Title:
Illuminable propeller assembly for model vehicle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An illuminable propeller assembly is adapted to propel a model vehicle that includes a rotatable drive shaft. The propeller assembly includes a drive hub adapted to be removably mounted to the drive shaft to operatively rotate with the drive shaft. A plurality of blades are removably mounted to and adapted to operatively rotate with the drive hub to propel the model vehicle. At least one illuminating device is removably mounted to at least one of the blades and adapted to illuminate both sides of the blade.



Inventors:
Kulis II, Richard W. (Bloomfield Hills, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/213249
Publication Date:
03/01/2007
Filing Date:
08/26/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H19/20
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
CEGIELNIK, URSZULA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Brian S. Pickell (Troy, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An illuminable propeller assembly adapted to propel a model vehicle that includes a rotatable drive shaft, said propeller assembly comprising: a drive hub adapted to be removably mounted to the drive shaft to operatively rotate with the drive shaft; a plurality of blades removably mounted to and adapted to operatively rotate with said drive hub to propel the model vehicle; and at least one illuminating device removably mounted to at least one of said plurality of blades and adapted to illuminate both sides of said at least one of said plurality of blades.

2. An illuminable propeller assembly as set forth in claim 1, wherein said propeller assembly is adapted to enable an operator of the model vehicle to program said at least one illuminating device to form at least one of illuminated characters, patterns, and shapes on at least one of said plurality of rotating blades.

3. An illuminable propeller assembly as set forth in claim 1, wherein said propeller assembly is adapted to enable an operator of the model vehicle to at least measure and control RPMs of said plurality of blades.

4. An illuminable propeller assembly as set forth in claim 1, wherein said propeller assembly includes further a propeller hub adapted to be removably mounted to and operatively rotate with said drive hub, said plurality of blades extending from and operatively rotating with said propeller hub to propel the model vehicle.

5. An illuminable propeller assembly as set forth in claim 1, wherein said propeller assembly includes further a source of power being in operative communication with said at least one illuminating device and adapted to supply power to said at least one illuminating device to illuminate said at least one illuminating device.

6. An illuminable propeller assembly as set forth in claim 5, wherein said propeller assembly further includes at least one electrical strip extending from and being in electrical communication with said source of power, said at least one illuminating device being in electrical communication with said at least one electrical strip and, thus, operative communication with said source of power.

7. An illuminable propeller assembly as set forth in claim 1, wherein said at least one illuminating device includes a plurality of illuminating devices, at least one of said plurality of illuminating devices adapted to light up one side of at least one of said plurality of blades and at least another of said plurality of illuminating devices adapted to light up the other side of said at least one of said plurality of blades.

8. An illuminable propeller assembly as set forth in claim 1, wherein said at least one of said plurality of blades defines a slot disposed completely through the depth of said at least one of said plurality of blades and adapted to allow light from said at least one illuminating device to light up both sides of said at least one of said plurality of blades.

9. An illuminable propeller assembly as set forth in claim 5, wherein said propeller assembly further includes an indicator to indicate to an operator of the model vehicle when power to illuminate said at least one illuminating device reaches a certain low level.

10. An illuminable propeller assembly adapted to propel a model vehicle that includes a rotatable drive shaft, said propeller assembly comprising: a drive hub adapted to be removably mounted to the drive shaft to operatively rotate with the drive shaft; a plurality of blades removably mounted to and adapted to operatively rotate with said drive hub to propel the model vehicle; and at least one illuminating device mounted to at least one of said plurality of blades and adapted to illuminate both sides of said at least one of said plurality of blades, said propeller assembly being adapted to enable an operator of the model vehicle to program said at least one illuminating device to form at least one of illuminated characters, patterns, and shapes on at least one of said plurality of rotating blades.

11. An illuminable propeller assembly as set forth in claim 10, wherein said at least one illuminating device is removably mounted to at least one of said plurality of blades.

