Title:
Tool for cleaning snow and slush from aircraft surfaces
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cleaning tool apparatus comprises an elongate handle having a proximal end for gripping, and a terminal end. A support arm is pivotally engaged at one of its ends with the terminal end of the elongate handle. The support arm is positionable over a range of angles with respect to the elongate handle. A rigid brace joins the support arm with the elongate handle, for setting an angle between them. A wiper is engaged medially in a transverse position on the support arm. The apparatus is used for reaching high places for removing snow and slush and is particularly useful for cleaning the top surfaces of aircraft.



Inventors:
Fraser, Mitch (Calgary, CA)
Application Number:
10/460562
Publication Date:
12/16/2004
Filing Date:
06/11/2003
Assignee:
FRASER MITCH
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/144.4, 15/144.1
International Classes:
A47L1/06; B64F5/00; (IPC1-7): A47L1/06
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
GRAHAM, GARY K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATENT LAW & VENTURE GROUP, PLLC (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A cleaning tool apparatus comprising: an elongate handle having a proximal end for gripping and a terminal end; a support arm pivotally engaged at one end thereof with the terminal end of the elongate handle, the support arm positionable over a range of angles with respect to the elongate handle; a rigid brace providing a means for joining the support arm with the elongate handle, the joining means functionally enabled for setting any one of a plurality of angles between the support arm and the elongate handle; and a wiper engaged medially in a transverse position on the support arm.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the wiper is a squeegee.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the rigid brace provides a means for adjustment of the angle between the elongate handle and the support arm.

4. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the adjustment means is a series of holes arranged in axial sequence along the rigid brace.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the elongate handle comprises a plurality of individual handle segments, the handle segments engagable in end-to-end attachment.

6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein the handle segments and the support arm and the wiper each have a maximum length of 5 feet.

7. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein the handle segments are mutually engaged using a ball-in-hole arrangement.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

[0001] Applicant(s) hereby incorporate herein by reference, any and all U.S. patents, U.S. patent applications, and other documents and printed matter cited or referred to in this application.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention relates generally to tools for cleaning surfaces that are out of reach, and more particularly to such a tool for cleaning aircraft surfaces such as the top of wings and stabilizers.

DESCRIPTION OF RELATED ART

[0003] The following art defines the present state of this field:

[0004] Shea, U.S. Des. 360,342 describes a tool handle with interchangeable shovel blade design.

[0005] Tatge, U.S. Pat. No. 1,572,824 describes a tool comprising a concavo-convex cross sectional elongated blade, a shank secured to the convex side of said blade midway its ends and terminating beyond the upper longitudinal edge thereof in a ball, a handle, straps secured to one end of said handle and terminating in concavo-convex resilient members in a manner to form a socket for receiving the ball, said ball having a circumferential series of spaced notches, with each notch disposed substantially at right angles to the length of the socket and being adapted to lessen the liability of the ball casually turning in the socket.

[0006] Nehls, U.S. Pat. No. 3,773,375 describes a snow removal device for removing snow from roofs and comprises a blade connected to a sectional handle. A pair of handle sections is interconnected together by coupling members, which permit angular adjustment between the sections. Each coupling member is provided with a plurality of teeth, which interlock with teeth on the other coupling member thereby permitting a wide range of adjustment between the respective handle sections. By angularly adjusting the sections, the blade may be positioned in proper relation with respect to the surface of the roof; thereby permitting the snow to be removed from the roof in a highly effective manner while the user is standing on the ground.

[0007] Mirto, U.S. Pat. No. 4,550,943 describes a snow remover for automobiles and the like in which a novel structure for a fold-over handle is provided. The handle then telescopes for compact carrying. Spring loaded snap locks are provided to keep the handle rigid during use. A wingnut and threaded bolt are used to keep the invention rigid when the handle is unfolded. The rubber-scraping blade is easily replaced.

