Title:
Aircraft passenger seat row
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
1. Aircraft passenger seat [row]. 2. The invention relates to an aircraft passenger seat row having
    • a) at least three seats (10, 12, 14),
    • b) a seat frame (16) common to all seats and having a front transverse spar (18) and a rear transverse spar (20) in parallel with the front spar which spars are rigidly connected by means of seat pedestals (22) so as to be stationary in relation to each other,
    • c) cushion carriers (26) supporting seat element cushions (24),
    • d) seat dividers (28) supported by both transverse spars (18, 20) and mounted at the ends of the row of seats and between the seats,
    • e) backrests (30) the inclined position of which may be adjusted and which are pivotably connected to the seat dividers (28), and
    • f) arm rests (32), preferably at both ends of the row of seats and between the seats (10, 12, 14), the last-named arm rests (32) being pivotably mounted on at least one guide web (34) extending in parallel with the transverse spars (18, 20) and supported by seat dividers (28) mounted between the seats (10, 12, 14),
      a center seat (12) of a row of seats having between adjacent seats (10, 14) a separating element (36) which, when in a non-use position, is mounted at least partly in the area of the associated seat pedestals (22) for this center seat (12) and, when in a use position, is mounted at least partly above the seat dividers (28), and it being possible to move the separating element (36) between the positions named by means of a pivot mechanism (38).



Inventors:
Baumann, Jurgen (Bodman-Ludwigshafen, DE)
Erb, Andreas (Wangen, DE)
Pilgram, Christian (Langenargen, DE, US)
Application Number:
11/059314
Publication Date:
08/25/2005
Filing Date:
02/17/2005
Assignee:
BAUMANN JURGEN
ERB ANDREAS
PILGRAM CHRISTIAN
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B64D11/06; (IPC1-7): A47C15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CRANMER, LAURIE K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Roylance, Abrams, Berdo (Bethesda, MD, US)
Claims:
1. An aircraft passenger seat row having a) at least three seats (10, 12, 14), b) a seat frame (16) common to all seats and having a front transverse spar (18) and a rear transverse spar (20) positioned in parallel with the front spar which spars are rigidly connected by means of seat pedestals (22) so as to be stationary in relation to each other, c) cushion carriers (26) supporting seat element cushions (24), d) seat dividers (28) supported by both transverse spars (18, 20) and mounted at the ends of the row of seats and between the seats, e) backrests (30) the inclined position of which may be adjusted and which are pivotably connected to the seat dividers (28), and f) arm rests (32), preferably at both ends of the row of seats and between the seats (10, 12, 14), these last-named arm rests (32) being pivotably mounted on at least one guide web (34) extending in parallel with the transverse spars (18, 20) and supported by seat dividers (28) mounted between the seats (10, 12, 14), characterized in that a center seat (12) of a row of seats has between adjacent seats (10, 14) a separating element (36) which, when in a non-use position, is mounted at least partly in the area of the associated seat pedestals (22) for this center seat (12) and, when in a use position, is mounted at least partly above the seat dividers (28) and in that the separating element (36) may be moved between the positions named by means of a pivot mechanism (38).

2. The row of aircraft passenger seats as claimed in claim 1, wherein the separating element (36) is a table element which when in the non-use position assumes an essentially vertical position and when in the use position an essentially horizontal position in relation to the respective seat (12).

3. The row of aircraft passenger seats as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein the pivot mechanism (38) has at least one pivotably mounted pivot lever (40) configured to be angular one end of which is pivotably connected to the seat frame or parts (18) of such frame and is pivotably connected by its other end to parts of the separating elements (36).

4. The row of aircraft passenger seats as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein the pivot mechanism (38) has a set of parallelogram rods the upper end of the guide rod of which points forward in the non-use position and rearward in the use position.

5. The row of aircraft passenger seats as claimed in one of claims 2 to 4, wherein, in the non-use position, the usable table surface (42) of the table element faces away from the seat frame (16) in the direction of the surroundings or in the direction of the seat frame (16).

6. The row of aircraft passenger seats as claimed in claim 5, wherein, when the table surface (42) faces the surroundings such table surface (42) is covered by a shell-like cover in the non-use position, which shell-like cover is pivotably connected to at least one seat pedestal (22).

7. The row of aircraft passenger seats as claimed in one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the separating element (36) is mounted by way of a catch or lock mechanism (46) when in the use position to stationary parts of the associated seat, of the respective guide rod (34) in particular, so that it may be latched or locked, on the pivotably mounted associated arm rest (32) or on support elements of the seat which extend in parallel or coaxially with the respective guide web (34).