12. An illuminable propeller assembly as set forth in claim 10, wherein said propeller assembly is adapted to enable an operator of the model vehicle to at least measure and control RPMs of said plurality of blades.

13. An illuminable propeller assembly as set forth in claim 10, wherein said propeller assembly includes further a propeller hub adapted to be removably mounted to and operatively rotate with said drive hub, said plurality of blades extending from and operatively rotating with said propeller hub to propel the model vehicle.

14. An illuminable propeller assembly as set forth in claim 10, wherein said propeller assembly includes further a source of power being in operative communication with said at least one illuminating device and adapted to supply power to said at least one illuminating device to illuminate said at least one illuminating device.

15. An illuminable propeller assembly as set forth in claim 14, wherein said propeller assembly further includes at least one electrical strip extending from and being in electrical communication with said source of power, said at least one illuminating device being in electrical communication with said at least one electrical strip and, thus, operative communication with said source of power.

16. An illuminable propeller assembly as set forth in claim 11, wherein said at least one illuminating device includes a plurality of illuminating devices, at least one of said plurality of illuminating devices adapted to light up one side of at least one of said plurality of blades and at least another of said plurality of illuminating devices adapted to light up the other side of said at least one of said plurality of blades.

17. An illuminable propeller assembly as set forth in claim 10, wherein said at least one of said plurality of blades defines a slot disposed completely through the depth of said at least one of said plurality of blades and adapted to allow light from said at least one illuminating device to light up both sides of said at least one of said plurality of blades.

18. An illuminable propeller assembly as set forth in claim 14, wherein said propeller assembly further includes an indicator to indicate to an operator of the model vehicle when power to illuminate said at least one illuminating device reaches a certain low level.

19. An illuminable propeller assembly adapted to propel a vehicle that includes a rotatable drive shaft, said propeller assembly comprising: a drive hub adapted to be removably mounted to the drive shaft to operatively rotate with the drive shaft; a plurality of blades removably mounted to and adapted to operatively rotate with said drive hub to propel the vehicle; and at least one illuminating device removably mounted to at least one of said plurality of blades and adapted to illuminate both sides of said at least one of said plurality of blades.

20. An illuminable propeller assembly adapted to propel a vehicle that includes a rotatable drive shaft, said propeller assembly comprising: a drive hub adapted to be removably mounted to the drive shaft to operatively rotate with the drive shaft; a plurality of blades removably mounted to and adapted to operatively rotate with said drive hub to propel the vehicle; and at least one illuminating device mounted to at least one of said plurality of blades and adapted to illuminate both sides of said at least one of said plurality of blades, said propeller assembly being adapted to enable an operator of the vehicle to program said at least one illuminating device to form at least one of illuminated characters, patterns, and shapes on at least one of said plurality of rotating blades.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates, generally, to a model vehicle and, more particularly, to a propeller assembly for such a vehicle adapted to be illuminated during operation of the vehicle.

2. Description of Related Art

It is generally known to use a propeller assembly to propel a model vehicle—such as a ship, an airplane, a helicopter, just to name a few—by backward and/or forward thrust of air or water. And, although various designs for the propeller assembly of a model airplane, for example, are available, such propeller assembly consists typically of a drive hub and at least two blades. More specifically, the drive hub is adapted to be fixed to a rotatable drive shaft of the model airplane to, thereby, operatively rotate with the drive shaft. An end of each blade is mounted to the drive hub. The blades are adapted to operatively rotate with the drive hub and serve to propel the model airplane through the air. To this end, each blade is at least slightly contoured, such as twisted, to define a helical path of the blade along which air can travel during rotation of the drive hub and, thus, blades to propel the model airplane through the air.

The drive shaft is directly associated with an engine of the model airplane. Retaining means are adapted to retain the propeller assembly to the drive shaft. A streamlined spinner normally is employed over the drive hub and retaining means and is adapted to spin with them. The spinner is also substantially hollow for housing the drive hub and retaining means and axially symmetrical for aerodynamic purposes. It is quite desirable for the spinner to be also releasably mounted and, thereby, readily removable for access to the retaining means and drive hub to, for instance, service or replace the propeller assembly.

