by movement of the vehicle 51 and is controlled by the transmitter member 24 while movement of joysticks 27 on the transmitter permits a user to vary the proximity of the aircraft 11 with respect to the front end 50 of the vehicle 51.

[0047] With respect to the above description then, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.

[0048] Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.