8. The row of aircraft passenger seats as claimed in one of claims 1 to 7, wherein at least the center pivotable arm rests (32) when in their pivoted-up position are an integral component of what is then a couch-like backrest (30) made up of at least thee consecutive seats (10, 12, 14) positioned side by side, at least if the individual backrests (30) are in their upright adjustment position.

9. The row of aircraft passenger seats as claimed in one of claims 1 to 8, wherein the separating element (36) is moved automatically by means of at least one energy accumulator (50) from its non-use position after initiation or actuation at least partly in the direction of its use position.

10. The row of aircraft passenger seats as claimed in one of claim 1 to 9, wherein the separating element (36) has support elements (48) in the form of arm rests at its opposite ends facing the adjacent seats (10, 14) of a center seat (12).

Description:

The invention relates to an aircraft passenger seat row having

  • a) at least three seats,
  • b) a seat frame common to all seats and having a front transverse spar and a rear transverse spar positioned in parallel with the front spar, which spars are rigidly connected by means of seat pedestals so as to be stationary relative to each other,
  • c) cushion carriers supporting seat element cushions,
  • d) seat dividers supported by both transverse spars and mounted at the ends of the row of seats and between the seats,
  • e) backrests the inclined position of which may be adjusted and which are pivotably connected to the seat dividers, and
  • f) arm rests, preferably at both ends of the row of seats and between the seats, these arm rests being pivotably mounted on at least one guide web extending in parallel with the transverse spars and supported by the seat dividers mounted between the seats.

A seat row which may be converted from a configuration with three seats of normal width to a configuration with two seats of greater width has been disclosed (EP 0 322 930 A2). In the event of conversion to the configuration with two seats of greater width, the two arm rests positioned between the seats are to be moved from their mounts and a wide center arm rest is to be folded out of the cushion of the backrest of the center seat. Consequently, the conversion is costly. In addition, storage space is needed for the removable arm rests.

It has also been disclosed (EP 0 530 900 A1) for a row of aircraft passenger seats that, before the conversion of a configuration with three seats to a configuration with two seats, the two center arm rests may be pivoted backward so that a layout free of gaps is obtained when the three seats are pushed together behind the supporting structure of the backrest of the center seat. An arm rest made up of the cushion of the backrest of the center seat is folded out for each of the two seats of greater width. Conversion is relatively time-consuming in this instance as well.

In addition, a row of aircraft passenger seats has been disclosed (EP 0 530 923 A1) in which, for an adjustment of the distance between the seats, the arm rests are positioned in parallel with each other and with the rods extending to the transverse spars as guide webs which are supported on seat dividers provided between the seats. A control rod is secured to the respective adjacent outer seat by means of which the arm rest remains oriented toward the center of the intervening space independently of the adjustable intervening space between the backrests. It is a disadvantage of this solution that it is suitable only for seat rows in which only the intervening space between the seats is modified and not the number of these seats.

In the row of aircraft passenger seats disclosed of the type referred to in the foregoing (EP 0 530 920 A1), the arm rests provided between the seats also are supported by guide webs extending in the longitudinal direction of the transverse spars. Their displacement on these guide webs in the form of rods, is effected, however, by means of a flexible pulling element which is connected on one side to the arm rest and on the other to a longitudinal carrier which necessarily is displaced in the direction transverse to that of the seats on conversion of the row of seats to and from one with three seats of normal width to a row of seats with two seats of greater width. Not only is the force applied for seat displacement relatively great in the case of this row of aircraft passenger seats, but it is also a disadvantage that the mounting of the center arm rest is design-intensive, relatively difficult, and cost-intensive.

It has accordingly already been proposed for a row of aircraft passenger seats (disclosed in DE 43 29 452 C2) that, in order to avoid the use of additional structural elements for mounting the arm rests, the latter be mounted on a tube-like guide rod by way of which the individual backrests are connected to seat dividers mounted between the seats. Although the lever gearing employed in the disclosed solution for displacement of the arm rests ensures that the drive is characterized by very low friction, so that the force expended for displacement of the seats and arm rests is kept as small as possible, the conversion effort involved still is to be rated as high and, despite the improvements made, the solution disclosed is cost-intensive in application and difficult, a situation known to be regarded as highly disadvantageous in the area of aviation, in which it is desired to conserve every gram of weight in order to increase the payload.

On the basis of this state of the art the object of the invention is accordingly to create a row of aircraft passenger seats which, despite simplicity of design and low weight, permits conversion from seats of a specific width to seats of another usable width, along with reduction of the time required for such conversion. This object is attained by a row of aircraft passenger seats having the features specified in claim 1 in its entirety.