It is generally known to also provide a propeller assembly that can be illuminated during operation of the model vehicle. For example, one such known propeller assembly contains an outer ring, a transparent base plate disposed within the volume defined by the interior of the outer ring, a cover adapted to cover a top of and, thereby, protect the base plate, and a plurality of blades each of which radially extends from the base plate to the outer ring. In a particular embodiment of such known propeller assembly, the base plate has an illuminating device and a power device, which is adapted to supply electric power to the illuminating device, disposed on the base plate. Upon operation of the model vehicle, light can be emitted from the propeller assembly, in general, and illuminating device, in particular, such that the model vehicle is visible and, thereby, operable in darkness.

In an alternative embodiment of such known propeller assembly, the base plate has a chip and a power device, which is electrically connected to the chip, disposed on the base plate. At least one of the blades contains a plurality of illuminating elements controlled by the chip and adapted to illuminate one side of the blade. And, through design of firmware in the chip, the chip can control the “on” or “off” status of each illuminating element and, thus, timing of its illumination. Upon operation of the model vehicle in sufficient darkness, light emitted from the propeller assembly, in general, and illuminating elements, in particular, can form various illuminated characters, patterns, or shapes, depending upon the position of each illuminated element relative to any other illuminated elements and the corresponding blade.

However, the illuminating device or illuminating elements of such known propeller assembly is/are not programmable by an operator of the model vehicle such that the propeller assembly cannot form personalized, illuminated characters, patterns, or shapes. Also, such known propeller assembly does not permit the operator of the model vehicle to remotely control illumination of the illuminating device or illuminating elements. And, both sides of such known propeller assembly are not adapted to be illuminated such that the model vehicle may not be visible and, thereby, operable in darkness, depending upon the position of the operator of the model vehicle relative to the model vehicle in flight. Furthermore, such known propeller assembly does not include a sensor designed to at least measure and control revolutions per minute (RPMs) of the propeller assembly such that, upon operation of the model vehicle in sufficient darkness, the variety of illuminated characters, patterns, or shapes is limited. In addition, the illuminating device or chip of such known propeller assembly is disposed on the base plate such that replacement of the illuminating device or chip requires replacement of the propeller assembly.

Therefore, there is a need in the related art for an illuminable propeller assembly for a model vehicle that is programmable by an operator of the model vehicle such that the propeller assembly can form personalized illuminated characters, patterns, or shapes. Also, there is a need in the related art for an illuminable propeller assembly for a model vehicle that permits the operator of the model vehicle to remotely control illumination of the propeller assembly. And, there is a need in the related art for an illuminable propeller assembly for a model vehicle both sides of which are adapted to be illuminated such that the model vehicle may be visible and, thereby, operable in darkness independent of the position of the operator of the model vehicle relative to the model vehicle in flight. Furthermore, there is a need in the related art for an illuminable propeller assembly for a model vehicle that includes a sensor designed to at least measure and control RPMs of the propeller assembly such that, upon operation of the model vehicle in sufficient darkness, the variety of illuminated characters, patterns, or shapes is greater relative to that of the known illuminable propeller assembly. In addition, there is a need in the related art for an illuminable propeller assembly for a model vehicle replacement of an illuminating device or chip of which does not require replacement of the propeller assembly.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention overcomes the problems in the related art in an illuminable propeller assembly adapted to propel a model vehicle that includes a rotatable drive shaft. The propeller assembly includes a drive hub adapted to be removably mounted to the drive shaft to operatively rotate with the drive shaft. A plurality of blades are removably mounted to and adapted to operatively rotate with the drive hub to propel the model vehicle. At least one illuminating device is removably mounted to at least one of the blades and adapted to illuminate both sides of the blade.