[0008] Phillips, U.S. Pat. No. 5,524,369 describes a snow removal device that permits a user to subdivide and then pull down sections of snow accumulated on a roof or other surface. An elongated handle supports an oppositely disposed blade and cutter, the cutter preferably having a taut wire between side struts attached to a top edge of the blade. The user draws the cutter through a section of snow, subdividing a rectangular slab of snow from the accumulated snow, then flips the device over and removes the slab with the blade. The cutter is generally perpendicular to the handle and the blade is inclined to lift the snow in the pulling direction. The cutter can be height adjustable and wheeled at the side struts, with the side struts shaped and coated for minimal friction. The handle can be length adjustable, e.g., by telescoping, and angularly adjustable or compactly collapsible via an articulation having complementary splines and groove for setting an articulation angle.

[0009] Schbot, U.S. Pat. No. 5,528,793 describes a multipurpose squeegee intended for use in removing snow, slush, water and other liquids from automobile surfaces and various other surfaces. The squeegee comprises a downwardly open U-shaped base within which are secured two layers of polyethylene foam or similar material. The foam extends slightly beyond the ends of the base to prevent damage to adjacent surfaces. A handle is attached to the base. A generally Y-shaped deflector with the upper arms thereof formed as curved wings is attached to the upper surface of the base to deflect excess material in the direction that the squeegee is being moved.

[0010] Hauck, U.S. Pat. No. 5,676,413 describes a roof snow rake blade having a spacer, preferably in the form of a roller, attached at its bottom edge to space the bottom edge away from the roofing while not interfering with the normal snow-removal function of the blade.

[0011] Katauskas, U.S. Pat. No. 6,092,315 describes a snow removal apparatus generally comprising a wheeled head frame coupled to a handle and further having a slide suspended between the wheeled head frame and the handle. The head frame of the snow removal apparatus comprises a substantially rectangular base plate having side plates extending therefrom so as to support an axle upon which at least one wheel is rotatably mounted. A first end of the slide is secured to the axle of the head frame and the second end of the slide is attached to the handle at a distance from the head frame that is substantially greater than the width of the head frame.

[0012] Drew, U.S. Pat. No. 6,158,791 describes a snow removal system that has a primary cutter assembly and a series of specialized attachments. The cutter assembly is formed from a length of aluminum bent to form a single horizontal cutting bar with two vertical cutting wings. The cutter bar has a tailpiece formed from a length of stiff but flexible plastic attached to the back edge. An elevated center bar serves as the thrust point and fixture for several of the attachments. The attachments to the cutter assembly include: a toggling plate; extensions to the vertical side bars that can be forward, vertical or trailing; a starting aid and depth setter; an edge limiting aid; a broom, set to the proper angle for a given application; an extension to the plastic tailpiece; and a bottom protector plate. Thrust or pull for the cutter assembly is achieved by the use of several special push-pull tubes. A simple elastic cord is used to secure the plastic tailpiece to the cutter assembly for storage.

[0013] Biro, U.S. Pat. No. 6,237,258 describes an apparatus including a planar engagement member, a plurality of support members, and a cylindrical handle member. The engagement member can move a bulk material across a substantially planar surface. The plurality of cylindrical support members is fixedly attached to the engagement member. The cylindrical handle member is fixedly attached to the plurality of support members. The handle member transfers a force through the support members to the engagement member.

[0014] The prior art teaches a tool handle with interchangeable shovel blade, various scrapers for ice and snow including those with adjustable angle, telescoping handles, long reach devices with adjustable elbows, ball-in-hole attachment for adjustment, angled braces, fixed angled support arms, interchangeable attachments, and planar pushers for moving material on a planar surface; but does not teach a long-reach tool with adjustable angle between handle and the support for the working element of the tool. The present invention fulfills these needs and provides further related advantages as described in the following summary.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0015] The present invention teaches certain benefits in construction and use which give rise to the objectives described below.

[0016] The invention is a cleaning tool with an elongate handle having a proximal end for gripping, and a terminal end. A support arm is pivotally engaged at one of its ends with the terminal end of the elongate handle. The support arm is positionable over a range of angles with respect to the elongate handle. A rigid brace joins the support arm with the elongate handle, for setting an angle between them. A wiper is engaged medially in a transverse position on the support arm. The apparatus is used for reaching high places for removing snow and slush and is particularly useful for cleaning the top surfaces of aircraft.