In that, as specified in the characterizing part of claim 1, a center seat of a row of seats between adjacent seats has a separating element which is mounted in a non-use position at least partly in the area of the associated seat pedestals for this center seat and in a use position at least partly above the seat divider, and in that the separating element may be moved between the positions in question by means of a pivot mechanism, a row of so-called economy-class aircraft passenger seats comprising three seats may be converted to a two-seat business-class row of aircraft passenger seats in which the seats are suitably widened.

First of all, the center arm rests in the row of aircraft passenger seats are pivoted up, this resulting in actually usable widening of the two outer seats, and the center seat in the row of aircraft passenger seats is in effect occupied in that, the separating element is pivoted up from the non-use position as outlined into the use position and the usable seating surface of this center seat is covered and to this extent makes it impossible for a potential seat occupant (aircraft passenger) to be seated in this center seat. If the separating element is in its use position, that is, locked in position above the seating area of the center seat, the seat occupants on the outer ends of the row of aircraft passenger seats are in their respective seats distinctly separated from each other, a situation which may impart to these passengers the subjective impression that ample space is provided, as is desired in the context of the business class. In addition to the actual seat widening already referred to for the two outer seats of a row of aircraft passenger seats, the separately usable seating area made wider by the separating element in the use position is to this extent shown to advantage and, depending on the configuration of the separating element, this element may equally be used by the occupants of the opposite seats.

In practical application, when necessary, an appropriate service crew converts the row of economy-class aircraft passenger seats in advance of a flight to the row of business-class aircraft passenger seats, so that when a seat occupant enters the airplane in the business class he finds that the seat widening has already been effected and that he himself need not do anything. Conversely, the service crew pivots the separating element back to its non-use position if the row of business-class seats is to be converted to a row of economy-class aircraft passenger seats with three seats positioned side by side. The row of aircraft passenger seats claimed for the invention need not be restricted to seat configurations with three seats positioned side by side; the row of seats may in this instance comprise a greater number of seats placed side by side, a seat with the separating element being present in alternating sequence between each seat provided as a business-class seat. It is also possible, however, to produce, by way of two adjacent seats with separating elements, a central separation of two seats of a row of four, the two outermost seats then forming the business-class seat with wider seating surface.

In one especially preferred embodiment of the row of aircraft passenger seats claimed for the invention, the separating element is a table element which in the non-use position assumes an essentially vertical position and in the use position an essentially horizontal position relative to the respective seat. The business-class seat occupant consequently has additional table surface available to him.

In another preferred embodiment of the row of aircraft passenger seats claimed for the invention, the pivot mechanism has at least one pivotably connected pivot lever configured to be angular which is pivotably connected at one end to the seat frame or parts of this frame and at the other end pivotably connected to parts of the separating element. The respective pivot mechanism with pivot lever configured to be angular makes it possible to effect the pivoting process for the separating element with especially great saving of space.

In different preferred different embodiment of the row of aircraft passenger seats claimed for the invention, however, the pivot mechanism may also consist of a set of rods in the form of a parallelogram the upper end of the guide rod of which points forward in the non-use position and rearward in the use position. To this extent the separating element may also be pivoted from its non-use position to the use position and vice versa and conserve space.

As an alternative, in a different embodiment of the row of aircraft passenger seats claimed for the invention, provision may also be made such that the separating element is stored below the seat surface, in particular the surface of the center seat, in a receptacle and then be removed from this receptacle and locked on the center seat in the use position. The pivot solutions in question present the advantage that installation space below the seat surface is not required, so that life jackets or the like provided for an emergency may be stored there and be readily accessible.

In another preferred embodiment of the row of aircraft passenger seats claimed for the invention, in the non-use position the usable table surface of the table element points away from the seat frame toward the surroundings or in the direction of the seat frame. In addition, provision preferably is made such that, when the table surface points toward the surroundings this surface is covered in the non-use position by a shell-like cover which is pivotably connected to at least one seat pedestal. The usable table surface may accordingly be protected from damage and fouling. After the table element has been cleared, the shell-like cover is pivoted back to its base position, so that the leg room freely available to the business-class seat occupant is not restricted.

In another, especially preferred, embodiment of the row of aircraft passenger seats claimed for the invention, the separating element may be locked or latched in the use position by a lock or latch mechanism to stationary parts of the associated seat, the respective guide web in particular, to which the associated arm rest is pivotably connected. The possibility also exists of locking or latching on so-called support elements of the seat which extend in parallel or coaxially with the respective guide web of the arm rest. As a result, the separating element, especially in the form of the table element, is connected to stationary structural components of the seat in the use position, this ensuring largely quiet and secure fastening of the separating element. Consequently, the separating element does not give way in the use position, for example, should a seat occupant support himself on the separating element when leaving his seat.