An advantage of the illuminable propeller assembly for a model vehicle of the present invention is that it is programmable by an operator of the model vehicle such that the propeller assembly can form personalized, illuminated characters, patterns, or shapes.

Another advantage of the illuminable propeller assembly for a model vehicle of the present invention is that it permits the operator of the model vehicle to remotely control illumination of the propeller assembly.

Another advantage of the illuminable propeller assembly for a model vehicle of the present invention is that both sides of the propeller assembly are adapted to be illuminated such that the model vehicle may be visible and, thereby, operable in darkness independent of the position of the operator of the model vehicle relative to the model vehicle in flight.

Another advantage of the illuminable propeller assembly for a model vehicle of the present invention is that it includes a sensor designed to at least measure and control RPMs of the propeller assembly such that, upon operation of the model vehicle in sufficient darkness, the variety of illuminated characters, patterns, or shapes is greater relative to that of the known illuminable propeller assembly.

Another advantage of the illuminable propeller assembly for a model vehicle of the present invention is that replacement of an illuminating device does not require replacement of the propeller assembly.

Other objects, features, and advantages of the illuminable propeller assembly for a model vehicle of the present invention will be readily appreciated as it becomes better understood while reading the subsequent description of an embodiment thereof taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the illuminable propeller assembly for a model vehicle of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the illuminable propeller assembly for a model vehicle of the present invention shown in FIG. 1.

FIGS. 3A-3E are elevational front or rear views of respective example programmed non-textual characters, patterns, or shapes formed by the illuminable propeller assembly for a model vehicle of the present invention upon operation thereof.

FIGS. 4A-4D are elevational front or rear views of respective example programmed textual characters, patterns, or shapes formed by the illuminable propeller assembly for a model vehicle of the present invention upon operation thereof.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF AN EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the figures, throughout which like numerals are used to designate like structure, an illuminable propeller assembly for a model vehicle of the present invention is generally indicated at 10 in FIGS. 1 and 2. The propeller assembly 10 is adapted to be employed with a model vehicle that can be propelled through a fluid. The model vehicle is preferably a model aircraft, in general, and a model airplane, in particular, adapted to fly through the air. The model airplane defines a front end from which forwardly and substantially horizontally extends a rotatable drive shaft, generally indicated at 16. The drive shaft 16 is directly associated with an engine or other operative component (not shown) of the model airplane. The drive shaft 16 defines a free end 18 that, as described in detail below, is adapted to be removably mounted to the propeller assembly 10 such that the propeller assembly 10 is in rotational communication with the drive shaft 16 for propelling the model airplane through the air.

It should be appreciated by those having ordinary skill in the related art that the model vehicle can include any suitable model vehicle—such as a model ship, helicopter, or other model watercraft or aircraft—having a suitable drive shaft to which the propeller assembly 10 can be removably mounted and with which the propeller assembly 10 can be in rotational communication for propelling the model vehicle through any suitable fluid, such as water. It should be so appreciated also that the model airplane, in general, and the drive shaft 16, in particular, can have any suitable shape, size, and structure. It should be so appreciated also that the front end and drive shaft 16 of the model airplane can have any suitable structural relationship with respect to each other.

It should be so appreciated also that the propeller assembly 10 can be designed to be used with a vehicle, other than a model, of any suitable shape, size, and structure that employs a propeller. In this regard, only the scale of the propeller assembly 10, in general, and size of each of the various elements of the propeller assembly 10, in particular, must be changed accordingly, which may be possible without departing from the scope of the present invention.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the propeller assembly 10 includes, in general, a drive hub, generally indicated at 20, adapted to be removably mounted to the drive shaft 16 to operatively rotate with the drive shaft 16. A plurality of blades, generally indicated at 22, are removably mounted to and adapted to operatively rotate with the drive hub 20 to propel the model airplane through the air. At least one illuminating device 24 is removably mounted to at least one of the blades 22 and adapted to illuminate both sides of the blade 22.