[0017] A primary objective of the present invention is to provide an apparatus and method of use of such apparatus that provides advantages not taught by the prior art.

[0018] Another objective is to provide such an invention capable of reaching high surfaces for scrapping snow or other loose matter from said surfaces.

[0019] A further objective is to provide such an invention capable of being adjusted for angle of reach.

[0020] A still further objective is to provide such an invention capable of being easily broken-down into components for portability and storage.

[0021] Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0022] The accompanying drawings illustrate the present invention. In such drawings:

[0023] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the present invention;

[0024] FIG. 2 is a partial view showing the work end thereof;

[0025] FIG. 3 is a partial view of a medial portion thereof;

[0026] FIG. 4 is a side elevational view showing the invention as used for cleaning an aircraft surface;

[0027] FIG. 5 is a side elevational view showing the invention as used for cleaning high windows; and

[0028] FIG. 6 is a side elevational view showing the invention as used for cleaning the top of a truck trailer.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0029] The above described drawing figures illustrate the invention in at least one of its preferred embodiments, which is further defined in detail in the following description.

[0030] The present invention is a cleaning tool apparatus comprising an elongate handle 10 having a proximal end 12 for gripping by a person using the tool, and a distal terminal end 14. The total length of the handle is usefully between 10 and 30 feet. A support arm 20 is pivotally engaged at one end of the handle 10 by a pivotal collar 22 as shown in FIG. 2, so that the support arm 20 is positionable over a range of angles α with respect to the handle 10. The angle α is preferably between about 90 and 135 degrees, but may be greater or less when the tool is used for specialty applications. A rigid brace 30 which may be a simple strap, provides a means for joining 32 of the support arm 20 with the handle 10 at any preferred one of the range of angles α as desired for reaching a work surface.

[0031] Thus the joining means 32 is functionally enabled for setting a particular angle α. Three pivot pins 34 are used to respectively engage the handle 10 with the support arm 20, the handle 10 with the brace 30 and the brace 30 with the support arm 20, as best seen in FIG. 1.

[0032] A wiper 40 is engaged medially in a transverse position at the end of the support arm 20, as shown in FIG. 1 Preferably, this wiper 40 is a squeegee of the type used for commercial floor cleaning and made of a material that is non-marking of surfaces. Preferably, the means for adjustment of the angle α between the elongate handle 10 and the support arm 20 is a series of holes arranged in axial sequence along the rigid brace 30 (see FIG. 3). The pivot pin 34 joining the handle 10 with the brace 30 may be set into any one of the selected holes 32 to adjust the angle α. Preferably, the handle 10 comprises, or is made up of, a plurality of individual handle segments 15 which are engagable for end-to-end attachment so that one or more of the segments may be joined to make a handle of a desired length. Obviously, the handle 10 may comprise only one of the segments 15 when extended reach is unnecessary. This engagement is preferably carried out using a ball-in-hole arrangement 18 as is well known for interconnecting tubes, such as with beach umbrellas and such, and as best illustrated in FIG. 3.

[0033] Preferably, the handle segments 15, the support arm 20, the rigid brace 30, and the wiper 40 each have a maximum length of 5 feet. When the apparatus, therefore, is taken apart, it is easily packaged in a sleeve or similar package with the various parts placed in side-by-side alignment for compact storage or for being carried from place to place. It is important to make the present invention apparatus as a light weight tool. To accomplish this, the parts are preferably made of light weight and strong materials such as aluminum or carbon fiber composite. The squeegee is preferably made of rubber or the like. The key features of the present invention is the ability to offset the squeegee 40 from the axis of the handle 10 and to adjust the angle α and the handle length. This enables the tool to reach and clear surfaces that are in excessive heights and surfaces above and facing away from the mechanic using the tool. The tool is able to effectively reach around corners and onto the top of high surfaces. The tool is particularly adapted for use in the commercial and general avaiation industries.

[0034] While the invention has been described with reference to at least one preferred embodiment, it is to be clearly understood by those skilled in the art that the invention is not limited thereto. Rather, the scope of the invention is to be interpreted only in conjunction with the appended claims and it is made clear, here, that the inventor(s) believe that the claimed subject matter is the invention.