In another, preferred, embodiment of the row of aircraft passenger seats claimed for the invention at least the center pivoting arm rests when in their pivoted-up position are an integral part of what is then a couch-like backrest formed by at least three consecutive seats positioned side by side, at least if the individual backrests are set in their upright position. When the seat surface is widened, the seating comfort of the business-class seat occupant consequently is not disturbed by the pivoted-up arm rests, provision preferably being made such that the arm rests have suitable cushioning on their lower side.

In another, preferred, embodiment of the row of aircraft passenger seats claimed for the invention, the separating element is automatically moved by means of at least one energy accumulator (tension spring) from its non-use position after release or actuation at least partly in the direction of its use position; this helps reduce the expenditure of effort by the service crew and also increases the ease of assembly, since the separating element then no longer need be raised from a lowermost non-use position.

By preference provision is also made such that the separating element has on its opposite ends, facing the adjacent seats of a center seat, support elements in the form of arm rests. The business-class seat occupant has a part of the separating element available as arm rest to increase his comfort.

The row of aircraft passenger seats claimed for the invention is described in greater detail below on the basis of two exemplary embodiments, with reference to the drawing, in which, in diagrams not drawn to scale and in a perspective view

FIGS. 1 and 2 show a first embodiment of the row of aircraft passenger seats claimed for the invention having a separating element, in the non-use position and in the use position,

FIGS. 3, 4, and 5 show the essential components of the center seat of a second embodiment of the row of aircraft passenger seats with the separating element in different positions.

The first embodiment of a row of aircraft passenger seats claimed for the invention shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 has at least three seats 10, 12, 14 with a seat frame 16 common to all the seats which has a front transverse spar 18 and a rear transverse spar 20 in parallel with it. The two transverse spars 18, 20 are configured in particular as hollow tubes of a light alloy or aluminum. These transverse spars 18, 20 are rigidly connected to each other by seat pedestals 22 so as to be stationary, only one seat pedestal being shown in FIG. 2, for the sake of greater simplicity of illustration. In addition, the row of aircraft passenger seats has cushion carriers 26 supporting seat element cushions 24, the seat element cushion of the seat element proper not being shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, again for the sake of greater clarity of illustration. Seat dividers 28 are also present between the respective seats; they are supported on the two transverse spars 18, 20 and are mounted on the seats on the end side. The seat divider 28 at the very front, as viewed in the line of sight to FIGS. 1 and 2, has been omitted for the sake of greater simplicity of presentation. The respective seat 10, 12, 14 is provided with a backrest 30 the incline position of which may be adjusted in the conventional manner and consequently is not described in detail here. As is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the respective backrest 30 is in its upright position, which corresponds, for example, to the take-off and landing position of the row of aircraft passenger seats. In addition, arm rests 32 are present; in FIGS. 1 and 2 they are shown in their pivoted-up position. If the row of aircraft passenger seats as viewed in the line of sight to FIGS. 1 and 2 should be in contact with a cabin wall, on the left side, for example, the arm rest may also be omitted from the outside of the seat on the far left. By preference the possibility is provided of pivoting the individual arm rests 32 along a guide rod carried by the seat dividers 28, the guide rod being divided into guide webs 34 so that each arm rest 32 has an independent pivoting segment associated with it.

As is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the center seat 12 of a row of seats has, between two adjacent seats 10, 14 a separating element 36 which is situated in a non-use position (cf. FIG. 1) at least to some extent in the area of the associated seat pedestals 22 for this center seat 12 and in a use position (cf. FIG. 2) at least to some extent above the seat divider 28. In addition, the separating element 36 may be pivoted to and from the positions in question by means of a pivot mechanism designated as a whole as 38. The separating element 36 is in these exemplary embodiments configured as a table element which, when in the non-use position, assumes an essentially vertical position (FIG. 1) and which, when in the use position (FIG. 2), assumes an essentially horizontal position in relation to the respective seat 12. The pivot mechanism 38 has two pivot levers 40 which are pivotably connected at one of its ends to the upper side of the front transverse spar 18 and at its other end is pivotably connected to a longitudinal side of the separating element 36. If the separating element shown in FIG. 1 is in its non-use position, the two pivot levers 40 extend in approxiimation along the longitudinal side of the separating element 36 and at their upper end are bent at an angle so that they are fitted over the transverse spar 18 for the center seat 12, preferably during assembly. It is also to be seen from FIGS. 1 and 2 that the usable table surface 42 of the table element when in the non-use position faces away from the seat frame 16 toward the surroundings. Provision may accordingly be made such that the table surface 42 facing the surroundings is covered by a shell-like cover (not shown) when it is in the non-use position in order to prevent damage to or fouling of the table surface 42. By preference the shell-like cover not shown is pivotably connected to at least one seat pedestal 22 by way of the lower transverse rod 44. If the separating element 36 is in its use position, the shell-like cover may be pivoted up into its covering position so as not to restrict the leg room in the floor area of the row of aircraft passenger seats.