In the embodiment of the propeller assembly 10 shown, the drive hub 20 is adapted to threadingly receive the free end 18 of the drive shaft 16 so as to be removably mounted to the drive shaft 16 to operatively rotate with the drive shaft 16. To this end, the drive hub 20 is substantially cylindrical, and it is sufficiently hollow and both ends of it are sufficiently opened to allow the free end 18 of the drive shaft 16 to be completely received in, through, and out the drive hub 20. However, those having ordinary skill in the related art should appreciate that the drive hub 20 can have any suitable shape, size, and structure and structural relationship with respect to the drive shaft 16.

The propeller assembly 10 further includes a propeller hub 26 adapted to be removably mounted to and operatively rotate with the drive hub 20. More specifically, the propeller hub 26 is adapted to matingly receive the drive hub 20 so as to be removably mounted to and operatively rotate with the drive hub 20. To this end, the propeller hub 26 is substantially disc-shaped, and it is sufficiently hollow and both ends of it are sufficiently opened to allow the drive hub 20 to be completely received in and through the propeller hub 26. The drive hub 20 further includes mounting means 28 adapted to permit removable mounting of the propeller hub 26 to the drive hub 20. In the embodiment shown, the mounting means is a substantially uniform, ring-shaped platform 28 integrally disposed about the end of the cylindrical portion of the drive hub 20 that is located proximate the front end of the model airplane. A substantially uniform, planar, smooth upper surface of the platform 28 is adapted to be in operatively flush contact with a substantially uniform, planar, smooth lower surface (not shown) of the propeller hub 26 such that the platform 28 supports the propeller hub 26.

However, those having ordinary skill in the related art should appreciate that the propeller hub 26 can have any suitable shape, size, and structure and structural relationship with respect to the drive hub 20. It should be so appreciated also that the mounting means 28 can have any suitable shape, size, and structure and structural relationship with respect to each of the drive and propeller hubs 20, 26, respectively.

The blades 22 extend from and operatively rotate with the propeller hub 26 to propel the model airplane. More specifically, the blades 22 extend integrally and substantially symmetrically from the propeller hub 26 and are substantially uniform with respect to each other. Each blade 22 is at least slightly contoured, such as twisted, to define a helical path of the blade 22 along which air can travel during rotation of the drive hub 20 and, thus, blades 22 to propel the model airplane through the air. The blades 22 are adapted to operatively rotate with the drive hub 20 at a maximum rate of about 10,000 revolutions per minute to propel the model airplane. However, those having ordinary skill in the related art should appreciate that the blades 22 can have any suitable shape, size, and structure and structural relationship with respect to the propeller hub 26. It should be so appreciated also that the blades 22 can operatively rotate with the drive hub 20 at any suitable maximum rate to propel the model airplane.

The propeller assembly 10 further includes a source of power, generally indicated at 30, being in operative communication with each illuminating device 24 and adapted to supply power to each illuminating device 24 to illuminate it. In the embodiment of the propeller assembly 10 shown, a substantially washer-shaped circuit board 30 acts as the source of power 30 to be in electrical communication with each illuminating device 24 and supply power to each illuminating device 24 to illuminate it.

More specifically, each illuminating device 24 is in electrical communication with the circuit board 30. The facial surfaces of the circuit board 30 are operatively disposed between and in respective contacting relationship with the propeller hub 26 (and a portion of each blade 22) and the drive hub 20. In particular, the circuit board 30 is adapted to also matingly receive the drive hub 20 so as to be removably mounted to and operatively rotate with the drive hub 20. To this end, the size of the hole defined by the interior of the circuit board 30 is sufficient to allow the drive hub 20 to be completely received in, through, and out the circuit board 30. A pair of substantially uniform tabs 32 integrally extend outwardly from opposite areas of the mounting means 28 of the drive hub 20 and are adapted to be matingly received in corresponding grooves 34 defined by the circuit board 30 to permit removable mounting of the circuit board 30 about the drive hub 20, in general, and mounting means 28, in particular.

However, it should be appreciated by those having ordinary skill in the related art that the circuit board 30 can have any suitable shape, size, and structure and structural relationship with respect to each of the drive and propeller hubs 20, 26, respectively. It should be so appreciated also that power can be supplied to each illuminating device 24 to illuminate it by any suitable source of power, such as a battery.

The circuit board 30 also includes circuitry, generally indicated at 36—such as, but not limited to, a source of infrared radiation 38, a Hall transistor 40, and a sensor or receiver 42—disposed spaced relative to each other on the face of the circuit board 30 that is located proximate the propeller hub 26. In this way, an operator of the model airplane can program the illuminating device(s) 24 to form personalized, illuminated, non-textual or textual characters, patterns, or shapes on the rotating blades 22, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. By way of illustration only, with use of a suitable remote transmitter as is commonly known, the illuminating device(s) can even be remotely controlled as by electromagnetic waves, such as by infrared waves. Also, the circuit board 30 and, thus, circuitry 36 can be designed such that a microprocessor (not shown) can be used to program and control, even remotely, the personalized, illuminated, non-textual or textual characters, patterns, or shapes formed on the rotating blades 22 by the illuminating device(s) 24. In particular, the design, timing, and length of time of each such illumination can be programmed.

The sensor 42 is designed to at least measure and control RPMs of the blades 22 such that, upon operation of the model airplane in sufficient darkness, the variety of such characters, patterns, or shapes can be increased. The sensor 42 can be designed also to sense when power remaining in the circuit board 30 to illuminate each illuminating device 24 reaches a certain low level so that the sensor, for instance, can indicate such level to an operator of the model airplane. By way of example only, a plurality of illuminating devices 24 can be programmed to read “LOW POWER” on their respective rotating blades when such level is reached. However, those having ordinary skill in the art should appreciate that it can be indicated to an operator of the model airplane when power remaining in the circuit board 30 to illuminate each illuminating device 24 reaches a certain low level by any suitable means.

Those having ordinary skill in the related art should appreciate that the circuit board 30 can include any suitable type and amount of circuitry 36 to enable an operator of the model airplane to program the illuminating device(s) 24 to form personalized, illuminated characters, patterns, or shapes on the rotating blades 22 and measure and control RPMs of the blades 22 such that, upon operation of the model airplane in sufficient darkness, the variety of such characters, patterns, or shapes can be increased. It should be so appreciated also that the circuitry 36 can be disposed at any suitable location of the circuit board 30.

The propeller assembly 10 further includes at least one electrical strip, generally indicated at 44, extending from and being in electrical communication with the circuit board 30. More specifically, each illuminating device 24 is in electrical communication with a respective electrical strip 44 and, thus, the circuit board 30. Each electrical strip 44 is also removably mounted to a substantial length of a substantially central area of a corresponding blade 22. The electrical strip 44 is substantially pliable and thin relative to the width of the blade 22. However, those having ordinary skill in the related art should appreciate that each electrical strip 44 can have any suitable shape, size, and structure and structural relationship with respect to the corresponding blade 22.

In the embodiment shown, a plurality of illuminating devices—particularly, LEDs 24—are disposed along each of a pair of opposed electrical strips 44 and adapted to emit light when the circuit board 30 supplies power. The LEDs 24 are substantially uniform and disposed substantially equidistantly with respect to each other. As viewed from FIGS. 1 and 2, the electrical strips 44 are located beneath and in contacting relationship with the corresponding blades 22. The LEDs 24 of one electrical strip 44 are adapted to illuminate the “down” side of the corresponding blade 22, and the LEDs 24 of the other electrical strip 34 are adapted to illuminate the “up” side of the other blade 22. In this way, for instance, one color for one side of the blades 22 can indicate to an observer of the model airplane that the model airplane is positioned “upside up” relative to the observer and another color for the other side of the blades 22 can indicate to such observer that the model airplane is positioned “upside down.”