The separating element 36 has catch or lock mechanisms 46 projecting upward or downward on both sides which in the form of jaws overlap the pivot-like support elements as a component of the guide webs 34 as soon as the separating element 36 is in its use position shown in FIG. 2. The respective support elements may also be in the form of a guide rod or segments of such a rod or extend in parallel or coaxially with this rod or its segments as independent structural elements 34. Provided that at least the center pivotable arm rests 32 are an integral components of the backrests 30 when in their pivoted-up position, a sort of couch made up of at least three seats 10, 12, 14 positioned side by side in a row is formed at least when the backrests are in the upright position.

The non-use position in FIG. 1 shows the layout of the row of aircraft passenger seats in the economy-class configuration, in which all three seats may be occupied by seat occupants. If the separating element 36 is in its use position as illustrated in FIG. 2, the center seat 12 is not available for occupation and the seat width of the inner and outer seats 10 and 14 is correspondingly increased by the pivoted-up center arm rests 32. In addition, the separating element 36 may also have at its opposite ends support elements 48 which perform the function of the otherwise customary pivoted-down arm rests 32.

To the extent that the other embodiment shown in FIG. 3 and following corresponds to the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the same reference numbers for the same structural elements and structural groups used for the first exemplary embodiment are employed for the second embodiment. What has been presented in the description up to this point also applies to the other embodiment shown in FIGS. 3 to 5.

For the sake of greater clarity of illustration only the center seat 12 is shown and the seat element cushion 24 for the backrest 30 is omitted for the row of aircraft passenger seats in the second embodiment. In addition, the arm rests 32 are not shown in the illustration. The pivot levers 40 of the pivot mechanism 38 are configured to be equal-sided and overlap the upper area of the transverse spar 18 in the non-use position in FIG. 3. The respective solution dispenses with a cover, since the usable table surface 42 does not face the surroundings in the non-use position but the seat frame 16 with its seat pedestals 22. Another difference is that the catch and lock mechanism 46 when in the non-use position faces the floor on which the respective seat is set in the upright position above the seat frame 16.

By means of an energy accumulator in the form of two tension springs 50 the separating element 36 is pivoted when the accumulator is actuated from its non-use position shown in FIG. 3 counterclockwise to an intermediate position shown in FIG. 4 so that the usable table surface 42 previously positioned inside appears facing the observer as shown in FIG. 4. In addition, the catch and lock mechanism 46 is also pivoted upward, the movement being supported by drop arms 52. The pretensioned tension springs 50 are accordingly released in the respective rotary or pivot movement for the separating element 36. In another pivot movement the separating element may now be pivoted by way of the pivot lever 40 to its use position illustrated in FIG. 5 and the catch and lock mechanism 46 in turn engages the associated guide webs 34 between the seat dividers 28 of the seat 12. The process of initiating the intermediate pivoting movement from the position shown in FIG. 3 to the position shown in FIG. 4 may now be started centrally by an operator of a service crew, for example, by way of a spring-loaded draw-button (not shown) on the side facing the aisle side of the respective row of aircraft passenger seats. The last pivoting movement from the intermediate position shown in FIG. 4 to the use position shown in FIG. 5 may be effected simply by hand. Side support elements 48 on the separating element 36 may also serve as arm rests in this solution. Pivoting from the use position shown in FIG. 5 to the non-use position shown in FIG. 3, in turn, now takes place in reverse order, the tension springs 50 being tensioned for a repeated automatic initiation process when the non-use position is reached.

The row of aircraft passenger seats claimed for the invention makes it possible to convert an economy-class row of aircraft passenger seats with three seats to and from a business-class row of aircraft passenger seats and to effect corresponding widening of the seats, an additional table surface being made available between the two business-class seats as a result of the conversion. In place of configuration of the separating element 36 in the form of a table element, yet other options become available for configuration of the separating element 36, such as configuration of this element 36 as a laminar separating element in order to ensure separation of the business-class seats of a row of aircraft passenger seats, something which may contribute to an increase in the privacy of the seat occupant.