More specifically, each blade 22 defines a substantially rectangular slot 46 disposed a substantial distance along and completely through the depth of the substantially central area of the blade 22. The slot 46 of the other blade 22 is adapted to allow light from the LEDs 24 of the other electrical strip to illuminate the “up” side of the other blade 22. A holding mechanism, such as a strip of clear adhesive 48 of a size commensurate with that of a corresponding electrical strip 44, is adapted to hold the electrical strip 44 to each of the “down” and “up” sides of each of the respective blades 22.

Those having ordinary skill in the related art should appreciate that the propeller assembly 10 can include any suitable illuminating device(s) 24 and any suitable number of illuminating devices 24. It should be so appreciated also that each illuminating device 24 can have any suitable shape, size, and structure and structural relationship with respect to the corresponding electrical strip 44 and, thus, blade 22. It should be so appreciated also that each slot 46 can have any suitable shape and size and structural relationship with respect to the corresponding blade 22. It should be so appreciated also that each holding mechanism 48 can have any suitable shape, size, and structure and structural relationship with respect to the corresponding electrical strip 44 and blade 22.

The propeller assembly 10 further includes mounting means, generally indicated at 50, adapted to removably mount the blades 22 to the drive hub 20. In this embodiment, the mounting means 50 is a combination of a nut 52 and washer 54. More specifically, the drive hub 20 is removably mounted about and disposed in non-contacting or contacting relationship with the drive shaft 16 between the front end of the model airplane and nut 52, which is threaded onto the drive shaft 16 and adapted to removably mount the propeller assembly 10 to the drive shaft 16. The washer 54 is disposed between the nut 52 and drive hub 20. Those having ordinary skill in the related art should appreciate that the propeller assembly 10 can include any suitable mounting means 50 adapted to removably mount the blades 22 to the drive hub 20.

The propeller assembly 10 further includes a substantially dome-shaped, streamlined spinner 56 adapted to be employed over the mounting means 50, propeller hub 26, circuit board 30, and drive hub 20 and spin with them. The spinner 56 is also substantially hollow for housing the mounting means 50, propeller hub 26, circuit board 30, and drive hub 20 and axially symmetrical for aerodynamic purposes. It is quite desirable for the spinner 56 to be also releasably mounted and readily removable for access to each of the mounting means 50, propeller hub 26, circuit board 30, and drive hub 20 to, for instance, service or replace any of them. It should be appreciated by those having ordinary skill in the related art that the spinner 56 can have any suitable shape, size, and structure and structural relationship with respect to each of the mounting means 50, propeller hub 26, circuit board 30, and drive hub 20 for housing them.

The propeller assembly 10 is programmable by an operator of the model airplane such that the propeller assembly 10 can form personalized, illuminated characters, patterns, or shapes. Also, the propeller assembly 10 permits the operator of the model vehicle to remotely control illumination of the propeller assembly 10. And, both sides of the propeller assembly 10 are adapted to be illuminated such that the model airplane may be visible and, thereby, operable in darkness independent of the position of the operator of the model airplane relative to the model airplane in flight. Furthermore, the propeller assembly 10 includes a sensor designed to at least measure and control RPMs of the propeller assembly 10 such that, upon operation of the model airplane in sufficient darkness, the variety of illuminated characters, patterns, or shapes is greater relative to the known illuminable propeller assembly. In addition, replacement of an illuminating device 24 does not require replacement of the propeller assembly 10.

The propeller assembly 10 has been described in an illustrative manner. It is to be understood that the terminology that has been used is intended to be in the nature of words of description rather than of limitation. Many modifications and variations of the propeller assembly 10 are possible in light of the above teachings. Therefore, within the scope of the appended claims, the propeller assembly 10 may be practiced other than as specifically described.